Roof repairs can add up for a property owner. In addition to getting a complete home inspection to determine what needs to be repaired, stay on top of any costly maintenance. There are methods to dodge expensive roof fixes, and it comes down to having a plan.

As the seasons change, it can be easy to forget about the roof, and instead focus on improvements in other areas of the home. Doing this can let little problems become big ones, which might lead to costly repairs. Keep an eye on roof conditions, and there likely won't be any unwelcome surprises.

Roof care made easy

Similar to many areas of the home, regular roof care and maintenance is an important step for home safety. Wear and tear can be detrimental to a roof, so property owners should try to minimize the amount of walking, especially in weather extremes. The cold can make shingles more brittle, while heat will soften them. Each temperature results in a weaker roof, so people should stay off - or risk doing more damage.

Leave most of walking on the roof to the professional home inspection company, but when it is necessary to get up there, use caution. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that falls are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities, with between 150 and 200 workers killed on average per year, and more than 100,000 injured. While the nature of construction puts workers at risk more than the normal homeowner, it is important to remember safety first, and take the proper precautions before heading up to perform routine cleanings.

When walking on a roof is necessary, several home cleaning tools can be detrimental. Never use a pressure washer. While it is a big help for cleaning siding or driveways, it can loosen shingles, and shorten the lifespan. Professional cleaning and repair services are trained to use pressure washers correctly, and most homeowners should avoid using them on a roof.

Bleach is another household cleaner that can do more damage than good. The corrosive elements can run-off a roof, and get on the yard, down gutters, or enter groundwater. Use other methods to help clean a roof.

Spot the damage early on

Using a home inspection is a great way to find out any problems within a home, but a property owner should inspect their roof regularly, as well. Watch out for any obviously damaged shingles, like ones that are peeled back or any that are barely hanging on, or have already fallen off. Any brittle section might lead to more serious concerns. Strong weather can also cause damage, and it is good to check over a roof before and after any storms, to look for changes. The same goes for high winds, and any debris that landed or bounced off the rood warrants a quick inspection.

Heavy rain is another culprit for poor roof conditions, and with any significant amount the roof should be watched closely. If a home has low-sloped roofs, where it is mostly flat in some areas, this can lead to complications with rainfall. The steeper the angle the less risk, but this doesn't mean water can't hurt.

Recently, in Appleton, Wisconsin, firefighters saw two inches of rain result in a roof collapse, according to the local Fox news affiliate. 

"Anytime you have a large amount of water on a roof that adds weight to it.  A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds," said Dave Reigles, an Appleton firefighter. 

A flat roof can provide more usable space within a property, but owners and builders should remember the risks associated. A complete home inspection can help alleviate any concerns when it comes to a roof, or any other aspect of property ownership.