When it comes to wear and tear on a home’s exterior, most people think that winter is the season to keep an eye on. However, the summer months can also be brutal on a house. From asphalt shingles baking in the sun to clogged gutters filling up with rainwater, summertime can take a toll on the outside of your home — and your wallet.
The good news is that warm temperatures make it easier — and more enjoyable — to get outside and take care of your home’s exterior structures. Here are several potential problem areas to watch out for, along with ways to keep your home’s exterior in top shape and function.
What Summer Does to Your Asphalt Shingle Roof
Summer means hot temperatures and longer days that leave your asphalt shingle roof baking in the sun. If your roof is already missing shingles, intense heat can speed up the damage. This can expose your home to moisture, which can cause mold and mildew to grow inside. Prolonged sunlight can also cause shingles to curl, buckle and warp. In addition to making your home vulnerable to moisture, a damaged roof will also make your energy bills go up.
While most people worry about heavy snow and ice causing a roof collapse, heavy rain and strong winds can also make an aging roof a serious hazard. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, it’s important to watch closely for signs of an unsafe roof.
- Sagging – If your roof is sagging outside or inside, don’t wait to call a roofing pro. This is a major warning sign of a potential home roofing collapse that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Leaks – Leaks aren’t necessarily a sign that your roof is ready to collapse, but you shouldn’t ignore them. Once water has found its way into your home, it will only get worse. The Grand Canyon is compelling proof of just how powerful (and powerfully destructive) water can be. The Colorado River took thousands of years to carve its way through solid rock. It won’t take nearly as long for water to wreak havoc on your house.
- Doors and windows that stick or won’t operate properly – Sticking doors and windows might seem charming in an old Victorian or Craftsman bungalow, but they can also be your home’s way of telling you that your roof needs replacing. As the roof shifts and sags, it puts stress on the rest of the home’s frame. This can cause windows and door frames to buckle.
- Buckling or cracked ceilings – Sometimes, the signs of an unsafe roof appear on the inside. If your ceilings are cracking or buckling, chances are your roof is the culprit. This is a problem you should address with a roofing professional right away.
- Cracks in masonry – Is your chimney crumbling around the base? Do you notice cracks forming under your eaves? This is a strong sign that your roof is sagging. All of that downward pressure has to go somewhere, and the roof compensates by expanding outward. If you notice cracks in masonry, get a roofing pro on site as soon as you can.
If you notice any of these issues, call a roofing expert right away. Don’t attempt to inspect the roof yourself as a sagging or damaged roof is unsafe to walk on.
John Bodrozic, the co-founder of the digital home management software and app, HomeZada, says heavy rain can actually be a useful way to spot-check your roof for leaks. “If you live in an area with lots of summer thunderstorms, it is a good idea to get into your attic during a heavy rainstorm to detect any roof leaks. These can go unnoticed for a long time, and cause mold and insulation problems if not fixed early.”
Bodrozic also suggests using the warm weather as an excuse to trim trees and shrubs that could cause home roofing problems. “Trim large tree branches that grow over and into your roof. Large branches can cause roof damage when heavy storms hit.”
What Summer Does to Your Windows
Fortunately, today’s energy-efficient windows are designed to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Depending on how your home is oriented, however, certain windows can take a beating from direct sunlight.
Kristina Leigh Wiggins, an architect and the author of Building Your Home: A Simple Guide to Making Good Decisions, says it’s important to pay special attention to west-facing windows, as they get more sunlight than windows facing other directions. “You will probably want to give these windows a little more TLC. This includes having them painted and resealed more often than the other windows in your house.”
According to the Department of Energy, you can also improve the effectiveness of your energy-efficient windows by installing white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the home. You can also install awnings on any south- or west-facing windows, or apply reflective films on south-facing windows.
The Department of Energy also stresses the importance of having a pro install your new windows. If you attempt to handle your window installation yourself, or you work with an inexperienced installer, you risk missing out on the benefits offered by energy-efficient windows. “Even the most energy-efficient window must be properly installed to ensure energy efficiency. Therefore, it’s best to have a professional install your windows.”
A Note on Summer and Condensation on Your Windows
Most people know that condensation inside house windows can be a sign of trouble — as well as something that only tends to happen whether the air outside is cold. But what if you see condensation on the outside of your windows?
Fortunately, condensation that appears on the outside of windows during the summer is nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s a sign that your energy-efficient windows are functioning exactly how they’re supposed to. In most cases, you’ll probably only see exterior condensation when the glass temperature drops below the dew point on the outside — a weather effect common in humid areas, or in the predawn hours when the air outside is cooler.
As the pros at Bob Vila note, “Exterior condensation on energy efficient windows is quite common and is perfectly normal.” If the exterior condensation bothers you, you can raise your home’s interior temperature a few degrees to warm the inside surface of the window.
If you see condensation inside house windows in the fall or winter, however, it might be time to replace your windows as this can be a sign of a bad seal or inefficient windows.
What Summer Does to Your Gutters
Cleaning the gutters is a chore most people save for the fall when leaves can clog up gutters and cause water to back up. However, leaves, dirt, and debris can build up at any time, including the summer months. If your gutters aren’t clear, even one big summer storm can lead to water damage.
Wiggins says homeowners with a lot of trees on their property should pay special attention to their gutters over the summer. “Although trees tend to leave the most debris in the fall, they can also leave a lot of debris after a summer storm. It is a good idea to clean your gutters out after a storm, especially if your home is surrounded by trees.”
If your gutters are worn or falling apart, summer is also a good time to replace them altogether. Although most people don’t associate gutters with major home improvement projects, new gutters can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal. Today’s gutter system also offers leaf protection that stops leaf and debris from building up, so your home is protected from water and moisture.
Call Nu Look Home Design Today To Learn More
Summer is a great time to think about upgrading your home’s exterior. If your roof is looking tired or your windows need replacing, call Nu Look Home Design to schedule a free in-home consultation. Our home roofing systems, energy-efficient windows, and gutter systems will save you money and add value and beauty to your property.