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We can all agree there are many important elements to a housing structure, but your roof is probably the most important. Changing temperatures, snow accumulation, large amounts of rain, ice dams and high winds can all cause major damage to condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes. These harsh weather conditions can create all sorts of problems, from minor leaks to major cave-ins that can cost a condominium corporation thousands to repair. Heavy snowfalls have been the cause of several roof collapses in recent years throughout Alberta. So, before we get into the nitty gritty of preventative roof maintenance for condominiums and townhomes, let’s start with roofing basics.
The primary purpose of your roof is to provide protection for you and your possessions against the weather. Roofs are an added layer of insulation which help to retain cool air in the warm months and heat during the colder months. Without proper insulation or ventilation, you are exposing yourself and your condominium corporation to weather-related roof problems like ice dams, which are created by pockets of ice forming along the edge of the roof or through the gutters when heat escapes through the roof and melts the snow. The water then refreezes as it tries to flow down the roof, collecting under shingles and at other low points. Over time, this freeze/thaw cycle adds stress to your roof and can destabilize shingles and destroy your drainage system. If a large amount of water accumulates on any type of roof, having a proper drainage system in place will direct water away from the structure and lessen the possibility of water damage, mold and foundation issues.
A proactive residential management company, with the right combination of knowledge, experience and vendor network can help a condo board mitigate risk by developing a roof preventative maintenance plan.
It is likely that the old adage “an ounce of prevention” was probably born in the roofing industry. In order to ensure your roofing system is performing at optimal levels, it’s necessary to have a preventative maintenance plan in place that includes the following:
- Regular, professional cleaning (especially on condominium buildings and flat roofs)
- Frequently check seals for cracking and connection points between the roof and accessories
- Having a comprehensive inspection checklist that documents:
- Surface defects
- Points of deterioration
- Condition of accessories (i.e. vents, flashing)
- Water-entry points and damage
- Removing debris and blockages from downspouts and scuppers
- Caulking terminations and pipe seals as needed
It’s best to inspect your roof regularly, but at minimum, have a qualified vendor conduct a thorough inspection before the winter weather hits and again in the spring to assess any damage that might have been caused during harsh winter elements. In the years where the Alberta weather isn’t that bad, the fact is that your roof is also worn down from the sun’s heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays, so the board should never consider skipping an inspection.
It is inevitable that your roof and its accessories will get dirty from being exposed to the environment. Without the proper maintenance, roof damage can escalate quickly and end up costing your condominium corporation more money and headaches.
Never ignore your roof, but pay extra attention to it in winter.
For more information about how a proactive property management company can help your board develop a preventative maintenance plan, please contact us