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    Roof Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide For Homeowners (2021 Update)

    Roof damage is one of the easiest things for a homeowner to miss or ignore. That’s because you’re not up on your roof very often, and small damage is hard to spot if you’re not looking for it. If you’ve ever had a leaky roof, then you know how expensive it can be to fix. The best way to avoid this is by performing regular maintenance on your home’s roof, just like you would any other part of your home that you look at all the time. As a homeowner, it’s a great idea for you to know proper roof maintenance for your roof, whether it be a standard shingle roof or something more complex. Today, we’ll cover some of the essential tips homeowners should know about maintaining their roofs and preventing issues down the road.

    Get a Professional Roof Inspection

    a professional roof inspection is the first step of roof maintenance

    The first step to any successful roof maintenance regimen is getting a professional inspection. The easiest way for homeowners to get started is by contacting their local building inspector or reputable local roofing contractor who can inspect the property and issue an accurate report on its condition. A roof inspection can give you a great overall picture of your roof’s age, health and pinpoint any necessary repairs. All of the roof maintenance tips below are excellent, but if you’re unable to locate any damage or are unsure, it’s always best to call a local professional right away. Many great contractors offer free roof inspections, so there’s really no harm in calling a pro.

    Fix Minor Repairs Right Away

    If your roof inspection pointed out some minor repairs, the best thing you can do is fix those right away. Even the tiniest little nicks in your shingles or flashing can lead to massive damage in the future. In addition, those small cracks can grow with time and let in water which can cause mold growth and water damage to your home’s interior. Both of which require expensive repairs if it infiltrates your home’s structure. It’s better for your checkbook, in the long run, to fix those minor repairs immediately.

    Regularly Check Your Shingles

    To piggyback off of that, regularly checking your shingles for any damage or wear and tear can save you a ton of pain and strife by catching it early. And doing a walk-through on your property and even taking a peak up on a ladder is simple enough to do yourself without needing to pay a professional to take a look. However, if you do notice some damage on your shingles, make sure to call them to make the repairs quickly. Some signs of a damaged roof include:

    • loose or curling shingles
    • loss of granules on the shingles (exposing the tar underneath)
    • missing or damaged shingles
    • standing water or dark spots
    • sunken areas in the roof
    check roof shingles as a part of roof maintenance

    Some signs are not as obvious as others, but you should be able to tell the difference between a healthy shingle and a damaged one, especially if you regularly check your roof. Make a note of any changes and keep an eye on anything that looks like it needs repair. If you suspect damage but aren’t sure, call a local roofing pro.

    Keep Your Gutters Free of Debris

    Keeping your gutters free of debris is important for protecting the integrity of your roof. A clogged gutter can cause water to pool and slow to a trickle, which can lead to leaks in your attic from water backing up under your shingles. The best way to avoid this is by cleaning out any debris that falls into them at least once per month during dry seasons and twice monthly during rainy seasons.

    man cleaning his gutters

    It can be a good idea to have your gutters cleaned professionally every two years as well, except for handy DIYers willing to do so more often than that. Gutter guards can also help alleviate a lot of debris getting into your gutters, especially if you live under a large tree that drops leaves or whirlygigs every year.

    Check for Water Spots in Your Attic

    It’s a good idea to check your attic for water spots or wetness every so often in an attempt to catch any potential leaks before they become too expensive and damaging. For example, if you suspect a leak because you spotted some granule loss of shingles, check your attic after every heavy rainfall. Any larger leaks should show a water spot on your attic ceiling or floor right away.

    While this step is optional, checking your attic does not take much time out of your day at all. It can help you spot problems as they come up, which can save you a lot of time and money, not to mention anxiety.

    Make Sure Your Attic is Well Ventilated

    attic ventilation

    A poorly ventilated attic or roof can cause a build-up of moisture, which can cause mold and mildew growth and force your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home cool in the summer or warm in the winter. On top of mold growth, poor ventilation can lead to an increased risk of respiratory issues for those in your home, among other problems.

    Trim Overhanging Trees or Branches

    If you live in an area know for severe thunderstorms and strong winds, any overhanging branches are at a huge risk of falling on your home and severely damaging your roof. All it takes is one good storm to blow a heavy branch onto your roof and cause damage to your shingles or worse.

    Call your local tree trimmer to come and clean up any overhanging branches or trees over your home. This allows you to keep your beautiful trees in the yard but remove the risk of them falling on top of your roof in a storm.

    Get Your Roof Cleaned

    This maintenance tip is often overlooked because it may not seem beneficial aside from making your roof more aesthetically pleasing. But this is not the case. Cleaning your roof by power washing or, even better, soft washing helps maintain the integrity of your roof in many ways! Cleaning your roof regularly can help:

    • Keep your gutters free of debris. Debris that sits on your roof eventually will flow down and into your gutters, causing you to have to clean those out anyways, so eliminating it first can help keep the entire system free of debris.
    • Wash off mold, moss, or algae growth on your shingles. While algae is not necessarily harmful to asphalt shingle roofs, moss is. Moss can actually aid in curling up the edges of your shingles, making them more susceptible to being blown off in heavy winds.
    man cleaning his roof to maintain it
    • The lichens left behind from moss and algae can also hold moisture on your shingles, which can expand or contract in the winter months, causing damage to your shingles at a much smaller level.
    • You may be able to more easily spot damage and granule loss when your roof is clean.

    Maintain and Replace Damaged Flashing

    The flashing on your roof is often one of the first things to require maintenance. Flashing is installed in areas around chimneys, pipe boots, valleys, and other roof elements that are susceptible to leaks because they have a seam that could leak into your roof. Make flashing a regular part of your roof maintenance as well because one damaged flashing can cause irreparable water damage to both your shingles and home’s interior.

    Patch Your Chimney

    patch up chimney as a part of roof maintenance

    If your home has a chimney, you should definitely get it inspected at the same time as your roof inspection. Any cracks in your chimney can lead to water leaking through, and it can get under your shingles, causing them to lift up or cause damage underneath that you can’t see. Plus, any chimney at risk of collapsing leaves your roof very vulnerable to shingle damage if left untouched. Chimney repairs can be expensive, so getting the flashing and brickwork repaired can be a small investment to save you a lot of money in the long run. Many factors play into how often you should get your roof checked when it comes to roofing maintenance. But by doing some of your own regular roof maintenance, you can help alleviate the stress of having any surprises that require immediate repairs in your future. If you’re unsure what the best solution for your current needs is, consider consulting with a reputable contractor in order to find out more about proper techniques and the appropriate frequency of service visits.

    Quentin Super
    Senior Copywriter at Roofing Insights, author of the internationally-selling book The Long Road North, founder of quentinsuper.com

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