The roof plays a key role in the functionality of a home. No matter the type of roof your home has, there are steps you can take to ensure it exhausts its service life. Regular roof maintenance and inspections will help you avoid costly repairs due to water leaks and premature replacement. Here’s a proper home maintenance checklist for your roof.
1. Regularly Inspect Your Roof
Once every three months, set aside some time to inspect your roof for wear and tear. Contact a reputable roofing service immediately if you notice missing or damaged shingles, loose nails, or gaps in the flashing. Opt for local roofers as they’re familiar with the unique roofing needs for homes in your region.
While you can conduct a roof home inspection, scheduling an annual professional inspection is always a good idea. It’s easy for the untrained eye to miss certain signs of damage that a seasoned expert can spot immediately. Professionals have years of experience and the equipment needed for proper home roof inspections.
2. Clean and Maintain Gutters
Gutters safeguard your roof by channeling debris and water away from the property. Keep them free of sticks, leaves, and other debris as part of proper home roof maintenance to ensure they function properly. If no trees are near your property, have a gutter cleaning company clean your gutters twice annually to maintain optimum water flow, and ask them if they’d recommend erosion control. If trees are on or near your property, or you live in an area prone to hurricanes, maintaining a quarterly cleaning schedule will keep this important home component in optimal working order.
3. Remove Moss and Mold
Mold spores, moss, and algae can easily spread from one roof to another. While algae typically don’t cause damage to asphalt roofing, mold, and moss can be harmful. If you notice these substances on your roof, it likely has water damage, as they thrive in moist areas.
Moss can cause asphalt shingles to curl, increasing the risk of losing them in inclement weather and moisture penetrating other layers and components of the roofing system. Mold can cause the structure of your roof to decay, resulting in severe, expensive damage. As part of proper home roof maintenance, get rid of mold and moss as soon as you spot it to protect your investment.
Try spraying a solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water on any mossy, moldy parts of your roof, letting it set for 15 to 30 minutes. Power wash the solution off to prevent further reaction. Direct the runoff appropriately to protect the landscaping on the ground below.
4. Trim Back Trees and Landscaping
While tree branches near your home may look great in pictures, they can result in some unpleasant issues. If the branches and limbs come loose during a storm, they can cause immediate roof damage and provide easy access for all pests and critters. One of the best proper home roof maintenance tips is to prune branches.
Trim down tree limbs a few feet when they get too close to your home to prevent potentially damaging issues during sudden bad weather. Also, ensure shrubs and other landscaping elements leave enough space for your gutters. Doing this will ensure water drains from the structure, preventing foundation damage.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Debris
Don’t let debris accumulate on your roof as part of proper home roof maintenance. When leaves, branches, and other debris accumulate on your roof, they invite moisture, moss, and mold, causing your roof to age prematurely. Other than junk disposal, there are certain things to remember when clearing debris.
First, never attempt to complete this task alone. Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to be your spotter when clearing roof debris. Use an extendable ladder to get to the top of your roof safely.
Professionals recommend clearing debris on sunny days when the roof is dry. Doing this will help improve visibility and prevent slips. While you’re up on the roof clearing debris, use the opportunity to inspect for obvious signs of damage. If you feel unwell or are scared of heights, you can hire local roofers for seasonal cleaning and maintenance.
6. Make Sure Your Attic Is Well Insulated
Without adequate insulation, ice and snow on your roof will begin melting at the lowest layer, causing the water to freeze again around the shingles. If you have an ice dam that prevents proper water drainage from the gutters, the melting process can cause significant damage to the roof’s shingles and structure. The insulation in your attic protects your roof against this damage by preventing heat from escaping the home through the roof. Ensure your attic has high-quality insulation like R-60 and R-49 for proper home roof maintenance.
7. Understand How Sun Exposure Affects Your Roof
Sunlight can negatively impact your roof’s condition over time. In areas with excessive sunlight, UV rays constantly strike roofing materials, heating and evaporating their protective oils. Algae, moss, and lichen growth are far more likely in areas with limited sun exposure. Understanding how sunlight, or lack thereof, impacts the condition of your roof will help you mitigate these effects.
