The roof is the most critical protective structure of your entire building. It is second to no other part of the building in this regard. Problems with the roofing structure can
lead to damage to every area of your building – from the building’s foundation to the walls, ceilings, flooring fittings, and furnishing in the home.
As a real estate investor, says DeSantis Management, one of your primary concerns is how to protect your property from any threat. A dominant threat to your rental is the constant possibility of damage to the physical features of the home and the cost of fixing that damage. Whatever takes money out of your pocket, as a landlord, threatens the profitability of your investment.
Why do landlords neglect roof maintenance?
Maintenance should be a big part of your strategy for making your rental successful. But when landlords think of maintenance, the last place they often look at is the roof. Because roofs are robust in design – able to take a beating from the elements and still keep working – most landlords don’t think it needs too much attention.
The other problem is the location of the roof. Because the roof is predominantly out of sight, it tends to go out of the owner’s mind. You can easily spot issues with your doors or driveway. Landlords treat electrical problems and plumbing issues with urgency because of how disruptive they are. But the effects of a roofing problem are slow to show, so the roof gets relegated to the background.
Furthermore, inspecting the roof is not a straightforward affair. To assess the rooftop, you need to go across the street and look at the roof surface with binoculars. Or you have to get on a ladder to get up close to the roof. Unless a landlord is intentional about roof maintenance, they are not likely to do these regularly.
That is why roof problems, when eventually discovered, often cost a lot of money to fix. The problem has been allowed to go on for so long that the issues have become compounded. But this does not have to be the case; your building’s roof can benefit from regular inspections and timely care like other homes’ features.
What can you do to reduce the risk of the roof getting damaged? What are the steps to ensuring that you control the problem early when problems occur and do not spiral out of control? The simple answer is to maintain the roof proactively. Instead of waiting for problems to show up, go out of your way to look for signs of trouble. Here is how you can do that.
Roof maintenance tips for landlords
Regular roof inspections
The number one step to keeping your roof in good shape is to inspect the structure regularly. There are two kinds of inspections you must do. One is the inspection you do by yourself using binoculars or getting on a ladder. The other type is done by a professional. This second type entails climbing on the roof. You should conduct it at least once a year.
Create a roof inspection checklist
A roof inspection checklist ensures that your roof inspections are guided, not haphazard. The checklist imposes a step-by-step process that will help you avoid overlooking any part of the roof. The quality of your checklist determines the quality of your roof inspections. It must be comprehensive and professionally prepared.
Do the following regularly
You should know the signs that your roof is in trouble; being able to detect problems early will save you money. You should also know the tasks to do to keep the roof in good shape. Here are the most significant roof maintenance tasks:
Check the roofline and the shingles
Every quarter, get on a ladder and inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. From across the street, check the roofline using a pair of binoculars.
Clean the gutters and roof drainage
Clean the gutters and downspouts on a schedule and especially at the beginning of each season. Look for signs of rust and make sure they are discharging correctly.
Inspect the roof insulation
Poor roof insulation promotes ice-dam formation in winter. It will cause moisture problems, particularly in the attic, leading to mold or other issues.
Check the flashing
Flashing is found around projections on the roof – chimneys, skylights, and roof vents. They help keep water out of the roof interior structures. Inspect them for leaks or weaknesses.
Remove growths and pests
Remove any organic growths or debris on the roof. Growths on the roof weaken the shingles and other roof materials. Do not let pests make a home on or inside your roof.
Cut nearby tree branches
Overhanging tree branches make it easy for moss to grow on the roof. They provide runways for pets. Branches leave debris on the roof. They can swing in the wind and damage the roof.