There are many things that your house can do without, but a roof isn’t one of them. A leaking roof can damage your home, so keeping it in good shape spares you many problems with the whole house.
A well-maintained roof will protect the house from rain and keep the hot temperatures away from the inside of the house. Should you notice a problem on your roof, you shouldn’t postpone the repairs. If left unaddressed, small issues to the roof may aggravate, forcing you to replace it entirely. With roofs being a significant investment, it makes sense that you never want to get in the situation where you must replace the whole roof.
A 15 –years old roof with severely damaged shingles will need to be replaced nine times out of ten. But if you only notice some small issues, some repairs are easy to do without calling the professionals. The best part about keeping the roof in good shape is that most of the maintenance it requires can be done on your own. The more you get involved in keeping the roof in good shape, the higher the chance not to have to call the professionals any time soon. Having said that, let’s take a look at the most important maintenance tips that will expand the lifespan of your roof.
- 1. Take a good look at it from time to time
- 2. Make sure that your roof doesn’t have moss
- 3. Keep the gutters clean
- 4. Fix the gutters
- 5. Remove the overhanging branches
- 6. Remove the leaves too
- 7. Take care of the flashing by removing rust spots
- 8. Reduce the risk of ice dams
- 9. Repair the chimney
- 10. Replace the damaged shingles, if possible
- 11. Call the professionals
- FAQs on Roof Maintenance
1. Take a good look at it from time to time
Most materials used for roofs will last for decades (and some even for centuries), but you will need to check the roof from time to time to see that everything is fine.
More importantly, you have to inspect the roof at the beginning and the end of the winter, to see how the roof will take the snow and how it survived throughout the winter. Some cracks and points of breakage will develop in time.
A good starting point is the ceiling, but also rust developing on the roof’s metallic materials. Make sure that the flashing is suitable too.
The general inspection is essential as it lets you know if some repairs are needed. It’s better to be safe than sorry, remember?
2. Make sure that your roof doesn’t have moss
Patches of mold give a rustic to a house, but they shorten your roof’s durability, especially if it’s made of wood or asphalt. Moss will begin to develop as a thin layer between, and also on the shingles. As time goes by, it will raise the shingles, allowing water to seep through. It’s how the wood will rot.
Get a ladder when cleaning the roof of moss, and pick a cloudy day to do it. Using the pressure washer is tempting, but you shouldn’t use it as it may also damage the shingles. If you don’t manage to get rid of the moss this way, you should buy a moss cleanser and use it.
You also want to prevent moss from appearing again, in which case installing zinc/copper coated metal sheets under the top ridge on all sides of the roof will help.
3. Keep the gutters clean
You should never clean the roof from the top down. Get a ladder and try to avoid the top three rungs. Use two buckets: one is for debris, and the other one is for keeping your tools. For more easy use, you could use some wire hooks for attaching the buckets to the ladder. Ideally, you want to start with the downspout.
For large debris, you should use a trowel, whereas a hose may be used for flushing the more delicate materials. If water doesn’t drain anymore after cleaning, downspout clogging may be the main culprit. Take a look at the drain, removing the pipe for clearing the blockage.
4. Fix the gutters
Repairing the gutters is more complicated than cleaning. When water still stands after flushing, it means that the channel has to be fixed. A gutter that doesn’t slope efficiently may be solved by detaching the hangers and repairing the drain. Take a look at the hooks and see if any are missing or need replacement.
Fix the seams when the channel lengths aren’t tight, and paint to cover rust. There’s a strong connection between the gutters and the roof, and one will affect the other all the time. When water isn’t flowing correctly, the water will overflow from the gutters, spreading on the roofs soon enough. It’s only a matter of time until the problem will aggravate.
5. Remove the overhanging branches
Even if overhanging tree branches may look romantic, they can cause severe problems to your roof. Not only that, they make access to wild animals a lot easier, but they may damage the roof too. As you’re trimming the long tree branches, you will need to be extremely careful. It’s wise to cut the branches into small sections so that you remove them without damaging the rood.
If the tree branch is massive and thick, it’s better that you hire a tree service. Keep in mind that cutting underneath and then above will not give results; on the contrary, you will make the branch fall onto the roof, causing more damage.
6. Remove the leaves too
It doesn’t make any sense to stress about leaves if you live in the desert. However, you have to be careful when living in a coastal area, as leaves cause a lot of damage to the roof. During the fall, leaves can clog the roof all the time, and the problem doesn’t go away by simply installing some gutter guards.
You should clean the roof of leaves all the time, and even daily if you want to take care of the roof. Use a leaf blower for more efficiency, but don’t turn it on the maximum speed. Once you’ve removed the leaves, you should mulch them in the garden so that wind doesn’t take them back to the roof.
