fall roof maintenance

Fall is here, even though just like yesterday, it felt like summer. 

Each year, after the Labor Day Holiday, it’s as if summer comes to an abrupt end and all of the fall delicacies like apple spice flavors, pumpkin this, and orange leaves flood our life. Pools are drained and the mornings are cool.

There are tons of reasons why fall is the optimal time for completing things like cleaning your gutters, having fun, watching football, doing some roof maintenance, and landscaping. The cool weather makes it ideal to get outside. 

And while fall marks football season, it is still important to stay on top of your home maintenance with all the foliage falling. This includes inspecting your roof this autumn can help catch issues before winter kicks in and makes matters worse.

Here are a few things you should check off your list this fall to ensure your roof stays in tip-top shape:

1. Clear Gutters and Downspouts

With leaves falling this autumn, it’s important to keep your gutters and downspouts clean and clear to prevent issues like buildup, leaks, and more. And – with regular maintenance – you’ll be more likely to catch any current issues like pooling water or weakened brackets before they become a bigger problem.

To clean your gutters is pretty simple: 

Option 1: Call someone to do it for you

Option 2: Install gutter guards

Option 3: Do it yourself 

If you go with option 3, just be sure to practice ladder safety and do some research prior. Most accidents occur because of ladders, so please be safe! 

2. Aerate & Overseed Your Lawn

While you won’t be able to do every single thing on this list in one hour, heck even one day, September/October in Northern, VA is the perfect time to aerate your yard and overseed it. 

Lawns in Northern Virginia are “Cool Weather” grasses and this means peak growing season is spring and fall. It’s best to aerate each fall to help recondition soil and make new grass growth possible. 

You can rent an aerator with your neighbors, or simply buy a handheld aerator if your yard is small online or at a hardware store!

  • Rake your lawn some
  • Cut it
  • Aerate it
  • Seed it
  • Don’t mow for 4-5 weeks while the grass grows! 

3. Install Gutter Guards

After ensuring your gutters are clean, installing a self-cleaning gutter guard isn’t a bad ideal at all! 

In order to reduce the amount of work required to keep them clean each year, gutter guards are an easy way to minimize maintenance and ensure the longevity of your gutters – both of which will be much appreciated as more leaves come down throughout the season.

However, that doesn’t mean EVERY gutter guard is created the same. Here at Top Dog Home Pro we recommend checking out the Raindrop Gutter Guard because it is “Self Cleaning.”

In fact, we are so confident in the Raindrop Gutter Guard we offer a lifetime no-clog warranty. 

4. Schedule a Roof Inspection

Above all else, now is the prime time to inspect your roof, and you can have it done while you watch college football! 

If your roof needs replacing or even minor repairs, you want to be sure to catch it now before the snow, ice and cold temperatures make it more difficult to address. Typically, what happens when snow accumulates on a roof, it can make problems worse or roof leaks bigger. 

You can do this yourself with a pair of binoculars, simply look for loose or missing shingles. That being said, it’s best to have a professional give you a second set of eyes too! 

Schedule an inspection today and get the peace of mind you need to enjoy the rest of the season! 

5. Trim Trees & Bushes

Do you see a theme with leaves and trees? Their leaves can cause issues.

Trim back branches that seem to be getting too close to your home to keep your roof safe. This also helps avoid extra leaves clogging your gutters. Additionally, “Dead-wooding,” is a good idea to do later in fall. 

Removing the dead branches, clipping ends, trimming ornamental grasses, and cutting back your bushes will add curb appeal and prep your landscaping for the spring season! 

Adopt the mindset, less is more, and spend a few hours each spring in fall in your yard and you will avoid having to completely overhaul your landscaping every few years like your neighbor! 

6. Service Your Lawnmower

Inspect your lawnmower to ensure it is in proper working condition. 

Once you’re done mulching the leaves and grass in late October, get your lawnmower ready for spring by shutting it down for the winter! 

Clean undercarriage, sharpen blades, and ensure gasoline is drained! The former is especially important because gasoline left in the tank can get stale and a bit gummy in the winter, which can damage the carburetor. 

Refer to the owner’s manual for additional instructions!

7. Prepare Outdoor Water Spigots

As winter approaches and after you know you won’t need outdoor water anymore, be sure to prepare your water spigots. 

Typically, this takes all of 5-10 minutes. Find out where your outdoor water cut-off valves are (near furnace usually) and turn them off. Go outside and turn on spigots to let water drain out. Keep them halfway open for the winter to prevent freezing and bursting pipes (lingering water). 

It doesn’t hurt to also get a cheap $2 cover from the store to go over your spigots that are outside! 

8. Consider the Rest – 

Just because it is not on this list, doesn’t mean it’s not important. 

Some homeowners prefer to paint in the fall (though we say wait until after winter) or make crafts and decorate for Halloween. That being said, if you like to do other things each fall, go for it! 

