When it comes to the life of your roof, more is better. Perhaps you have a new roof you want to last for decades. Or it could be an older roof from which you want to eke out a few more years. Either way, you aren’t entirely at the mercy of nature. You can extend your roof’s life with proper care and some essential maintenance and precautions. Here are some steps to take if you want to keep your roof healthy for as long as possible:
Trim Your Trees
Branches that scrape against your shingles or break off and smash onto your roof are one of your roof’s biggest enemies. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to prevent roof damage caused by your trees. Trim back any branches that hang near or over your home.
Tree branches also act as bridges for rats, squirrels, and other wildlife. Once on your roof, these critters can claw or chew on your roof materials, causing expensive damage. From there, they can also enter your attic or home. Cut off their access by cutting off overhanging trees.
Ideally, you should have a ten-foot clearance between your roof and tree branches. Periodic tree trimming is healthy for your trees and your roof.
Check Your Gutters
Your gutters play a critical role in the condition of your roof and home. Several times a year or after any significant storms, walk around your home and inspect the gutter system. Look for areas where the gutters seem to be pulling away from the house or for signs of dents or damage. You should also have your gutters cleaned twice a year to prevent blockages that prevent them from functioning correctly. The weight of trapped dirt and debris can also cause the gutters to tear away from your roof, so keeping them clean and clear is essential.
As a bonus, clear, well-maintained gutters can prevent damage to your home and interior. More than just your roof benefits from properly caring for your gutters.
Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams occur when rooftop snow melts and then refreezes. They can cause extensive damage to your roof and gutters. This refrozen water also creates safety hazards for anyone below your roof’s edge. Prevent damage to your roof and your visiting mother-in-law by avoiding ice dams.
The best way to do that is to remove snow build-up or pay to have it professionally removed. If you choose to do the snow removal yourself, ensure you are using the proper tools. Otherwise, you can end up causing more roof damage than you prevent. Strive to clear at least three feet up from the gutters.
Look at Your Roof
Periodic visual inspections can catch damage early and address problems while issues are minor and solutions are less expensive. Look for discoloration, uneven or crooked shingles, warps or waves on the roof, or anything else that looks off. Pay particular attention to areas around vents, skylights, seams in the roofline, or other openings. If you notice any potential problems, contact a roof repair company immediately. Time is not on your side when dealing with roof damage. In many cases, the sooner you perform the repairs, the smaller the final bill.
Have Your Roof Professionally Inspected
Looking at your roof can catch some problems, but you may miss critical but subtle signs of trouble. Residential roofing contractors know what to look for and will see issues you might miss. A roof inspection allows a professional to look for signs of trouble and make recommendations for extending the life of your roof. They can find and address issues while they are still minor before they lead to the need for extensive repairs or total roof replacement.
Vent and Insulate Your Attic
Your home needs to breathe to stay healthy. It does this by exchanging air through attic and roof vents. The air exchange allows hot, moist air to escape, preventing moisture build-up, mildew, and mold.
Heated, wet air trapped in your attic can shorten the life of your shingles. It may also cause damage to your rafters and other roof supports. In the winter, trapped hot air causes snow to melt, which can then refreeze into an ice dam. Finally, an improperly vented attic may void the warranty on your roof materials.
Insulation also protects and extends the life of your roof. In addition to lowering your heating and cooling costs, a properly insulated roof is less likely to form ice dams.
These simple steps can add years to the life of your roof. Considering how expensive and disruptive it is to replace a roof, you’ll be pleased by the extra years you get from a properly cared for roof system.