One of the things every homeowner wants to last the longest is the roof. It’s one of the most expensive parts of the home to replace, and who wants to do that before it’s necessary? The key to making sure your roofing system thrives all the way up until the bitter end is routine maintenance. We get it, nobody likes to do this part, but it’s maintenance that’s going to make your roof last longer. Still, for the most part, all too many homeowners ignore their roofs.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that the roof is out of sight and that it’s out of mind. This philosophy works until you detect a leak, or worse when you finally get around to replacing your roof and the roofing company finds a lot of rotted roof decking, which could’ve been prevented by proper maintenance.
At RoofCrafters, we’ve been repairing and installing roofs for nearly 3 decades, and one of the most common comments we get from homeowners is that they regret not taking proper care of their roofs when they still had the time. We’ve seen our fair share of nightmare roofing situations, and it’s sad to say that most of these problems were preventable if the homeowners did their due diligence in roof maintenance.
All of this being said, if you’re reading this article, you are doing your due diligence because you’re educating yourself on prolonging the life of your roof. Go you! It’s a good thing you’re here because in this article you’ll learn how to make your roof live up to its full potential by following the top maintenance tips provided to you by the experts here at RoofCrafters. Let’s get started!
How Can I Prolong The Life of My Roof?
A good starting point is removing leaves and other debris that may be sitting on your roof. 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 as a dam that backs up water. When shingles can no longer shed rain efficiently, the water will try to find another way out, usually by slipping under the shingles.
Wet leaf litter adds 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.
Clear Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can cause leaks and added stress to your roofing system. Just as with leaf litter, clogged gutters can and will 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. This could eventually cause the gutters to collapse 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 should consider getting gutter guards installed to keep your gutters from clogging.
Trim Your Trees
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.
Be Mindful of Moss
Moss loves 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.
Check Your Flashing and Skylight(s)
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 will only 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.
As for skylights, their seals are notorious for cracking over time. Since they live in direct sunshine, you can’t expect them to last forever. Before water starts dripping from a compromised seal, it would be a good idea to inspect any skylight on a yearly basis and repair or replace any cracked seals.
Flat Roof Maintenance
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 sealers 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. 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.
Can I Maintain My Roof to Extend its Lifespan?
Yes, you absolutely can maintain your roof to extend its lifespan. In fact, everyone should! Your roof is one of, if not the most, important components of your home. It protects you, your family, and your precious belongings from the elements. Whether you want to or not, you need to take care of your roof. If you don’t, you’ll be dishing out some serious cash on a new roof prematurely.
Even though you’re a roof maintenance guru now, you still need to keep up with your yearly professional maintenance inspections. If you’re due for your yearly check-up, schedule an inspection with RoofCrafters today, and an eager professional will set up an inspection at your earliest convenience.
In the meantime, feel free to browse through the extensive resources located in our learning center. They’re accessible to you and are a wonderful educational resource for all roofing services. I recommend reading “5 Maintenance Tips to Extend Your Roofs Lifespan” so that you can keep your roof operating at its very best.
My name is David Toth and I am the lead estimator in North Florida with RoofCrafters Roofing. Originally from New Brunswick, I have called Florida home for the past 47 years. I enjoy cooking along with traveling to different historical areas in Florida when I have free time.