A home’s roof is one of its most important features because it stands as the home’s first line of defense against the elements. A properly installed and maintained roof will help protect the interior of the home against excessive moisture, wind-blown debris, and other risks that could potentially damage the home. Therefore, performing routine roof maintenance throughout the year is a must.
Maintaining your roof not only helps extend its lifespan (by as much as 7 to 10 years), it keeps your home’s market value from dipping because no home buyer wants to buy a home only to have to replace its roof not long after taking ownership. In this guide, we’ll share the roof maintenance tips you need to know and what to look for when performing a roof inspection to determine if it’s time for a new roof.
Seasonal Tasks for Protecting Your Roof
The start of spring and the fall are the seasons you can expect to be doing the bulk of the maintenance on your roof. Once the weather warms up, you will want to check your roof for any signs of damage that may have occurred over the winter. This is particularly important if you had a very snowy or icy winter season. Look for loose or missing shingles, dings or dents caused by falling branches, and check the seals and flashing around the vents, skylights, and/or any other fixtures protruding from your roof.
Cleaning your gutters is another task that you should do as soon as you can after winter’s icy days are in the rear-view mirror. Spring typically brings a lot of rain to most parts of the country, so you want to ensure there is nothing blocking the rainwater’s route to the downspouts. Avoiding this task can put your home at risk of having collected rainwater in the gutters flowing backward into the home where it can cause significant (and expensive) damage.
Throughout the spring and summer, you should keep your roof free of fallen tree limbs, twigs, and other debris because if left on the roof, they can cause algae, moss, or lichen to grow. Cutting any encroaching branches or limbs away will help reduce this risk while at the same time making it harder for squirrels and other animals and insects from getting into your home.
If your asphalt roof has mold or algae growing on it, try this homemade cleaning solution: 1 gal. bleach, 4 gal. water, 1 cup trisodium phosphate. Mix all ingredients in a pump sprayer, spray of roof. Let sit for 20 minutes, and rinse with plain water from your garden hose.
Another important task in spring is to inspect your attic’s insulation and ventilation. Nothing should be blocking the airflow from louvre to louvre. You want the air to flow easily through your attic, so it can reduce the risk of condensation building up. While you’re in the attic, check the netting on the louvres to ensure no bats, birds, or other pests can work their way into your attic.
How to Tell if You Need a New Roof
Even with excellent roof care, a roof will eventually need to be replaced. Here are some of the common tell-tale signs that it is time to have a new roof installed on your home.
- Attic Leaks – If you have one or more leaks noticeable in your attic, then you will want to have your roof inspected by a professional.
- Ceiling Stains or Mold/Mildew Growth – If you can’t gain access to your attic, then you will know you have a roof leak when the ceiling starts looking stained in one spot. Your home may also start smelling musty if mold or mildew starts growing on the other side of the ceiling’s drywall.
- Shingle Debris in the Gutters – If you see small grains in the gutters, these granules are coming from your shingles. This means the shingles are starting to deteriorate and will need to be replaced very soon.
- Missing, Curled, or Cracked Shingles – When shingles reach the end of their lifespan, they will become brittle, loose, or curled. Replacing them with newer materials is the only option you have at this point.
- High Energy Bills – Inadequate roof ventilation can cause hot air to become trapped in the attic where it will work against your air conditioner. This forces your AC to work harder and longer to cool the home, and this not only causes your energy bills to skyrocket, it also reduces the lifespan of your HVAC system.
How to Inspect Your Roof for Damage
Inspecting your roof for damage is something you should be doing every time you perform any kind of maintenance on it. You can even check it from the ground using binoculars if you have trepidations about getting on your roof. Some of the things you should regularly be checking for include:
- Rotting or other damage on the fascia and under the eaves and overhangs
- Popped up roofing nails
- Open or damaged seams and joints
- Cracks, exposed nails, or poor coverage in flashing
- Missing, torn, or misshapen shingles
- Signs of insect or animal infestation
- Sagging areas on the roof
- Sagging or loose gutters
- Shingles with dark patches or biologic growth
- Blocks in the roof’s ventilation
- Cracks in the sealant around roof penetrations
- Signs of leaks on the inside of the attic
Riverhead Building Supply Has All Your Residential and Commercial Roofing Products
If you are a DIY homeowner or a professional roofing contractor and you’re looking for quality roofing products to help you maintain, repair or replace a roof, then Riverhead Building Supply has everything you’re looking for. We can help you get the job done right. Click here to view our incredible selection of residential and commercial roofing supplies and materials and contact us today.