Facility Dude

Leaf your autumn maintenance troubles behind with these tips

By Kate Donnelly
Sep 17, 2014

Facilities Management

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Leaf your autumn maintenance troubles behind with these tips Autumn is a great time of year for scarf enthusiasts and pumpkin spice fanatics, but for facility managers, the turning of the leaves can often signify the arrival of a new seasonal maintenance headache. While the brightly colored foliage can be a favorite attraction for some, it can also be the cause of a chief headache for those concerned with roof and gutter maintenance.

Roof maintenance is important for every facility manager, but this is especially true for those whose facilities are located in heavily wooded areas or are surrounded by tall trees. Here are a few things to consider as the weather cools so you can stay on top of roof maintenance before it starts to create repair problems.

Taking stock

As with many preventive maintenance efforts, proper roof and gutter care begins with a thorough inspection. The U.S. General Services Administration published a series of guidelines on proper gutter and downspout inspection. Among the points, the GSA noted it's important to take several factors into account during the initial inspection, including the age of the building. As the source noted, older facilities' gutters tend to be integrated directly into the structure of the roof, meaning it's crucial that any potential issues be rooted out and fixed lest they become larger maintenance concerns.

During your inspection you should check to make sure your roof and any gutters are free of debris. Dead leaves and other similar detritus can clog downspouts, and a buildup of debris on your roof can lead to issues as well as restrict access to personnel if any building maintenance is required. Unclog any drains or gutters, as buildup can lead to costly and potentially dangerous roof leaks.

Olsson Roofing Company noted that once you've inspected the roof properly, observe it from several other perspectives - such as looking at the roof from the underside and inspecting the ceiling tiles indoors. Discoloration in bricks or ceiling panels could be indicative of a roof leak, and you'll want to note such areas so they can be repaired quickly.

Staying safe

Roof and gutter maintenance by nature requires that FMs spend time on roofs and ladders. While inspection and even low-level maintenance can be fairly routine, it's important to practice safety measures to prevent falls and injury. Ladder safety is a must - according to Cleaning and Maintenance Management Online, this means using a fiberglass ladder if available. These types of ladders are much sturdier than their wooden counterparts, which can be prone to warping and wobbling. In the absence of a fiberglass ladder, an aluminum ladder is the next best thing in terms of stability, and has the added benefit of being lighter. This makes them easier to carry and move around during extended periods of maintenance.

Cleaning is a huge part of roof and gutter maintenance, and while you're doing this, you should keep your hands and eyes protected. Gloves and protective eyewear can keep you safe from whatever may be lurking in leaf-clogged gutters - including torn bits of metal that may be protruding due to downspout damage.

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