Roof Maintenance Tips

5 Spring Roof Maintenance Tips


5 Spring Roof Maintenance Tips

Spring time often brings cleaning and yardwork to the top of your to-do list. One of the most important areas for outdoor maintenance in your home is also one of the most frequently forgotten: your roof!

As your roof recovers form winter snow and ice and prepares for spring thunder and wind, make sure to give it the TLC it deserves. Here are 5 spring roof maintenance tips recommended by our team of expert roofers at Lathrop Contracting.


  1. Clean your gutters.

Throughout the winter, debris tends to build up in your gutters and downspouts. If leaves, twigs, or dirt are clogging up your gutters, they won’t be able to do their job properly when the next spring rainstorm rolls around.

Thoroughly clean out your gutters with a special gutter scoop so that you won’t damage them in the process. Spread out a tarp on the lawn below to collect the debris as it falls.

  1. Inspect your shingles.

Check for any shingles that are missing, curling, or worn down. If you aren’t comfortable getting up on your roof, you can do a partial visual inspection from the ground. If you are comfortable checking your roof, make sure to use a sturdy ladder and bring a buddy along for safety.

Look for any shingles with cracks, curled edges, or loose nails. If you notice large areas of damaged shingles, it may be time for a roof repair or replacement this spring.

  1. Check for mold or algae.

Since moisture can collect on your roof throughout the winter, it is pretty common to find some mold or algae growth. While you are inspecting your shingles, be on the lookout for these pests. There are DIY treatment options for mold removal on your roof, but talk to a professional roofer before you start pouring any chemicals up there.

  1. Document any damage.

If you notice missing or broken shingles, damaged soffit or fascia, mold growth, or any other roof problems, document them with photos. Your home insurance will probably cover some roof damage, especially after a storm. But first you need to provide evidence of the extent of the damage.

  1. Schedule a professional inspection.

If you notice anything amiss on top of your roof, (or even if you don’t), provide yourself with peace of mind by scheduling a professional roof inspection. A licensed and experienced roofer will be able to help you determine the extent of your roof damage and whether it needs a simple patch, an involved repair, or a total replacement. Your roof protects your attic and home interior, so it is worth the investment to make sure it can keep moisture out of your home properly.

We hope these spring roof maintenance tips help you prepare for the new season!

Assessing your roof and inspecting it for damage or moisture will help keep it in top shape for years to come. Looking for help with your roof maintenance or inspection? Call Lathrop Contracting today!

Do you need to schedule a roof inspection or repair for your Indianapolis area home this spring? Our team at Lathrop Contracting can help! Give us a call at 317-783-6929.


Crucial Tips for preparing your home for cold winter months

Insulate Windows                                 

Winter drafts can drive up your energy bill — and detract from the cozy vibe you want inside your home when it’s cold outside — if your windows have any air leaks. But by reducing drafts you can lower your home’s energy costs by up to 20% per year, according to the U.S. Energy Department, while also making your living space more comfortable.

Here are five simple solutions that will allow you to insulate your windows quickly:

V-seal weather stripping. Add this plastic weather stripping along the sides of the sashes. Windows can open and shut evenly with the V-seal in place. (Pro tip: Weather stripping also works wonders on doors.)

Rope caulk. This soft, sticky stuff can be molded to fill the gap — and the caulk removes easily at the end of the cold season.
Shrink film. Applied with double-sided tape, this clear plastic sheeting shrinks drum-tight when heated with a hair dryer. The film seals off drafts and captures an insulating buffer of air. Use rubbing alcohol to help release the tape in the spring to avoid stripping off any paint.

Nail polish. If carefully applied, clear polish fills the crack almost invisibly. Once hardened, it will stabilize the glass until you can replace it in the spring.

Draft snake. If the bottom of your window is letting in cold air, buy a foam-and-fabric draft snake kit. Cut the 36-inch foam tube provided to length and slip the washable cover over it. Then place the snake on the sill, and shut the window on to seal the deal.

Trim Tree Branches

The last thing you need is a winter storm loosing the wrath of that mighty tree whose branches are angling over your roof. Not to mention, overhanding limbs can cause excess water to seep into cracks in your home’s roof or siding, which is why you want to make sure any tree limbs or branches surrounding your home are at least 3 feet away from the house.

Inspect Your Fireplace

A visual inspection, both inside and outside your home, can ensure that your wood-burning fireplace is in good shape (read: safe) for the burning season.