Just be sure to complete what we call the “Big 3” for the fall homeowner: 

  1. Check gutters and clean them after leaves fall
  2. Aerate your lawn and seed it (helps property values when you have a lush lawn)
  3. Check your roof for any issues before harsh winters come! 

what is curb appeal

The definition of curb appeal is pretty straight forward: the attractiveness of a property (typically for sale) and its surroundings when viewed from the street.

Curb appeal can be accomplished in many ways.

Homeowners can keep their lawn short and aesthetically pleasing. They can make sure their mulch beds are edged and re-mulched annually. Front doors and shutters can be painted every few years. And while the list goes on, something that is often overlooked is the roof of your home!

When it comes to curb appeal, the biggest factor after your front door the meets the eye is… your home’s roof!

Believe it or not, a clean, new-looking, and sometimes updated roof adds a ton of curb appeal (and a great ROI). Today, we will look to answer the “What is curb appeal question,” and ways to improve it!

First Things First, What is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal refers to the appearance of a home from – you guessed it – the curb.

More importantly, it’s the first impression someone gets by viewing your home from the street.

Is it eclectic? Modern? Classic?

There are quite a few factors that can affect your curb appeal, from your roofing to your color palette of choice.

When it comes down to it, you want the first impression of your home to be a positive one – and a lasting one. Every aspect of your home’s exterior should be well-designed and maintained to impress neighbors, family, and any prospective buyers, either now or in the future.

As previously stated, the condition of your home, the landscaping, the roof, the gutters, all of this matters.

Why Does Curb Appeal Matter?

So, now you know what curb appeal really means, but why is it important?

\Making the exterior of your home eye-catching and well-groomed is a great way to beautify your neighborhood and encourage others to upkeep the aesthetic standards that have been set.

Beyond that, standing out from other homes in your neighborhood just the right amount gives you a competitive edge in a seller’s market.

While there are a lot of different factors when it comes to the listing price of your home, curb appeal is definitely going to be one of those factors. Think of the outside of your home as the hook that will pull people in to learn more about the interior and other features of your home.

How Can You Up Your Curb Appeal?

Start with the basics.

Cutting your grass, fertilizing so weeds are gone, and giving your landscaping a trim/mulch will add some instant curb appeal in a matter of minutes.

Simple ideas to quickly add curb appeal:

  1. Move trash cans from front of home
  2. Cut grass and fertilize it
  3. Get aeration in the fall
  4. Plant some new flowers
  5. Trim your trees and bushes
  6. Pick up any junk laying around

Next, we suggest evaluating the exterior of your home itself.

  • Is your siding stained or out-dated?
  • Does your roof need new shingles?
  • What about the quality of your windows?

Plan out a color scheme for your roof and siding and maybe even install an updated front door to really capture attention.

Basically, you should be asking yourself if your home is creating a cohesive story from just a glance. Not only will these basics help bring a vision together for your home, but getting new roofing and windows is a great way to keep your home maintained if you aren’t quite ready to sell.

Whether you’re interested in transforming your house into your dream home or your planning on selling before the new school year starts in the fall, putting some time and effort in the details of the exterior of your home will make a huge difference.

Focusing on curb appeal can take your home to the next level.

Curb Appeal in Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia real estate market never goes into hibernation. And while the market stays hot almost year-round, curb appeal still matters.

You have probably seen a house that has no occupants and it’s quite amazing how fast that house falls apart and gives the appearance of not being maintained.

For those looking to relocate or sell, you’ve probably heard the term curb appeal in your recent research, but it’s not just reserved for those in the market to move.

Curb appeal can certainly make a big impact when it comes to selling your home, but it can also affect the ambiance of a neighborhood and, simply put, the overall value of your home, whether you’re interested in selling now, or later down the line.

Keeping property values high isn’t too hard in NOVA, but it helps when you care for the exterior of your home. This includes keeping up with seasonal maintenance, preparing your home for winter, keeping up with landscaping, and checking the condition of your roof annually.

If you have any exterior remodeling projects that go beyond the scope of landscaping – like a roof replacement or new gutters, let the professionals at Top Dog Home Pro inspect your exterior to give you the best input!

roof leaks

I will never forget the morning my best friend called and said he had a roof leak.

After three straight days of what felt like non-stop, pounding rain, he noticed a blotchy, dark stain on the drywall above his bathroom sink.

My friend said as they brushed their teeth, they immediately recognized moisture penetrating their bathroom drywall on the top floor of his home. In a bit of a panic, he called me (Luke, Top Dog Home Pro) and asked what he should do.

I chuckled a bit, only because the answer to roof leak questions vary. They can range from a very quick and simple fix, to sometimes a brand new roof.

That is why today we will help you understand these things as they pertain to roof leaks:

  1. How to determine if you have a roof leak
  2. Causes of Roof Leaks
  3. What to do if you have a roof leak
  4. The best ways to repair your roof leak

How to known if your roof is leaking:

The first question I asked my friend that day was, “How big is the water stain on the drywall of your ceiling, and is it concentrated or all over?”