7. Take care of the flashing by removing rust spots
Rust a common issue for the iron material. Moisture develops on the roof, affecting the metal elements of the roof. You may prevent rust on the roof by cleaning it regularly. Hosing the roof any now and then will prevent rust from forming.
It’s essential to get rid of the rust spots on the flashing before sealing the material to reduce the risk of rusting.
8. Reduce the risk of ice dams
If you live in an area with heavy winters, humps of ice will remain at the edge of your roof throughout the winter. They may damage both the inside of your house and the roof. They are also dangerous for the gutters and the downspouts.
You will need to break the current humps into smaller chunks without using a sharp tool as you could cut through the shingles. You could also melt the ice, using calcium chloride. You don’t want to use rock salt to affect the paint and the plants under the eave.
9. Repair the chimney
The chimney is typically skipped from repairs and maintenance, for reasons we don’t understand. The fact that chimneys will still work if they’re neglected may be the reason.
When the chimney is crumbling, it means that mortar between the bricks lost its efficiency. Funny enough, water will cause more damage than fire to your fireplace. You want to prevent problems with the chimney, so check the crown regularly, fixing it as it starts sloping. When the mortar joints are affected, you should cut and take them to a proper shape again.
Keep the seal between the chimney and the roofing in good shape and mount a cricket to prevent the vent from water.
10. Replace the damaged shingles, if possible
Shingles will blister because of the collected moisture but also because of ineffective ventilation of the roof. As long as they still keep the granules, blistering shingles may not be a severe problem. However, it’s always wise to solve the problem if the shingles start to pop, which will dislocate the granules. The shingles will no longer be protected against the UV rays, losing more and more granules. Due to weathering, they will also begin to leak.
Replacing the shingles is the solution, but you have to pay attention to the weather before doing it. If it’s too cold, the shingles will crack. Too warm isn’t good either, as the sealants will be challenging to break.
11. Call the professionals
It’s not always easy to repair or take care of the roof correctly. Sometimes, you could do a lousy job, as roof maintenance isn’t common knowledge. You should look for reputed and trustworthy roofing contractors who know what they’re doing. Licensed contractors have a lot of experience and will identify the deep problems of your roof. Calling the professionals once a year may look excessive, but it’s very reasonable if you live in an area with strong winds and massive storms, and you don’t know much about roofing.
FAQs on Roof Maintenance
Q: How to care for asphalt roof?
A: Asphalt is the most popular material for roofs, and has plenty of positive and negative aspects. It’s an affordable material, but it has a rather short lifespan. Unlike other roof materials, it can take the use for two decades. It’s effortless to take care of it, and many professionals know how to deal with it. Regular roof checkups and some maintenance any now and then will expand its durability, about its limitation.
Q: How long can metal roofs last?
A: Metal roofs make the most durable roofs. No matter if you’re using panel or shingles, metal roofs don’t require much maintenance and come with a 20-40 year warranty. They can surely last a lot longer than that.
When it comes to keeping it in good shape, there aren’t many things to do. The installation of the metal roof is what’s affecting the durability the most. Metal roofing products may seem pricey at first, but they make a wise investment in the long run. Always hire the professionals for installing the metal roof, so that it will last for a lifetime.
Q: What can you do about the durability of wood and shake roofing?
A: When it comes to taking care of roofs, wood, and shake, make the most demanding materials for roofs. Even if they look so lovely, wood roofs have a high risk for problems that other materials don’t develop. Should you have a wood roof over your head, you will always have to keep it in good shape and check it regularly.
Moisture is damaging to wood products of all kinds, so having the wood roof dry is essential for its durability. Cedar is the only wood resistant to insect and rut naturally, but it doesn’t mean that it will never be affected by moisture either. Cleaning and ensuring proper ventilation is fundamental for wood roofs. You always have to clean the roof from leaves, debris, and dirt as they may retain moisture.
Q: Why is ventilation important for the durability of wood roofs?
A: When the roof is installed, ventilation will be addressed too, but having proper attic ventilation will also reduce the risk of moisture buildup under the shingles. Sometimes, chemical treatments may be applied, expanding the durability. However, you want the wood to be treated before installation so that you get complete coverage.
Some sealant will help with minor issues at times, but wood roofs won’t last for more than 20 to 30 decades, even when you take good care of it all the time.
Q: Are tile and slate roofing challenging to maintain?
A: Tile and slate roofs are prevalent in south and west, as they are long-lasting. Even if the tiles’ quality may have a say in it, you should expect a tile roof to last for at least five decades without going through significant repairs. Some tiles will take use for a longer time than others, and you should carefully choose the tiles when living in a cold climate.
As for slate roofing, it’s very safe to say that it’s not common, and it’s not cheap. As long as the slate is high quality and the installation is done correctly, a slate roof may hold up to a century.
Once you install tile or slate roofing, you shouldn’t worry much about constant maintenance. It’s a lot more vital that you choose high-quality material right from the start to get the best out of your tile or slate roof.