There is no denying a new roof is one of the most important components of your home, however, it can also be one of the most expensive. The reality is if your roof is not working at its peak, the rest of your home will suffer too. The good news is a roof in most cases is a one-off purchase. If you choose the right home improvement contractor for the job, the right material and if you care for your roof properly, it should last you a very long time. The purpose of this article is to provide helpful tips for homeowners to ensure your roof stays in excellent shape for years to come. We must mention that some of the below tips require getting up on the roof, which we do not recommend if you are not comfortable doing so, or it is not safe to do so. We do recommend calling a professional if you need help.
1. Periodically Inspect Your Roof
Inspect the seals around your skylight every six months or so. Often debris can get stuck or wedged around the edges and wear down the seal. If your seal is worn-out, you can try to reapply sealant to prevent leaks. The most important thing to do is not let water penetrate a worn seal, as any moisture can cause significant damage to your roof and/or the interior of your home.
Check the flashing around your chimney and vents, as these areas of your roof are the most susceptible to leaking. As with the skylight area, properly sealing your chimney and vents will prevent any moisture from getting into your roof and causing damage.
Check the shingles, shakes or metal decking to make sure they are not cracking or lifting. If you notice any damage to your roof, it is best to get these areas repaired by a professional to avoid any additional damage to the exterior or even the interior of your home.
2. Clean Your Roof
Periodically clean your gutters of debris, leaves and sticks, as this will prevent any blockage to water being able to effectively drain from your roof. If your gutters become full or clogged, rain water will spill over the top of the gutter and onto lower areas of the roof. The roof below is not built to handle increased water flow and may eventually develop leaks and extensive damage over time. We recommend cleaning gutters every new season.
Algae and Fungus
Homeowners in Maryland and Virginia need to be cautious of potential algae and fungus growth on roofs. Clean your roof from any bacteria growth (you can purchase a commercial cleaner or use a bleach solution,) as this will ensure no damage is created and that your roof will not prematurely age. It will also prevent any unsightly black streaking which can be caused by algae and fungus overgrowth.
3. Remove Any Pools of Water, Snow or Tree Branches
While this might sound obvious, it is an important one to remember as removing water from your roof will keep it intact for years to come. Pay particular attention to any moisture pooling on the roof and eliminate the cause of the puddle. Standing water is one of the surest and fastest ways to shorten the life of your roof.
If your roof is hit with excess snow during winter, it is important to remove it as soon as you can. This will help prevent your roof from buckling under the increased weight and will keep the material in good shape by preventing long-term moisture exposure when the snow begins to melt.
Tree branches that grow over your roof need to be removed for two reasons. Firstly, removing them will stop them breaking off and damaging your roof in the short term. Secondly, removing them will allow your roof to dry completely. Because tree branches cause shade and trap moisture, the roofing under these areas will wear far faster than a roof that has room to breathe and completely dry.