When it comes to owning a home, nobody likes to do maintenance. Yet it’s routine maintenance that helps make a home last longer. One of the things every homeowner wants to last the longest is the roof, since it’s one of the most expensive parts of a home to replace. Yet for the most part, all too many homeowners ignore their roof. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the roof is out of sight that it’s out of mind. At least it is until they detect a leak, or worse when the homeowner finally gets around to replacing their roof and the roofing company finds a lot of rotted roof timbers under the shingles. To help your roof last longer and reduce the incidence of rot, below are the top maintenance steps you need to take.
1. Leave me alone at your peril – Leaves and tree litter might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s the number one cause of water intrusion on any roof. That’s because leaf litter and twigs can act like a dam to back up water. When shingles can no longer shed rain efficiently, the water will try to find another way out, usually by slipping under shingles. Secondly, wet leaf litter adds unneeded weight to your roof which can eventually cause it to sag or even fail. If you do nothing else to maintain your roof, make sure you sweep away the leaves and twigs that pile up on your roof every autumn.
- Is your mind in the gutter? – If not, it should be. That’s because clogged gutters can also cause leaks and add stress to your roof system. Just as with leaf litter, clogged gutters can and do cause water to back up into the house. If left unchecked, your home’s gutters will turn into terrariums where everything from grass to shrubs and trees will take root and begin to grow. Once the leaves turn into dirt, the water that should run down the downspout will have nowhere else to go but out on the roof. Worst still, this could eventually lead to the gutters collapsing under their own weight. If you haven’t checked your gutters in a year or more, don’t wait until it causes your roof to leak. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you might also like to consider getting gutter guards installed to keep your gutters from clogging.
3. Are you out of your tree? – Another way you can protect your roof from unnecessary damage is to have your tree limbs trimmed every year. In Florida, some trees can grow as much as two feet in a year. If any of the branches of your shade trees happen to touch your shingles, you can rest assured that in no time they will begin to scour or even scrape the shingles they touch right off your roof. Don’t think that because a tree limb isn’t in direct physical contact with your roof that it’s no threat. The next time you have a passing thunderstorm, watch how your trees whip around. If limbs are within 3-6 feet of the roof, a windstorm can cause them to come into contact with your shingles.
- There’s a fungus among us. – Algae, fungi, and moss love damp places. When it comes to a roof, these slimy green or black growths are prone to take root under the eaves where there’s less direct sunlight or in places that remain wet the longest. If you see any kind of growth on your roof, mix up a solution of equal parts water and bleach to spray on the offending areas. An even better solution is to install a zinc strip along the ridge of your roof. As the rain washes over the strip, zinc particles are released to coat the roof with a protective layer that prevents fungus, moss, and algae from growing.
- A flash of brilliance? – Roof flashing needs to be undamaged and properly installed to prevent leaks around chimneys and vents. If you notice even minor damage to the flashing, ignoring it is only going to make things worse. Most minor flashing damage can be repaired with a polyurethane sealer. If the damage is more significant, call a roofer to repair or replace the flashing to prevent or stop a leak.
- Skylight, sky bright – Skylight seals are notorious for cracking over time. Since they live in direct sunshine, you can’t expect them to last forever. Before water starts to drip, drip, dripping from a compromised seal, it would behoove you to inspect any skylight on a yearly basis and repair or replace any cracked seals.
- Here comes old flattop – If you have a flat roof, you need to be cognizant of any cracks, blisters, or seam failures that can give water easy access into your home. For smaller cracks or holes, you can buy roofing sealer from any hardware store. While it won’t last forever, it can prolong the life of a flat roof. For blisters or seam failures, your best bet is to call on a professional roofing company to assess and repair the damage.
- Inspect the roof for obvious signs of damage. – Bent or missing shingles are the quickest ways for a leak to get started. After the next passing squall, go outside and take a look up at the roof. If you see any missing, broken, or bent shingles, you need to have someone replace them sooner rather than later.
- Do it yourself or hire a pro? – While every homeowner is looking to save money, depending on the size and pitch of your roof, you should always assess whether or not to attempt a roof repair on your own. Better to pay a professional a few dollars to do the job right than to do a less than perfect repair or wind up falling off the roof.
Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.