There are ways to extend the life of your roof and with a few useful tips it can be done. Most homeowners realize that even repairing a roof can be expensive, as can replacing it. Costs can range anywhere from expensive for a composition shingle roof, to extremely expensive when more upscale materials are used. With that much of an investment, extending and protecting a roof’s life is critical. Even with an older roof, its stability can be maintained long before replacement is necessary.
Here are a few tips to help you extend the life of your roof:
If you have gutters, you would be surprised how those that are clogged can affect your roof. When they are overflowing with debris, any moisture buildup can get into the material (roof sheathing) that goes on top of the structure of your roof, and rotting can occur there, along with the rafters. That kind of damage could amount to a high price tag for repairs. Cleaning gutters can be done on your own, if you don’t mind working with heights and ladders, or you can call in a specialist. Costs will depend on the size of your home.
Depending on what kind of roof you have, there is the possibility that leaves are going to accumulate on it, particularly if there are any large trees near the roof line. If leaves pile up on a roof, they will trap moisture and eventually decompose. The moisture will cause damage and the possibility of other growths on the roof itself. Leaves can be removed with soft brushes attached. Leaf blowers are effective and faster, and you can attempt to use one yourself, but you probably want someone experienced with working on rooftops. Leaves can also be washed away with a regular garden hose, but please forgo using a pressure washer as it could cause damage if water is trapped under the shingles.
Branch and Limb Trimming
After considering what leaf accumulation can do to a roof, those same tree branches and limbs that drop leaves can be just as damaging to your roof. Limbs of a tree that brush up against a roof, particularly in high winds and bad weather, can cause abrasion and damage to shingles. Branches that overhang a roof area can also allow rodents access to your roof, which can result in critters gnawing on it. In order to keep them away, any overhanging branches should be at least 10 feet from the roof, and if that can’t be done, the tree trunk itself should be wrapped with sheet metal in order to keep rodents from climbing the tree and getting on your roof. Trimming tree branches can be a risky proposition, so it is better to hire a professional, as you don’t want to cause any more damage to yourself and the roof than is necessary.
If you live in certain regions of the country, moss growth can cause problems with your roof, especially if you have composition or wood shingles. It is critical to remove moss from a roof as it traps water. If you are able to get to moss growth right away, it can be swept off, but when buildup gets beyond the sweeping point, you will have to eliminate the moss through environmentally safe soap products that combine potassium salts and fatty acids, as opposed to zinc sulfate formulas. Only apply the soap formulation where the moss is actually growing. Once the roof is free of moss, think about utilizing zinc strips near the roof top to halt any return. Rain or other runoff that comes in contact with the strips will hinder moss growth.
Ice buildup (ice dams) can be another factor that damages and ages a roof. Removing most snow and ice after storms is one way to prevent harmful roof leaks. Any ice should not be pried off once it has taken hold, as that action can damage a roof as well. A roof rake can be used to remove snow that is close to gutters, and a long telescoping pole will allow you to remove some snow from the ground level, but if that is not possible, a ladder will have to be used. Just make sure to work on an angle, so any falling snow is clear of you and the ladder.
Another thing to take into consideration with ice dams is whether your attic area has sufficient insulation and protection from air leaks. Once any snowstorms have passed, address any attic issues as soon as possible.
When winds or hail have come through your area, or if you hear strange sounds on the roof, always check, look and listen. When you are able, inspect the roof to make sure there is no damage. You want to look for missing, loose or curled shingles. Also, observe any damage around vents, skylights, chimneys and any other roof openings. If you are unable to inspect your roof by climbing a ladder, use binoculars to view what you can. When it appears that real problems may be an issue, ask a roofer for an inspection. You don’t want to incur high repair costs because of overlooking even minor problems.
Extending the life of your roof is important, and it is something that every homeowner has to consider in order to defray the expense of eventual repairs or replacement. The tips given here are a way to initiate the process, but if you need to speak with someone about the stability of your roof, and live in South Jersey, contact our experts for help. Give us a call at 856-264-9093 or fill out the contact form. A representative will get back to you with the necessary information and suggestions to help you extend the life of your roof.