5 DIY Roof Maintenance Tips
As a homeowner, you know how important it is to keep every aspect of your house maintained. One of the most important facets of home maintenance is to make sure your roof is in tip-top shape. If you catch a problem early, you’re more likely to keep it from becoming a major repair — and a significant financial burden. There are several things you can do to extend the life of your roof. Take a look at five ways to make your roof last longer. 1. Inspect your roof If you’re not really sure what condition your roof is in, it’s time for a roof inspection. You don’t have to climb up there yourself; it’s always a safe option to hire an experienced professional to do it for you. It’s a small investment compared to what you could end up paying for repairs. How to inspect your roof Look for loose and curling shingles. What should you (or a roofing company) be looking for? For starters, it’s important to take a close look at the shingles, and search for any that might be loose, broken, curling, or missing completely. If they look worn down or are cracked, they should be replaced. Inspect the interior. You also can look for signs inside your home, such as leaks in the ceiling, peeling wallpaper and cracked wall or ceiling paint, which could indicate that water is getting through your roof. Check the wood in your attic for signs of termites or other insects that might have made a home in your roof. The sooner you spot an insect problem, the faster you can treat it before it gets out of hand. Look for rust on flashing. Lastly, look for any signs of rust on metal areas, such as the flashing around the chimney. Rusted areas can be treated with chemicals, such as corrosion-resistant paint. If the problem has progressed, the component may need to be replaced. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected every three years. 2. Check your gutters Loose gutters can be hard on your roof. Over time they can start to pull away from the house, leaving damage to the lower area of the roof that eventually needs repairs or replacing. While you’re checking your gutters, look for leaks and clogs as well; clogs can cause the gutters to become heavy and pull on the roof. Depending on the types of trees you have near your home, you may want to clean out the gutters once per season. 3. Trim the trees Overgrown tree branches can wreak havoc on your roof. They might rub or scrape on the roof, causing damage to the shingles and allowing holes and leaks to form. Branches could break during a storm, causing serious damage to your home. Tree leaves and needles can also fall into the gutters and clog them. Keep them trimmed back and watch for any branches that might be hanging too closely to your roof. 4. Remove debris When you think of cleaning your house, the roof probably doesn’t jump to the top of the list, but it’s helpful to keep in mind. At the very least, it’s important to immediately get rid of any debris that builds up during a storm. You should also check your roof periodically to make sure there’s no accumulation of dirt, loose objects or foreign material. Remove algae, mold, and moss If you have asphalt shingles, you should also check them for black or dark green stains, which are a sign of algae growth. Shingles that are mostly in the shade can attract algae, mold, and moss, which you can have removed with a professional cleaning. The cost of a cleaning is a fraction of what it costs to replace the roof if the algae continues causing damage, and it can also refresh and restore some of the natural beauty of your roof. 5. Keep snow and ice off your roof If you live in an area where ice or snow accumulation can be an issue the buildup can be extremely heavy, and the excess weight may stress your roof structurally. A one-inch-deep square foot of snow weighs about a pound, and a cubic foot of snow weighs around 20 pounds. When you think about your entire roof being covered in snow, you can start to calculate how much extra stress the snow places on it. In addition to structural damage, snow and ice can melt and leak into your home if the roof or shingles have been damaged. This can create a host of other issues inside your home, including mildew and rot. Removing snow from your roof can be extremely dangerous, so contact a professional contractor to examine the situation and see if removal is necessary. And you don’t need to remove snow from your roof every time it snows. Just be aware of those times when there’s a lot of accumulation in order to keep it from causing any damage. Learn how to prevent ice dam damage to your roof. Seasonal home maintenance inspections, particularly after severe weather and when the seasons change, are an effective way to stay on top of any potential or developing problems with your roof. The better you take care of your roof, the better it will look and the longer your roof will last. Learn more about signs of roof damage to help extend the life of your roof.