Extend the Life of Your Roof with these Maintenance Tips

Your roof is on guard around the clock protecting you and your family. Regular rainfall, storms, active winds, snow, and anything else the weather can throw at it can take its toll on a roofing system. New roof installations are expensive and disruptive. Extend the life of your roof with these maintenance tips.

Inspect the roof each seasonal change.

With every new season, do a visual check of the roofing system. Use binoculars from the ground or on a ladder. Loose hardware, dented flashings, broken seals, and worn exposed roof joints are all places where leaks can form. Look for:

  • Curling or missing roof shingles
  • Damaged drip edge
  • Damaged flashings and seals
  • Missing fasteners and raised nail heads
  • Sagging gutters or missing gutter sections
  • Bald spots on asphalt roof shingles
  • Roof granules in the gutters

Maintenance tip: Do a visual inspection after any significant storm.

Get a professional roof inspection.

Visually inspecting the roof four times a year is great for identifying minor issues before they become major problems. However, a qualified roofer will spot problems a homeowner’s visual inspection might miss. Also a professional inspection will include the attic.

Maintenance tip: Budget for a pro roofing inspection once every two years.

Follow up inspections with repairs.

After visual inspections or a professional roof inspection, don’t ignore problems in the hope they will fix themselves. Make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.

Maintenance tip: Especially in current economic conditions when money is tight, prioritize roof repairs. Fix anything related to potential leaks such as missing shingles, rotted soffit and fascia, and loose hardware first.

Clear off the roof then clean the gutters.

Remove loose debris such as twigs, leaves, pine cones, and blossoms from the roof either by rinsing off with a garden hose or sweeping away. Even the smallest amount of accumulation can encourage moss or algae growth. And on a windy day, if it’s not blown off the roof, it can land in the gutters.

Clean the gutters regularly. A maintained gutter system is less likely to become clogged or the downspouts blocked. Gutters problems caused by overflowing gutters include rotted soffit, damaged fascia, and stained siding.

Maintenance tip: Keep the roof clear of debris as much as possible – piles of leaves, twigs, and small limbs can actually prevent rainwater from flowing into the gutters.

Avoid walking on the roof.

Certain types of roofing materials such as asphalt shingles and slate tiles can be easily damaged if walked on. Particularly if the roof is older, it’s best to avoid further stressing the roof shingles with additional weight.

Maintenance tip: When it’s absolutely necessary for you to access the roof, to prevent damaging the shingles or roof deck, don’t walk on it if the roof temperature too hot, shingles are wet, or moss growth is thick.

Don’t use harsh cleaning methods and products.

Roofing shingles get stained – moss, algae, discolouration from environmental pollutants – and the first instinct of any homeowner is to remove them. After all, a clean asphalt roof makes for better curb appeal. However, to extend the roof’s lifespan, go easy on harsh cleaning methods such as pressure washing and using cleaning products containing harmful chemicals. Not only are eco-friendly cleaners kinder to the roofing shingles, they are better for the environment.

Maintenance tip: Removing stains from a small area is okay. Plan to hire a roofing specialist for the removal of extensive moss growth.

Trim branches that grow too close to the roof.

Branches that hang down over the roof, or especially limbs that land on the roofing shingles, pose a severe hazard. Debris coming into contact with shingles can wear them down or cause damage that might lead to leaks. Broken branches left to rest on the surface of the roof add weight. They can also encourage squirrels and other pest to make a nest or gain access to the interior of your house.

Maintenance tip: Prune trees in late fall or early winter when they are dormant.

Check for signs of animal damage.

Animals can cause major damage to your roof if they decide to make it their home. Obvious signs of animal invasion are chewed cables and roof shingles, scratch marks on pipes, vents, and shingles that can’t be attributed to humans or general wear and tear, and holes large enough for rodents to enter.

Maintenance tip: Ensure places like roof valleys, overhangs (if you have multiple rooflines), and other sheltered areas are free of debris – warm or protected spots complete with nest-building materials can be inviting to squirrels, mice, and raccoons.