During an outdoor inspection, make sure:

  • A chimney cap is present and in good condition.
  • There is no bird nest or debris buildup on the cap.
  • There are no tree limbs above or near the chimney.
  • The mortar and bricks on the chimney aren’t crumbling or missing.
  • The chimney rises at least 2 feet above where it exits the roof.
  • The chimney crown — the sloping cement shoulders at the top of the chimney — is beveled, which helps air flow.
  • The flue liner is visible above the chimney crown.
  • The chimney is plumb and not leaning to one side or the other.·
  • The roof flashing is tight against the chimney.

Inside your home, confirm that:

  • The flue damper opens, closes, and seals properly.
  • There are no combustible materials, such as animal nests, or other foreign objects in the flue.
  • The fireplace surround, hearth, and firebox have no cracked bricks or missing mortar.

If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection.

Gas fireplaces require less maintenance, but you should still:

  • Inspect the glass doors for cracks or latch issues.
  • Check that the gas logs are in the proper position.
  • Turn gas off at the shut-off valve and test the igniter.
  • Ignite the fire and look for clogged burner holes. If present, turn off gas and clear obstructions with a pin or needle.

Check the Roof

You certainly don’t want to find out you have a leaky roof after the first snow hits. A roof inspection can help you spot any potential issues.

Squeamish about heights? Don’t worry — you can call Lathrop Contracting to do a full roof inspection.

Work your way around your house, looking for these defects:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
  • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
  • Missing or broken shingles.
  • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

Some roofing fixes are easy to do yourself, such as repairing shingles or calking flashing, if you’re comfortable working on a roof. If you’re not, you’ll want to consult a specialized roof inspector. Be prepared to pay between $119 and $296 for a standard roof inspection.

Clear Out Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged rain gutters or downspouts can damage your home’s foundation or cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. So, after the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Also, make sure the gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water, tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn or damaged materials.



Hailstorm Damage Checklist

Hailstorm damage is part of spring in Indianapolis.  As a homeowner, the morning after a severe hailstorm there is probably a lot going through your mind. What got dinged up? How bad did it get damaged? What should I do next? Because of the seriousness and potentially devastating qualities of a hailstorm, these are important questions to ask and, most importantly, to get answered.

What makes hailstorms so dangerous is both the immediate and future repercussions they bring about. The sheer speed and force at which hail falls, coupled with the strong winds that usually accompany them, can cause serious harm to your roof by damaging or knocking off shingles from your home. 

That is just the immediate impact. If the hailstorm damage isn’t taken care of in a timely fashion, future hail, thunder, rain, or wind storms can be magnified because of the damaged integrity of your roof due to missing or damaged shingles. Even more shingles can be damaged or removed, or even worse the previously exposed areas become at extreme risk of damage to your actual roof or creating leaks into your attic.

This is why following a hailstorm it is important to make a proper assessment of any damage to your home so you can reach out to the right people and act quickly. Here is our checklist of essential tasks to do and what damage to keep on the lookout for following any hailstorm.

Check around your home

The first thing you should do is to have a look around your home to see if you can identify any damage caused by hail. This is a good place to start because oftentimes the condition of your yard and surrounding area can be a good indication of the condition of your home. For instance, if your car was parked outside make this the first place you look. If there is any hail damage to your car, chances are pretty high you will be facing damage elsewhere to your roof or other exteriors.

Other hail damage indicators to keep an eye out for are fallen tree branches or twigs, shredded plants or flowers, dings or dents in your mailbox, and chips or scratches to any porch or wooden patio your home has. All of these are signs that the hail fell with a significant enough impact to potentially do similar damage to your home. Also, if at this time you notice any loose shingles scattered around your yard with all the twigs and branches, you can safely know at this point your roof has been damaged.

Check your siding, gutters, and windows

After you have evaluated the condition of your yard, before you pull out your ladder and consider heading up to the roof, start by a safer evaluation of your home by looking at other areas that may have been harmed by hail, mainly your siding, gutters, and windows. Damages to these areas may be subtle, but just like hail damage to your roof they can be serious problems if not addressed. They are also a good indication of what you may find once your roof is eventually inspected.

