One of the most distinguishing features of any home is its roof—and oftentimes, the roof is the most expensive part of the exterior to be replaced. Purchasing and installing a new roof can cost $7,000-$9,500—even more, in some instances—a hard expense to absorb for any homeowner. However, by following a few proper roof maintenance procedures, full roof replacement doesn’t have to happen for decades, especially when using sturdy materials and great builders. Maintaining your roof requires regular inspections, gentle cleanings, and preventative measures that will save your budget and extend years of life to your roof and eaves.
Regular Inspections Are Vital to a Healthy Roof
Hiring a professional to inspect your roof is the best way to find out the condition of your roof and learn how to provide proper room maintenance. Your roof inspector will use a ladder to survey your roof for several issues, working around the perimeter and noting key concerns such as cracked or missing caulking; rusting or deterioration on flashing and metal hardware; missing, cracked, molded, or compromised shingles; or growth of decomposed material (leaves, algae, moss, mold, etc).
Remove All Obstructions and Debris
When performing roof maintenance, remove the greenery from your roof: cut back those climbing vines, kudzu, and ivy. Consider trimming tree limbs that hang over the roof. While the aesthetic of a home in the trees sounds nice, storms can cause expensive damage, and tree limbs act as access points for wildlife from squirrels and raccoons to mice.
Hire a professional to trim back your trees. They can also remove decaying material, small limbs, and sticks that promote molding and wood rot. Check your roof for debris with the same regularity in which you clean your gutters: twice a year should be fine for most. When cleaning gutters, be sure to check for cracks in the material or any gaps in the seaming. Make sure the gutters are securely attached to your home with securely-anchored brackets.
Inspect and Repair Damaged Points of Access
Leaks are the primary cause of roof-related damage to the home. Check all your flashing, rubber seals, caulking, and joints. The corners of the roof incline are the most frequent spots for leaks. Your home should have an attic or dry space to let the home breathe. These areas, including the eaves, should inspected for damage. Remember: water follows the path of least resistance, and water degrades wood over time. Mold grows in these conditions and can affect the health of those living inside the home. Roof leaks will always get worse, not better. Call a professional as soon as you notice a problem to save time and money. If you own property with constant roof leaks, contact a professional before the damage becomes too much for them to repair the roof properly.
Don’t ignore mold, wet spots, flaking or compromised drywall. These are signs you need emergency roof maintenance. Remember, roof health is like any other problem: it only gets worse over time, and more expensive to fix the longer it sits without being noticed.
Be Prepared for Inclement Weather
With inclement weather on the way, roof maintenance becomes even more important. Heavy wind and rains, sleet, hail, and snow all provide opportunities for roof damage. However, being prepared in weather of all conditions will save you time and money in the future. Wind can loosen or break off your home’s flashing, which plays a vital role in channeling water down the shingles and off the roof. Shingles themselves are often victim to intense winds, which can crack, warp, or tear shingles from the roof, which can expose flashing, wood, or synthetic barrier to the open air. Make sure your attic space is ventilated well and insulated to meet your local contracting standards. The proper products can prevent warping and cracking from the cycle of melting and refreezing. When ice forms on your roof and in your gutters, water can pool on top of the roof, compromising the flashing and leaking underneath the shingles, which could lead to molding, decay, leaks and rot.
Even if you think your roof is in great shape, consider a roof inspection before buying or selling a home. Often times, roof inspections are not covered under general home inspections, and can add to the value of your home if the roof is in good condition. When a buyer feels confident that they don’t have to replace a roof within the first ten years of buying a home, this advantage may help in a selling market.