Summer is the perfect time for roof maintenance. The days are long, the roof is dry, and access to the roof is easier. Proper maintenance is necessary to get the full life out of your roof and a little goes a long way. Take some time this summer to give your roof some TLC so you're not out there during a fall or winter storm, trying to quick fix damage that could have been prevented.

4 Must-Do Summer Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your roof isn't difficult. Roofs are designed to withstand the worst conditions possible; they're tough and fairly care-free. Still, a little help from you will help prevent early failure and give you a chance to get to know your roof better. If you know your roof well and inspect it regularly, you are more likely to catch little problems before they turn into big headaches.

Here are 4 simple, do-it-yourself roof maintenance tips that will help protect your roof and keep it functioning properly.

1. Clean the Gutters and Downspouts:

Gutters and downspouts perform the important task of diverting water away from the roof and foundation. Given their location, they collect all kinds of debris which, if it isn't cleaned out, can accumulate and prevent water from draining properly. This can lead to a build-up of sodden, decaying organic matter and standing water. Not only does this stink, but it's also a breeding ground for mosquitos, and if it builds up too much can damage the fascia on the home. Backed-up gutters are one of the leading contributors of rotted fascia, but keeping your gutters clean and free-flowing will prevent these problems.

You'll want to clean your gutters at least once a year, but if you have a lot of trees, you might need to do it twice a year, once in late spring or summer to clean out seed pods, twigs, and debris and again in late fall after the leaves have dropped. To clean the gutters get up on a ladder and:

-  Pick out large debris

-  Use a trowel and bucket to scoop out decaying organic matter a.k.a. "stinky gunk"

-  Use a soft bristled brush to scrub off dirt and stains.

-  Hose out the gutter. Spray the inside and outside of the gutters until they are clean and water flows freely.

-  Check your downspouts for blockages and remove them if they exist.

If your gutters always get particularly bad, consider adding leaf guards to them. This will help keep large pieces of debris and leaves from getting into the gutter. They can be found at any home improvement store or installed by a roofing/gutter professional. 2. Trim Overhanging Branches.

Overhanging branches are dangerous to roofs. Even the slightest breeze can cause branches to brush and scrape against the shingles, but an even bigger danger comes from severe storms when heavy branches can break and damage shingles and the underlying roof structure. Summer is a great time to check these branches because they hang lower when they are heavy with leaves, fruit, or nuts so you can see just how close they are to your roof. If you can safely trim branches back yourself do so. Otherwise call in a tree trimming service to get the job done.

3. Clean the Roof.

Summer is a good time to give your roof a visual once-over and clean it if necessary. Humid weather, north facing exposures, and heavy shade can all cause moss or algae to build up on the roof. These materials absorb moisture, holding it right there against your roof, left untreated, the moisture can seep under the shingles to damage underlayment and eventually the sheathing and roof's structure. Moss may look quaint, but it's extremely damaging to roofs so you'll want to get rid of it ASAP. You can buy moss and algae killer from home improvement stores. These spray bottles connect to your hose and you simply spray it on and let it kill off the growth. You could also have your roof brushed or "broomed", which will loosen these materials and they'll eventually wash off in the rain. Copper and zinc strips placed at the peak can also help, by changing the pH level of the roof. When they get rained on, they acidify the rainwater, which makes the roof inhospitable to moss and algae, but does not damage the shingles.

One thing you absolutely DO NOT want to do is pressure-wash your roof. We know how tempting it is to pressure wash. They make sidewalks, driveways, decks, and siding look so clean! But it's a bad idea to use a pressure washer on roofs. The pressure can strip granules from asphalt shingles, which can shorten the roof's lifespan.

4. Schedule a Professional Inspection.

Did you know that many roofing companies offer roof inspections, even for roofs that are in good condition? Just as you may schedule a furnace or A/C inspection and tune-up each year, you can do the same for your roof. Take advantage of this service and schedule a professional inspection this summer!

A pro will be able to identify potential problems and show you areas that need attention long before you notice the issue yourself. They're a great resource for roof maintenance and can answer all of your questions about roofing. Even better, they'll go up on your roof so you don't have to! This will allow them to get a closer look at shingles, attic fans and ventilation, chimneys and exhaust pipes, which they will check for proper operation and waterproofing. These are all issues that might not be visible from the ground. At the end of the inspection, you'll breathe a little easier knowing that you've done the best that you can to protect your roof.

Erdmann Exteriors & Construction Is Here To Help With Your Roofing Needs

Roofs last about 20 years in Chicagoland and regular roof maintenance can help ensure you reach that 20-year mark without any major issues. If, during your maintenance work, you discover problems or are concerned about the condition of your roof contact Erdmann Exteriors & Construction. We'll get a roofing professional out to look at your roof right away. We can even help repair damage, including damage to flashing and shingles. Contact Erdmann Exteriors & Construction at 1-847-357-9607 or make a request online to schedule a consultation today!