His answer, “A small stain in one spot” was something that immediately told me the roof leak was there, but it wasn’t urgent. Most likely a pipe collar had corroded and cracked, water was seeping in and dripping down the truss and causing a small drip.

Sure enough, the day once the rain subsided that was the case. The pipe collar had cracked and needed to be replaced – a simple fix!

All this to say, it is sometimes VERY obvious when you have a roof leak, and not so obvious other times, let’s look at how you determine if you have a roof leak:

How to find roof leaks:

  1. If you see a water stain on your top floor ceiling, this is a very evident sign of a roof leak of some sort
  2. Go into your attic annually and look for any mold or soft/rotting wood (hopefully you won’t find this)
  3. Have your roof inspected annually
  4. Look for common “Water Penetration Areas.”  Anywhere you have skylights, roof vents, chimneys, dormers or anything else that projects through the roof and cause a break in shingles it’s most likely the common cause of a roof leak. Very rarely is a wide-open space covered by unbroken shingles will you have a leak
  5. Look for missing shingles and caps on your roof

Causes of Roof Leaks

The most common cause of roof leaks is typically from missing shingles or where things like chimneys and skylights “break the chain” of shingles.

Areas, where shingles are missing or broken, can allow for moisture and water to penetrate your roof’s service. Obviously, things like rotting plywood and missing shingles can lead to bigger roof leaks.

Common causes of roofing leaks include:

  1. Missing shingles
  2. Loose or broken shingles
  3. Pipe collar seals that are cracked
  4. Flashing leaks
  5. Skylights, dormers, and chimney areas where moisture can penetrate
  6. Clogged gutters (causing heavy rain)
  7. Roof vents
  8. Holes in roof
  9. Age of roof (really old roofs that no longer work)

What to do if your roof is leaking:

If you have seen some missing shingles or you have noticed some wet spots in your home – it’s a sign your roof might be leaking. But what if you’re still unsure?

Here are the best logical steps to take to address a possible or existing roof leak:

1. Call a Roof Repair Company

Here at Top Dog Home Pro, we specialize in roof replacements and roof repairs. What we always tell homeowners is that if they suspect a roof leak – call ASAP!

While it might be something simple like fixing my friend’s pipe collar, it could be a small problem that if not addressed – could become an even bigger issue!

It doesn’t hurt to reach out and simply get your roof inspected! In fact, we recommend doing it annually!

2. Check Your Pipe Collars

Take a step back, far enough on the street to see if you’re pipe collars look “OK.”

While this might not be the most efficient check, just doing a spot check from the street doesn’t hurt. Getting on your roof, using a ladder, and inspecting your roof is something we don’t usually recommend.

However, if you insist on getting on your roof, be sure to use safety protocols and ladder safety steps!

Note: Get some binoculars! Use binoculars to check your roof and get a closer view!

3. Check your roof for missing shingles

The most common cause of roof leaks after pipe collar cracks in the seal, missing shingles are a major cause for roof leaks!

It’s really simple to check your roof with missing shingles – it’s pretty obvious, so long as you get the right vantage point.

Using binoculars is a good idea too! Be sure to be extra vigilant when heavy wind storms sweep through your area!

4. Fix your roof leak

Once you determine where your roof leak is coming from, it’s best to fix the roof as fast as possible!

WHY??

A small leak can become a big leak in a matter of weeks, and even sometimes days depending on the time of the year (think spring rain).

Waiting to fix your roof leak can lead to more damage and fixing plywood, replacing more shingles, and even some interior cosmetic remodeling can start to add up!

However, the good thing is you do have options when it comes to repairing your roof which we will discuss below!

Roof Leak Repair Options

When it comes to fixing your roof leak, the options may vary depending on the size and scope of you roof leak.

Once you determine you have a leak the best options are to:

  1. Call a certified roof company that can work with insurance companies (Such as Top Dog Home Pro of Woodbridge, VA)
  2. Determine if the fix is worth just fixing OR contacting insurance and submitting a roof repair (We can do this for you, just learn about our video call option here). This will depend on size and scope.
  3. Decide if the roof repair is sufficient, or depending on age, if the roof needs to be replaced (which is sometimes easier).

If it is determined that a roof replacement is needed, that is most likely because the cost of a repair exceeds the benefits the repair. Sometimes, depending on the age of roof, it’s best to consider a roof replacement.

Final Word on Roof Leaks

As the joke goes, the Grand Canyon wasn’t formed overnight.

The same goes for a roof leak in most cases. While they might “Appear” over night or after a storm, most of the time they are slow emerging.

However, once they start, they don’t stop until they’re addressed. That is why it’s important to do an annual roof check visually and even consider having a professional roofing contractor in your area check your roof every few years – especially as your roof ages!