How do you maintain a roof?
A roof is a major investment. In the years of living in a house, the replacement cost of redoing your roof may be the biggest home improvement expense that you ever make–at least in terms of routine maintenance. Your roof won’t last forever, and eventually, you’ll have roof problems and need to replace your roof.
The good news is that you can follow this personal roof maintenance plan to make sure that you get the most life out of your roof. You can stretch those shingles, make that metal last longer, and keep those tiles in good condition for as long as possible if you follow a routine repair and maintenance plan.
What does roof maintenance include?
Roof maintenance includes many things, and the reason that there are roof maintenance companies is that (unless you’re a roofing contractor yourself) you’re probably not going to be able to maintain a roof all alone.
However, there is a LOT that you can do to maintain your existing roof, no matter the type of roof. We’re going to talk about those things here, a kind of roof maintenance checklist.
Roof Maintenance Tips
#1. Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning your gutters can help you in several ways. The first, and perhaps most important way, is that a clogged rain gutter can cause a blockage, which will back water up under the shingles and into the sheathing and into your home.
This can happen in the autumn when leaves are falling, or it can happen in the winter when ice is forming in the gutters. Whenever there is something blocking the gutters it acts as a dam, and the water simply cannot go around it, and it turns into a dreaded roof leak.
The other reason to clean your gutters is not as obvious, but just as important. If you have a shingle roof, one of the first signs that your shingles are starting to give out is if the grit on the shingles begins to flake off and crumble.
The shingles are losing their strength and need to be repaired. And this can all be detected by inspecting your rain gutters to see if the little grit from the shingles is accumulating. If it is? Time to get a roofing contractor or inspector out to evaluate your shingles.
#2. Clean Debris Off Your Roof
This can be one of the harder tasks, especially depending on the slope of your roofing surface, but when leaves begin, it does two things: first, it places a heavy load on your roof--especially if those leaves get soaked with water--one that your roof isn’t normally required to bear. And this load–even if it doesn’t lead to a collapse–can lead to the bending and warping of roofing materials–sheathing, joists, beams, etc. Nails can come loose, gaps can form, and that all means: Leaks.
The second reason to clean debris off your roof is similar to what we said about cleaning your rain gutters: if those leaves and sticks form dams, then water will begin to dam up and seep up under the shingles, getting to the wood beneath. And that’s bad news.
Of course, you should always be careful. Don’t think that you need to climb up on an wet pitched roof to scrape away all the autumn leaves. But if you use a metal rake (flat side toward the shingles) then you can clear the lower area of the roof. And when those lower leaves are gone, the upper leaves will be more likely to slide down--especially as the roof dries out.
As it does, over the course of hours or days, keep cleaning that lower portion. Soon your roof will be free from leaves and debris.
#3. Establish a Roof Maintenance System
By this we mean that you should have a roof maintenance routine. At least once a month, go outside–you don’t need to climb up on the roof–and do a visual inspection.
Look for missing shingles. Look for sagging spots. Look for places where trees are rubbing against the roof or where limbs and branches have fallen and landed on the roof. Look for places where moss or algae is beginning to grow on the shingles.
All of these things are signs of potential roof issues. Inspecting your roof regularly is going to give you a constant finger on the pulse of the life of your roof. And that could pay off big dividends. Any one of the four problems mentioned above could turn into major leaks, so this kind of preventative roof maintenance service is essential.
If you notice any of these problems, don’t get up on your roof yourself–especially if the issue is sagging, or if you have a steep roof. Call a roofing professional who can come out and evaluate your roof for you.
#4. Check Your Attics and Ceilings for Water Stains and Mold
As part of your personal maintenance program, you should be looking at the inside of your house as much as the outside. If any part of your ceiling is showing water stains, you know for certain that water came from somewhere above. And maybe it just came from a child who got too raucous in the bathwater, but maybe it came from roof leaks.
As for mold, it can literally be a killer. If there’s water in your attic, then there’s a good possibility that mold can be growing there, too.
If you’ve found any of these stains or mold, call a roofing professional who can track that water to its source and knows how to repair the problem.
Proper roof maintenance is essential to having a long-lasting roof and a ceiling that is free from leaks. If you have any concerns about your ability to maintain your roof on your own, or if you’ve spotted warning signs that worry you, then contact a roof professional at Colony Roofers today.