Roofs are a valuable and expensive part of any home, so proper care and maintenance is very important. Neglect may result in decay and leaks, causing damage that quickly spreads inside the home. While a decent roof will last at least twenty years, extending its lifespan can easily be achieved with the right amount of attention.
Extending your roof’s life begins with inspection, which should happen at least twice a year. If you live in an area where wind and rain storms occur regularly, visually inspecting your roof and attic more often may be useful. Check for loose, missing, or curled shingles, leaf buildup in gutters or roof valleys, and moss buildup. Look for damaged flashing around any opening in the roof, like points where satellite dishes, skylight framing, vents, vent pipes, attic windows, and chimneys are installed. By checking the roof regularly, any problems can quickly be resolved before roof damage occurs.
Many problems can be fixed on your own. Loosened shingles can be re-affixed. Small leaks can be sealed using commercial sealants. Flashing can be replaced. Interior roof problems can be addressed such as trapped water vapor, loose nails, or minor water damage. Fluctuating air temperatures in the attic causing trapped water vapor can be corrected by installing high quality attic insulation.
Clean leaves from your gutters to prevent water seepage between the exterior of the roof and the sheathing. Remove leaves from the roof valleys to prevent build up that traps moisture. Clear low hanging branches to safeguard the roof from damage from scratching. It also cuts down on the amount of leaves that collect in valleys and gutters. Rodents and squirrels miss an opportunity to hop onto your roof and get into your home, as well.
Moss buildup can be an issue in certain parts of the country, especially the Northwestern portion of the United States. Like leaves, moss buildup traps moisture and rots the outside of your roof. Luckily, it can easily be brushed off if it is detected soon after it begins growing. Treating the area with a natural moss cleaning product will prevent its return. Other products, such as zinc strips, will help fight off moss. Another common roof growth is black algae. Looks-wise, you may want to remove it. But it isn’t hazardous to the health of your roof, so leaving it would be fine.
Ice dams are an issue in any part of the country where winter storms and repeated snowfall are common. If gutters aren’t cleaned in the fall and then become clogged, snow and ice that melts during warm spells has nowhere to go. Instead of draining properly, it may freeze again during the next cold spell. If you see icicles hanging from the roof edge, chances are you have clogged gutters. Snow and ice buildup further prevents proper drainage. The result is increased moisture and stress on the integrity of your roof. Cleaning gutters in the fall, and sweeping snow from your roof in winter will go a long way in keeping your roof dry and protected.