Roof Maintenance Tips
Your roof is one of the most essential parts of your home. It keeps the sun off, the rain and the snow out, and your heat and air conditioning inside. A roof isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.
Severe roof damage can seriously disrupt your life, wreaking havoc on your home as well as your wallet. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange roof replacement sets you back an average of $18,913, and an upscale roof replacement costs an average of almost $35,000.
The best way to extend the life of your roof for as long as possible is with twice yearly maintenance. The two harshest seasons are summer and winter, so you should perform these tasks at the end of each of these seasons.
Here are some basic things you can do to care for your roof and maximize its life expectancy.
Check the gutters
Do this at the end of the fall or spring, when leaves and sticks are more likely to clutter your gutter.
First, check the downspout and remove any large debris. Flush the gutter out with a hose starting at the end of the gutter that’s farthest from the downspout. Does the water drain? If not, the gutter may be clogged.
Use a gutter-cleaning hose attachment or a plumber’s snake tool to clear any blockages inside your gutter. Check for leaks by plugging the gutter and filling it with water. Let the gutter dry before repairing any leaks.
Trim the trees
After you’ve checked and cleaned the gutters, take note of any tree branches over your roof. These could be the source of leaves and twigs in your gutters, and they can cause other issues, too.
Severe weather can cause boughs to break and crash into your roof, damaging or even tearing a hole in it. Also, small animals like squirrels can use the tree to access your roof and gnaw on shingles and wiring.
Fix the shingles
Be very careful before attempting to go out onto your roof. If you feel uncomfortable, hire a professional.
If you do tackle this one on your own, only venture out on the roof if it is solid and sound, and the pitch is relatively shallow. Wear sturdy shoes with good soles, and wait for a warm, dry afternoon. Never climb onto a roof after a storm or in the morning, as it can be wet from dew.
Once you’ve gotten onto your roof, look for any loose shingles and secure them with roof cement. If part of a shingle is missing or damaged, you’ll need to replace the entire shingle.
Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering at the edges are nearing the end of their lifespan and should be replaced. Cracked shingles can be repaired or replaced.
Give it a once over
While you’re on the roof, take a good look around:
- Identify and repair any holes where rodents or water could enter.
- Check the flashing around the chimney and vents. If the caulk is peeling, remove it, clean the area, and seal with fresh caulk.
- Inspect and repair the chimney mortar, if needed.
- Clear any debris off the roof and check fans and vents for blockages.
- Make sure, if your roof is covered in gravel or ballast, that it is evenly spread and that the whole surface is protected.
Roof repairs are some of the most expensive costs you’ll deal with as a homeowner, but regular maintenance can extend the life of your roof by years. You need to regularly check your roof to find and fix any little problems before they become big ones.
If your roof is particularly steep or you simply feel uncomfortable, don’t skip the maintenance check; hire a professional. It will save you money in the long run.