Home Maintenance For Dummies
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Although in some areas, roofs must be inspected regularly for wind damage, it's always important to inspect your roof and gutters before winter sets in. So, what do you look for when inspecting these items?

You should check the following:

  • Look for any loose or missing shingles and replace them.

  • If you live in an area that gets the occasional hail storm, check your roof and gutters for dents and damage like small tears and holes. Contact your insurance company for assistance in replacing these damaged shingles.

  • Check the flashing around the chimneys or other roof projections, which prevents melting ice and snow (or rain) from getting into your home.

  • Add some extra insulation to your attic or upper crawlspace. This insulation will prevent the formation of ice dams on the roof.

  • Clean the leaves and debris out of your gutters; use a hose to rinse the gutters and send water through the downspouts. You might have to use a chimney or pipe-cleaning brush to further clear the downspouts. Rake up and remove any debris that you remove from the spouts or the gutters.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Patrick Herrera]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Patrick Herrera
  • Install leaf guards on the gutters to prevent more falling leaves from accumulating and undoing your hard work.

  • Add extensions to your spouts to send the melting ice and snow farther away from the base of your home.

  • Check the attic, upper crawlspace, or upstairs ceilings for stains and potential leaks. If you find any areas that look suspicious, check them again right after a rainstorm. If they feel damp, call a professional roofer or immediately repair the leaking area.

If your roof is more than 15 years old, you might consider replacing all or part of it. Older roofs are expensive to replace, but the damage that a leaking roof might cause can be way more expensive.

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