Hail impacting your siding can result in minor dents, cracks, or some paint chipping if you have fiber cement board siding. Similarly, look for dents in your gutters as well as any drooping caused by them becoming dislodged by the repeated impact. Window damage is probably the least subtle of the three in determining the extent of damage, and if your windows got damaged during the storm, you probably already know about it! However, check any exterior windows for any cracks.

Carefully check your roof for hailstorm damage

Now that you have had a chance to survey the scene around your home, it’s time for the moment of truth and evaluating the hail damage done to your roof. While we recommend having your roof inspected by an expert, if you choose to go up on your roof at any point it is important that you exercise the utmost caution and care when doing so to avoid injuring yourself. 

There are a handful of hail damage signs to keep an eye out for once your roof is being inspected. Damaged shingles can be identified by darkened areas that have been dented, splitting or cracks along these areas, an excessive amount of give when you push on a damaged area, as well as any areas where shingles are missing and the roof itself has become exposed. 

Call in help

Damage of all kinds to your roof is important to take care of. However, when it comes to roofing damage there is a difference between “cosmetic damage” and “functional damage”. As you may imagine, cosmetic damage doesn’t look pretty, but it may not actually be a threat to the condition of your roof. Functional damage isn’t just ungly, it is dangerous too. 

It isn’t always easy for someone without a background knowledge in roofing to know the difference between the two or how to identify exactly what the extent of your roofing damage is. Whether you don’t want to or can’t get on the roof yourself to inspect the damages, you aren’t sure how bad the damages are, or you don’t know what to do next, call Lathrop Contracting.

Lathrop Contracting specializes in storm damage repair for roofing, gutters, siding, and windows. Our evaluation can determine the extent of damage to your home and recommend the best solution, whether it is taking care of some minor repairs or a complete replacement. If you think your insurance should cover some of the cost of repair, we are also more than happy to work with your insurance company to provide the information you need to get your claim approved. Call (317) 783-6929 today.

[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqq8tqynamb” html=”true” headline=”h2″ img=”” question=”What should I do after a hailstorm?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]After a hailstorm it is important to evaluate damage to your house and property by looking at you roof, gutters, siding, and windows before calling a roofing repair contractor.[/sc_fs_faq]

beautiful house ready for spring maintenance

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

beautiful house ready for spring maintenanceDuring the winter, the cold and weather can make it difficult to stay on top of home maintenance, no matter how important it may be. But with warm weather on the way, it is now the perfect time to get back outside and start taking care of neglected and important home maintenance.

Take advantage of the spring warm-up to go through our spring home maintenance checklist of important services or repairs that every homeowner should take care of to help get your home ready for the new season.

Check Your Sump Pump

The rains of spring can often mean a wet basement for those whose sump pumps aren’t up to snuff. Your sump pump helps collect excess water from rainfall and pushes it towards the nearest sewer or retention pond instead of pooling in your basement.

It’s likely your sump pump hasn’t seen a lot of action in the past few months, so make sure to give it a check now to make sure it is working before you find yourself up to your knees in water. Take a bucket of water and pour it down your sump pit. Once it fills to a certain point, if your sump pump is working properly it should kick on and start draining. If not, time to call your plumber.

Clean & Fix Your Gutters

Speaking of spring rain, you also should take the time now to make sure your gutters aren’t just clean and clear, but also in working order. As rain rolls off your roof, it goes straight to your gutter, down your downspout, and away from your home. If your gutters are heavily clogged or your gutters are damaged, leaking, or not properly attached, water can spill out and pool around your home.

Not only can this be damaging to your landscape if your drainage isn’t great, but as water seeps into the ground it can also contribute to basement flooding. So be sure you take the time to get out the ladder and clean out all the sticks and leaves that have made their way into your gutters. If your gutters are damaged or leaking, get a professional out to repair them as soon as possible.

Inspect Your Roof

The winter has probably left your roof in a bit of rough shape. Hail storms are one of the biggest causes of roofing damage during the winter and can knock off, dent, or crack shingles and will leave your roof more vulnerable to water damage or shingles or roof being damaged further by falling branches or heavy winds later on in the year.

Of course, it is hard to tell the exact condition of your roof from the ground and getting up on the roof yourself can be somewhat treacherous. Early spring is the perfect time to call a contractor to come out and inspect your roof. A professional and experienced roofing contractor like Lathrop can identify even the most subtle roofing damage and tell you exactly what needs to be done to make sure your roof is as secure as can be.

