Proper roof maintenance requires regular inspections. Seasonal or yearly checkups will lengthen the life of your roofing materials, preventing leaks that lead to damage, costly repairs, and — horrors! — the necessity for a complete roof replacement.
We decided to put together a quick list of roof maintenance tips that will alert you to any problems and help extend the life of your roof.
Roofs are designed to weather (literally) all kinds of storms, but there is going to be some wear and tear. So be sure your roof is ready for the next big storm by following these helpful tips on roof protection.
If you have any questions about roofing repair, damaged shingles, roofing home improvements, or your roof system in general, please call The Helping Company. We’re happy to guide you through the best solutions for you and your home.
1. Inspect Your Shingles – Do yearly checks on your roof shingles — especially after the wild weather months. But remember: It’s not just wind and wet that can damage your roof. Ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays can also wreak havoc over time. So be sure to examine your shingles as a regular part of your roof inspections to ensure they’re still installed properly and functioning as they should.
2. Trim Branches – If you have trees with overhanging branches, have them trimmed before the winter sets in. Heavy snow, wind, ice and other natural phenomena can whip branches around or pull them from the tree completely, causing damage to the root and the structures on top of it.
3. Unclog Gutters – Many of us are familiar with the problems associated with clogged gutters, which can include bubbling wall paint and rotting wood. But clogged gutters can overflow with so many leaves, bugs, and debris that the rain washes up instead of down. Over time, the water can damage the roof and the support beams that hold it aloft. You can imagine the kind of problems that will cause: the expensive kind. Clean your gutters and clean outs heading into the spring and fall seasons.
4. Monitor Moss – Although moss adds an element of color and a magical forest look to your roof, the damage it causes is no fairy tale. Left to grow unhindered, moss will damage roofs of all kinds — including asphalt, wood, and concrete. Here’s what happens: Moss grows between shingles. Over time, it will bulk up and actually lift the shingles away from the roof, meaning water can get inside. Plus, the moss itself holds water. Leaks and wood rot usually follow not far behind. You’ll have to scrub the moss away (or hire someone to do it) to prevent damage. So keep a close eye for moss! We recommend that zinc sulphate granules be sprinkled on the roof systematically and seasonally.
5. Insulate/Ventilate – A roof that’s properly and comprehensively insulated and ventilated is less likely to be at the mercy of excess moisture, which can lead to rot. Have your attic inspected to verify that you have the right — and the right amount — of insulation. Ventilation is especially important. This is an area of concern that most homeowners are usually unaware of, and PWR makes it a point to remind our customers just how important it is. A lot of times, they’re surprised to learn that an attic can “sweat.” How? Warm air will rise, contact the cold, inside plywood of the roof and create condensation, which inevitably leads to mold growth and rotting plywood. Make sure vents are allowing for the proper amount of air circulation. Properly insulated roofs can also help prevent ice dams. (See below.) Conversely, an improperly ventilated roof will make your home even hotter in the summer. If your attic doesn’t have enough balanced air flow, that hot air has nowhere to go, and it’s going to get hot in there with the sun beating relentlessly down on the roof during the summer. Properly ventilated roofs will also save you money on your electric bill since your AC unit won’t have to work as hard to keep the house cool.
6. Prevent Ice Dams – Speaking of which, roofs are susceptible to ice dams after heavy snowfall. Warm air in the attic causes the roof itself to warm up, melting the snow. Those tricky rivulets of water then refreeze when they reach colder portions of the roof and — voila! — ice dams. Next thing you know, additional meltwater gets trapped and starts to seep through the roof, staining ceilings and peeling paint. To prevent ice dams, go back and recheck your insulation and ventilation to make sure that your attic stays cool enough in the winter to keep ice dams from forming in the first place. As we move into the cooler fall and winter months, it’s really important to work to prevent ice dams.
7. Caulk the Flashings – Flashings are those strips of metal (usually aluminum, galvanized metal, or lead) that run along roof edges or joints. Flashing is necessary to divert water or to keep water out of tricky areas that shingles can’t cover, such as roof penetrations where bathroom and kitchen pipes/vents extend through the surface of the roof. Flashing is also used near walls, skylights, and chimneys, and valleys. Depending on how they were installed, flashing can rust, crack, lift, or separate, meaning that a vital piece of roof protection is no longer functioning properly. Consider sealing the flashing with caulk at the places where it has become unstuck. At Pacific West Roofing, we prefer lead pipe flashings because it lasts for decades with little to no maintenance, contains no rubber that will deteriorate in the sun over time, and makes it less likely that you’ll have to caulk and recaulk those problem areas of your roof’s flashing.