12 Tasks to Help Maintain Your Roof
The 12 roof maintenance tasks can be divided into three categories:
- Seasonal Roof Care
- Regular Inspections
- Smart Practices
Your roof system is an investment that provides years of protection from the elements and helps ensure a comfortable living environment for you and your family. But like many components in your home, your roof needs regular maintenance to perform at its best.
If you have curling, cracked, or missing shingles on your roof then it could be time for some serious roof maintenance. Your home’s stability depends upon how well maintained your roof is and if it is not maintained, there will most likely come other issues as well such as water leaks which can cause even worse problems in years ahead!
Roof Maintenance Checklist
To ensure your asphalt shingle roof stays in good condition throughout its lifetime, we've compiled a list of annual and semiannual tasks. Many won't take much time to perform but like any seasonal chores, they can help save you money down the road!
It's easy to get into the habit of doing regular maintenance on your roof. You can keep it looking good and protected by following these simple tips:
Work Safely on a Roof
When you're working on your roof, it's important to take safety into account. Make sure that any work being done in the attic or from a ladder is safe and won't lead to an accident before starting these tasks. Hiring a roofing professional offers peace of mind knowing they will do what needs to be done with expertise only possible through experience; while also ensuring everything gets completed properly without endangering anyone.
Minimize Roof Traffic
Because of their microscopic granules, asphalt shingles are able to resist UV damage and add an interesting three-dimensional color element. However, it’s important not to walk on them too much, or else you might scuff off these protective particles which can lead your roof towards premature failure! In addition, you may catch a shingle edge when walking around and pull up the shingle. Shingles have adhesives to hold down their edges during installation – once pulled up, they typically don’t adhere again. This will result in the shingle being blown up in strong winds, and probably a water leak.
Seasonal Roof Care – Every Fall
1. Clean the Gutters
Gutter systems are essential for your home to function properly. If they are clogged with leaves and debris, then water can back up and pool into your shingles. If too much water collects in your gutters, they may detach from your home from the water weight.
You should climb up on a ladder at least once each year and remove the debris from your gutters. You want your rainwater to flow through them freely. Keeping your gutters clean and flowing is one of the most important fall tasks.
2. Limit Algae and Moss Growth
Some of the most common causes for algae and moss growth on your roof are north-facing roofs, shade trees in lots, or wet climates with excessive rainfall. All these factors contribute by providing ideal conditions that allow algae and moss growth.
Algae can cause ugly dark streaks on a roof’s surface. The best way to minimize these stains is with chlorine bleach and water, but if your home has an environment that promotes moss or algae then you may need regular treatments instead of just relying upon natural sunlight.
Moss can be a serious problem for your roof. Moss absorbs water, and if it grows on the shingles too long then you might have problems with expanding under shingles and causing leaks. Eventually, the moss will chemically degrade the shingle surface and cause it to prematurely fail.
Pro Tip: Several shingle manufacturers offer algae and moss-resistant shingles now. This is made possible by using a specialized copper-lined granule from 3M, a leading producer of roofing granules.
3. Trimming Trees That Hang Over the Top of Your Roof
Do you have trees that hang over any part of your roof? If you do, it’s essential for you to trim them routinely to stop them from rubbing against shingles during windy conditions. The branches can erode shingle roof granules. Moreover, trimming branches can keep them from falling on your roof and causing damage or clogging your gutters.
4. Examine the Soil Stack Vent
Vent pipes are sealed with either sealant and/or a rubberized gasket. Over time the sealant and gasket can dry out and start cracking, or even fall apart completely. At least once a year check all vents that protrude out of your roof to make sure they are sealed properly against weather elements.
5. Inspect Flashing
Roof flashing is typically made of thin metals. It is installed where two different slope roof planes meet. In addition, it is installed around chimneys, vent pipes, and skylights. The most common place is roof valleys - the channel created when two or more roof slopes converge.
You should inspect your flashing every year. You are looking for dented, rusted, missing fasteners, or sealant drying/rotting away. If you find any of these conditions, you probably need to reach out to a roofing contractor. A certified roofing inspector can perform a detailed roof inspection to see if a roof repair or roof replacement is needed.
