Tag Archives: roof maintenance

It Only Leaks when it Rains

Excerpt from my regular column in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

“It Only Leaks when it Rains”

As we enter into our fourth consecutive summer of drought, it is easy to forget that most droughts seem to be followed by seasons of above average rainfall and there is much continued talk in the scientific community of warming ocean temperatures creating another “El Nino” winter. During these unusually dry years it can be seductively easy to ignore and postpone pressing home maintenance issues that cause major headaches when our weather predictably changes and rain starts to fall.

Most roofs that were installed on homes in the 1960s through the 1990s for the most part had a limited life of about 25 – 30 years while more expensive roofs that have been installed in recent years can last as long as 40 or even 50 years. If you have any concerns about the condition of your roof or if leaked at all during the last wet weather we experienced in December of 2011, then now is the time to call a roofing contractor for an inspection and evaluation. A small roof leak in the past is not going to heal itself by some miracle or act of God and more likely will be a much bigger problem when the rain eventually returns. A leaking roof can cause all sorts of expensive damage to ceilings, walls, electrical systems and even the most minor leak can give dry rot fungus the opportunity to get a foot hold in your eves and rafters. Trying to get a roofer to answer your frantic phone call when the first signs of a wet winter appear, will be like trying to be first in line at the Apple Store to buy the latest version of the iPhone.

One of the easiest home maintenance projects to postpone indefinitely has to be painting. There is no hard and fast rule for how often to paint your house but if 10 years or more have passed since your painter packed up his ladders and drove out your driveway, it is probably time to call him back. Paint of course is most noticed for the color that it gives to a home but it is easy to forget that the main reason a house is painted is to protect your eves, trim, and siding from the relentless assault from the sun, wind and rain. Take a few minutes to really closely look at your houses exterior and if you see areas where the paint has cracked or peeled away, then your home is vulnerable to water damage. If your home has manufactured wood siding that is either laminated in panels like plywood or is made from compressed sawdust similar to particle board, then a solid coat of paint is especially crucial. Putting off a needed paint job can change the nature of the work from requiring a painter to needing the much more expensive services of a carpenter to remove and replace damaged wood. The dog days of summer are the best time for painting, so don’t gamble that next winter will be our 5th dry winter in a row and put off calling your painter for another year.

-Mark Baird
Owner, YourHandyman & Construction
CA License #935259