The roof on your home or business is one of the greatest investments you can make, because everything beneath that roof is also protected. Without a decent roof, you’re not 100 percent covered. That is why you need to inspect and maintain your roof to keep it from getting run down.
The average lifespan of roofing is about 15 years, but with minimum effort and preventative maintenance, you can extend the life of your roof. Here are several tips to help you do just that:
Clean Your Gutters
Yes, the gutters and downspouts are part of the roofing system. Without gutters, your house would constantly be drenched by rain, and that exposes vulnerable sections of the edifice and roof to water damage.
Don’t allow debris, such as dead leaves and downed branches, to congest the gutters. Too much weight in the gutters might even stress the roof fascia, and that is a costly repair. Inspect the gutters at least twice a year and after any severe weather, making sure that none of the sections is bending or sagging or broken.
Ventilating The Attic
Here’s another secret to long-lasting roofing: the attic. If your attic is not properly ventilated, the air can reach an astounding 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This heated air will get into the insulation, and that will travel through the household. Under the sweltering heat of sun and the internal heat frying the shingles from the underside, it will prematurely age the roof.
In the winter, poor ventilation will trap moisture. This water will cling to the ceiling of the attic, get into the insulation, and reduce the overall efficiency of the roofing system.
Another important factor is the insulation—the fuzzy-looking stuff that keeps homes cooler during the summer and warmer in the winter. Without roof insulation, you won’t be able to control your energy expenditure, and your utility bill will be higher than it should be.
But there’s another reason to inspect your insulation: it reduces heat transfer. This helps the roof system do its job by reflecting radiant heat away from the internal structures, which keeps shingles and rafters from growing brittle and cracking.
We mentioned taking care of the gutters, but what about other debris trapped on the roof? Can you leave that alone? Hopefully, you said no. Anything that shouldn’t be on the roof needs to removed. Swaths of leaves and pine needles, twigs, ice and snow, and even bird droppings can cause your roof to deteriorate, cause ponding water, and even result in structural failure if it weighs too much.
Since all of this is a hefty repair, you want to avoid that. Remove debris by using a broom to either push or sweep off the roof. Don’t use a broom with hard, abrasive bristles, since that will ruin the granules on asphalt shingles. Also, don’t use a power-washer. The high pressure could damage shingles and dent metal.
Wash Away Algae and Fungus
Algae, moss, and fungus can grow on almost any substance when there is enough moisture and grime for it to cling to. Even roofing that is meant to prevent algae can get covered in it when not maintained.
To remove grim and gunk, mix equal parts bleach and water in a bucket then spray it on the mold and mildew. Once you’ve washed away the muck, install zinc (or copper) strips around the ridges of the roof. This will help absorb water that could be causing the algae growth.
Trim Back Branches
Are there trees close to your house? It’s time to take a look at all potential risks, including falling branches. Also, if you notice that there is mold or algae growing on the roof near the trees, or if you have spotted water damage in your home, it could be that the tree cover is too dense and the roof cannot dry off. Be sure to trim back the trees to prevent damages in the future.
Keep a Watchful Eye
If you don’t have a traditional roof but a flat one, then there are additional things to consider. EPDM, bitumen, TPO and other types of single-ply flat roof covers need to be checked annually for blistering and cracking. Pay special attention to any seams where water can get in.
Tiny holes and cracks can be repaired with a sealant. While it might not be permanent, it will increase the lifespan of the roof.
Inspect Your Flashing
Did you know that 95 percent of leaks are caused by improperly installed or damaged flashing? It’s much more important than you think, especially the pieces installed around chimneys and skylights. Check around vents, windows, or anywhere else flashing is installed to make sure it is all secure. If you find any gaps, apply some sealant to keep water out.
The main part of extending the life of your roof is to catch problems before they begin. Check your roofing system every time the seasons change or when you have weathered a storm. By dealing with smaller fixes early, you can prevent broader, more expensive damage for occurring. In turn, the life of your roof is extended beyond the average 15 years.
Another way to protect your roof is to work with a trusted roofing contractor. Learn more about our services by filling out the contact form. We’ll be in touch!
And if you want to learn more about roofing, check out our other blogs.