6. Check Your Attic for Potential Leaks
You should perform a visual inspection of your attic space at least twice a year to check for any roof leaks. Some roof leaks are obvious – you can see water dripping and water damage in your home. But, you could have a small leak in your attic that goes undetected for a long time and cause a lot of damage before your know it. A great test is to go into your attic on a sunny day. If you can see sunlight coming into your attic anywhere, then you have a leak that must be patched up.
7. Making Sure Your Roof is Properly Ventilated
While performing your visual attic inspection, you will also want to make sure that your attic is properly ventilated. Air needs to flow from your soffit or sides vents up to your roof or ridge vents. A properly vented attic does not get too hot or too cold.
If your attic is really hot or humid, then you probably need to have your attic inspected by a certified roof inspector. Sometimes the insulation has been inadvertently placed over soffit vents and blocks airflow, and sometimes there is inadequate roof venting.
8. Make Sure Windows and Wall Cladding are Watertight
While this part of the inspection is may be away from your roof, it is important to check the exterior of your home after a major rainstorm or any extended period of snow or precipitation. You will want to look for areas that show wetness and/or areas that stay moist for too long. You will often see these conditions when you have a clogged gutter or downspout causing water to cascade down your walls.
Likewise, check completely around your windows. Inspect the casings and sills for warping and drying or missing caulking. Faulty caulking on the top of large windows can lead to very expensive water damage repairs.
9. Make Sure Bathroom and Dryer Vents Go Directly to the Outside
One of the most common issues roof inspectors see is fans venting directly into attics, crawlspaces, or spaces in between floors. This is most common in older homes. It is crucial that moisture-laden air from bathrooms and dryers vent out of your home. Venting warm, humid air into attics, crawlspaces, or spaces in between floors can lead to mildew and mold issues.
At least twice a year check your ducts and dryer hoses to make sure they are securely attached and crack-free.
10. Prevent Ice Dams
With winter, snow and cold temperatures bring an increased risk of creating ice dams on your roof. An ice dam occurs when snow melts at the bottom of your roof during the day from the sun, and then freezes at night due to dropping temperatures. The frozen water creates a ridge that prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water then backs up behind the ice dam and can leak through the roof into the home. Repeated ice dams can lead to shingle degradation.
Ice dams are typically a problem to let the roofing professionals handle. Generally, having the proper amount of attic insulation balanced with adequate ventilation can limit the buildup of ice dams.
Proper roof installation in cold climates includes installing an ice and water barrier product. This product adheres to your roof deck and provides a water barrier between your shingles and your roof wood decking.
11. Do Not Discharge Downspout Water onto the Roof
Downspouts should cover the entire span from one level of your home to the next level. You want to make sure that the upper downspout connects to either a lower-level downspout or drains in a gutter with the capacity to handle the additional water. Directly draining onto a roof surface can lead to dislodged granules and unsightly algae stains.
As stated above, shingles are made with a protective granule coating. If this coating gets worn down, shingles are prone to warping and cracking due to increased ultraviolet sun exposure.
Pro Tip: It is recommended that you extend your downspouts at least 6 feet away from the foundation of our home.
12. Hire a Certified Roofing Contractor to Inspect Your Roof
While we highly recommend performing all of the tasks and doing a visual inspection of your roof, you should also bring in a certified roofing inspector for a roof inspection as well. A roof inspector will use infrared cameras and moisture detector equipment to inspect your roof below the surface. Oftentimes, they can detect a roof leak before it turns into a costly water damage repair.
If you have a fairly new roof, you can hire a roof inspector every 2 to 3 years. But, if your roof is old and has had prior leaks, you may want to get it inspected yearly. This tip will cost you a little money, but it will be much cheaper than a major repair and worth it in the end.
By Doing the Proper Maintenance You Will Get the Most Life Out of Your Roof
By performing the roof maintenance checklist listed above, you will extend your roof’s lifespan and get a great return on roof investment. You will be happy you did when you see how long your roof is going to last.
For over a decade, the team at GoTech Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services in Northern Virginia and D.C. metro areas. Whether you need repairs or a roof replacement, you can count on our workmanship to take care of your roofing needs.