Most people understand the importance of maintaining the roof on their home, but if you have a barn, its roof can be easy to overlook. This is probably because you don’t live in the barn, but if you have livestock, they need a good roof over their heads, too.
Use some of the same maintenance tips you use for maintaining your home’s roof to take proper care of your barn roof.
Depending on the type roof your barns has, you need to watch for certain problems that can arise.
Wood Shingles: Some older barns still have wood shingles, often under other roofing material. Water is the biggest enemy of wood shingles and they require proper ventilation to remain dry. Once damaged, roofs with wooden shingles require a total replacement.
Metal Roofing: Barns often have metal roofing because it’s highly durable. The main enemies of metal roofing are rust and wind damage. Nails can come loose if metal sheets are lifted by the wind, so look for this during roof inspections.
Asphalt Roofing: This is the least durable option, but asphalt is a good choice for do-it-yourself repairs such as replacing loose or broken shingles and repairing small holes. This doesn’t mean you can skimp on the inspection, though. It’s still best to find small problems and fix them right away. Once this type of roof begins to leak, you should plan on replacing the entire roof.
Slate Roofs: This type of roofing can last a long time because you can do your own repairs, and it’s more economical to go that route as opposed to replacing the roof. Broken or missing slates require repair or replacement.
Carrying out some simple summer maintenance can help you with the upkeep of your barn roof, no matter what type of roofing you have.
It’s important to check your barn roof for leaks. One simply way to do this is to walk through your barn during a heavy rainstorm, or during a sunny day looking for pinholes of light peeking through the ceiling.
Binoculars are a good tool to use for finding trouble spots on the roof if you’re squeamish about getting up on the roof itself. Pay close attention to areas that are most likely to fail, like the eaves and ridges, or where valleys form in the roof. Also, look for algae or dark spots that can indicate pest damage.
Just as you would do for the roof on your home, inspect your barn roof three times a year as seasons change.
While inspecting, look for any loose fasteners, like nails or screws, on metal roofing. If you find problems, tighten or replace those using similar fasteners.
Keep in mind when replacing fasteners that you should only place them on the raised areas of the roof. Putting fasteners on the lower areas of the roof can lead to rust and pooling of water.
Spring rains and storms can bring strong winds that blow debris onto your barn roof. Summer is the perfect time to go up on the roof to clear the clutter. You can also use a power washer to clear your roof of debris. It’s much easier to inspect if there is nothing hiding potential problem areas.
Wet leaves and other debris can also lead to moss growth. This is because moss grows in areas where the roof is shaded and damp — more sun reaching the roof reduces chances of moss.
Trim limbs growing close enough to hang over the roof and cause problems. Depending on the type of tree, it may drip sap, or small animals could use the limbs to gain access to the roof and the barn to make a home. Leaves can drop on the roof in the fall, so it’s best to take care of overhanging limbs in summer.
Summer storms and overhanging limbs are a combined threat to your roof. One strong storm could send a limb crashing down into the roof and through the barn. Barns often have aluminum or metal roofs, and constant rubbing of trees against the roof can lead to dents and loose fasteners. For these reasons, trim any overgrown trees near your barn.
The roof of any structure is its defense against the elements, so it’s important to maintain it. It doesn’t take much time to check for problems and do a few tasks to prevent future damage. These steps will save you both time and money on future repairs.
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