Your roof is an important part of your house and separates you from the weather, animals, changing temperatures and more. Make sure your roof is in great condition by following these tips.

1. Trim nearby tree branches

Branches that grow too far into the area of your roof give an easy access for squirrels and chipmunks to find their way across the top of your home and into vents for nesting.

Branches can also damage shingles, gutters, and flashing if a strong wind blows. Cut your tree branches two to three feet away from your roof every year, ideally early spring or late fall when the branches are bare.

2. Get ice dams cleared

Ice dams form when warm, indoor air heats a snowy roof. That snow then melts, refreezes lower down the roof, and causes a literal dam of ice to collect water, which can find its way underneath the shingles and into your home.

Removing ice dams yourself can be dangerous and damaging to your roof, so be sure to hire a professional to remove your ice dams when they form.

3. Remove leaves

A buildup of leaves in the fall allows moisture to collect around the shingles and potentially into the framework of your roof. Leaves can also cause plant growth and hide preexisting damage. Use a pole with a soft end or leaf blower to remove the leaves at first sign.

4. Look for leaks

Every few months, take a peek into your attic. Look for visible water leaks (while raining), discoloration in the wood from past leaks, and listen for audible drips. If you find you have a roof leak, get it repaired as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage it’ll cause to your roof, behind your siding, and inside your home.

5. Watch for birds and rodents

Take a look at your roof while you’re outside. Look for rodents and pests like birds, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, raccoons and nests. Animals like to make a home in vents and chew through materials in order to have a place to birth their young.

6. Regular checks

Every few months, take 30 minutes to look at your roof from the ground or from a ladder. Look for things like:

  • Damaged or missing shingles
  • Buckling or curling shingles
  • Cracked flashing around vents and the chimney
  • Leaves
  • Rodents and pests
  • Nearby tree branches