Service Your Air Conditioning

Your furnace has been getting plenty of use over the past few months, but pretty soon the temperatures are going to start rising and you’ll want to be cranking up the air conditioning to help keep you cool. Take the time now to make sure your air conditioning is in working order and you don’t have a nasty surprise when you turn on your AC for the first time.

There are some things you can even do yourself like changing the filters, cleaning dust, and making sure drain pans are draining correctly. But springtime is also a great time to invest in an annual HVAC inspection. Regular inspections will make sure both your air conditioning and your furnace won’t let you down when you need their services the most.

Care For Woodwork

The seasons can wear on your fence, deck, trellises, and other exterior woodworking around your home. Without proper care, their lifespan can be greatly impacted and leave you with splintered, stained, and beat up woodwork.

Spring is the perfect time to give your home’s woodwork a little bit of love in the form of any necessary repairs, resealing, or repainting them. This both gives your outdoor a little extra visual life as well as helping to better protect them from the elements and give them a longer physical life.

Need some help getting your roof and gutter maintenance completed? Indianapolis homeowners have relied on Lathrop Contracting as roofing, gutter, siding, chimney, and window repair and installation experts for years.

Call (317) 783-6929 or schedule an inspection online today!

Damaged leaking gutter with rain pouring through

April Showers are Coming, So Fix Your Gutters Today

Damaged leaking gutter with rain pouring throughApril showers bring May flowers, which we can all agree is a wonderful thing. The sight of life coming back to the trees and flowers is enough to get anyone excited about putting winter behind us and getting ready for the fun of spring and summer.

But if your home’s gutters are damaged or in disrepair, all those April showers can really do some damage to your home and yard. Properly functional and clean gutters can successfully push rainwater away from your home through the downspout. But when they can’t do their job because of cracks, leaks, or improper installation, it can lead to some serious issues.

With those April showers well on their way, now is the perfect time to get your broken gutters fixed or replaced. If you delay and try to get through spring without repairs or replacement, these five issues that can result from broken, cracked, leaking, or saggy gutters are things you’ll have to contend with.

Basement Flooding

If your gutters are unable to push water away from your home, it can pool around the sides of your home. Once it does, all of that water will begin soaking into the ground and once it does it has only one place to go: straight into your basement.

Heavy rainwater can leak into your basement through cracks in your foundation or through poorly sealed well windows. A flooded basement can cause thousands of dollars in repairs, not to mention the possible damage to irreplaceable items.

Foundation Damage

As this rainwater soaks into the ground by your home, the strain it puts on the natural drainage can cause issues for your home’s foundation, even if it is currently secure. Without proper drainage, the high volume of water can erode foundation causing cracks and damage, as well causing it to sink over time.

Foundation damage can become the catalyst for many serious problems. It can attribute to basement flooding, causing unsightly cracks throughout your home, and causing unevenness to floors. All of these can be serious problems when it comes time to do home improvements and can be expensive to fix.

Yard Flooding

Your basement isn’t the only thing you need to worry about flooding if your gutters are leaky or damaged. Water spilling out of your gutters can cause flooding in your yard if natural drainage is poor, which can be devastating to your landscaping.

The soil of your grass, trees, flowers, and bushes can get waterlogged and, while trees and plants are very resilient, cause damage or death to the landscape in extreme situations. In any case, the areas where water pools in your yard can erode and cause unevenness.

Stained & Grimy Siding

Ever wonder how your siding gets so dirty and grimy? There are two of the biggest reasons. The first is wind blowing around dirt and other particles. The other is dirt and particles inside water from rain and humidity coming in contact with siding. Gutters can do a good job of protecting your home from a good deal of rain, but any leaks or cracks can cause rainwater to run down your siding.

Without that extra little bit of protection keeping rainwater off your siding, your home will accumulate dirt and grime much faster than usual and necessitate cleaning sooner. If you don’t, mold and mildew can begin to develop, which can create unsightly stains that may require you to replace your siding.

Gutters Falling Off

Whether its high winds or rain collecting inside them, the elements can put quite the strain of your gutters. If your gutters are in really rough shape, barely hanging on for dear life, all it might take is one good storm for them to come off completely.

It’s going to be a long spring and summer full of rain and storms, so there is no time to delay and put off repairing or replacing your gutters anymore. Lathrop Contracting are Indianapolis experts in gutter repair and installation. Call (317) 783-6929 or schedule an estimate online today.