When it comes to deciding whether to repair the roof or to replace it, often homeowners don’t know what to do. A good rule to keep in mind is the extent the roof is damaged – making a lot of repairs over a short span of time typically indicates a roof requires replacing. But preventative measures can go a long way to avoid the inevitable. Here are some practical suggestions to make your roof last longer.
Keep the Gutters Clean
People often forget that gutters are an integral part of the roof system. Working gutters channel rainwater from the roof to ground level where it is deposited safely away from the foundation. When clogged gutters overflow, water can back up into the eaves or splash up into the soffit and fascia, causing permanent damage to roofing tiles and the onset of rot in soffit and fascia, especially if they are manufactured from wood.
If the gutters constantly overflow even though the gutter system is relatively free of debris, the cause could be clogged or dented downspouts. Downspouts that are clogged need to be unblocked. When aluminum gutters are dented, water flow is restricted and can result in the gutters overflowing.
Take Care of the Trees
Trees that are not healthy or are in the process of dying can be a real threat to your roof. During active wind storms and heavy rainfall, sick trees generally have weakened root systems and might easily be blown over. Assess the trees on your property, particularly the ones growing near the house. Consult with an arborist if necessary. Trim any branches touching roof shingles, cut away dead limbs, and remove dead trees before they cause problems in stormy weather.
Avoid Thermal Shock
When parts of an object such as a roof expand and contract in different amounts due to noticeable temperature swings, it is known as thermal shock. This can shorten the roof’s lifespan. A roof’s temperature should be consistent. To prevent thermal shock from occurring, ensure the attic is adequately insulated and properly ventilated.
Maintain the Roof
As with other parts of your home like the electrical system and the plumbing, the roof also needs regular maintenance. Ways to maintain the roof include:
- Cleaning the roofing tiles
- Removing organic matter such as moss, lichens, algae, and mold
- Replacing missing tiles blown away by the wind
- Repairing damaged roof shingles
- Replacing and/or repairing damaged flashings
Inspect the Roof and the Gutters
Having the roof cleaned annually and the gutters cleaned twice a year is an adequate maintenance schedule for the roofing system of your home. But a lot can happen in between scheduled home maintenance. A good habit to get into is periodically inspecting the roof and the gutters, especially after storms. Roof and gutter inspections will give you the peace of mind that nothing important has been damaged. If something has happened to the roof or the gutter system, you will be able to give it your immediate attention, perhaps avoiding the situation becoming critical.
Hire a Roofing Contractor
When the roof or the gutters need to be repaired, it’s a normal response to be budget-conscious and find the time to do the repairs yourself. However, when it comes to making repairs to a roofing system, it’s best not to “youtube” it. Consult with a reputable, licensed roofing contractor – most companies offer free estimates and will be up front with what needs to be repaired and how much it will cost.