8. Remove Snow From Your Roof
Playing in the snow might be fun, but having a lot of snow on your roof can create an unpleasant living situation. If you have an old roof, excess amounts of snow sitting on your roof can cause it to collapse. Use a snow rake to scrape away the snow you can easily reach as part of proper home roof maintenance. By doing this, you can reduce the risk of your roof collapsing by relieving the weight of the snow.
9. Check for Leaks in the Ceiling and Attic
While a visual assessment of your roof’s exterior will reveal a lot about its condition, spotting leaks or infiltrations from outside can be difficult. When performing your routine home roof maintenance, take some extra time to examine your ceilings, especially in the attic. Look for the presence of moisture and signs of water damage. If you do spot water damage, get a qualified roofer to inspect and fix the problem, so the damage doesn’t extend further.
10. Replace Damaged Roofing Materials
Taking prompt action when you notice roof damage is key to preventing extensive roof leak repair. For instance, if you notice worn-out roof cladding or damaged roof metal decking, get them professionally replaced immediately. Failing to address them for too long will result in time-consuming and costly repairs or a total roof replacement.
By replacing damaged components promptly, you reduce the likelihood that your roof will ever need a replacement before exhausting its useful life. You’ll also be less likely to experience leaks, regardless of how rainy it gets in your region.
11. Clean Your Roof
Your roof experiences a lot of wear and tear as its constantly exposed to the elements. Snow and ice accumulate on it during winter, rain pelts it during springtime, and the sun beats it down in the summer. No wonder roof cleaning is an important proper home roof maintenance task. You may not have previously considered cleaning your roof, but it can be a DIY project.
Roof cleaning isn’t a project to undertake on the fly. Choose a day based on the weather. While it may seem odd, a sunny day isn’t ideal, as your cleaning solution will dry too quickly. The best weather for roof cleaning is a cloudy day with no wind.
Before starting the project, you must take appropriate safety measures. Wear shoes that aren’t slippery to prevent falls. If your roof features a slop, protect yourself further by using a safety rope to tie yourself to the chimney. Use safety goggles to prevent debris from getting in your eyes and thick gloves to prevent getting cleaning supplies on your hands.
Use a leaf blower or broom to remove debris from your roof before you begin cleaning. Cover shrubs to prevent falling debris from damaging them. For moss or algae, spray off using a garden hose. If that doesn’t work, use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the stubborn spots.
A soap and water solution won’t be sufficient for the job. However, you also want to avoid harsh chemicals that can compromise your home’s roofing materials, gutters, and landscaping. Opt for sodium hydroxide or sodium hypochlorite products instead.
But first, determine which cleaners suit your roof type. Once you find the appropriate cleaning materials, mix and dilute them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before putting them in a garden sprayer. Saturate the roof with the cleaning solution until there’s runoff. Respray areas that dry up before you cover the entire surface.
Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off using your garden hose. Make sure no cleaner is left behind. Doing so may result in discoloration and other forms of damage.
12. Chase Out Animals Living in Your Roof
Rats, squirrels, and birds are the chief culprits in this case. They like finding openings in the roof and building homes there. When you notice movement in your roof, chase them out immediately. Their movement is unsettling, and they can cause significant damage by gnawing on roof parts.
13. Patch Up Your Flashing
Flashing is the covering found around any area with a gap in the roof or a clear split, such as the chimneys and skylights. Loose flashing can result in leaks and other serious roofing problems. To fix broken flashing, fill the joints surrounding it using roof cement.
Over time, chimneys experience foundational shifts and weather damage. The best action is to routinely inspect your chimney for any missing mortar, loose bricks, or cracks. Such damage can cause bricks to start falling out onto your roof, causing serious damage. If your chimney is leaning or sloping, it’s an early sign of foundational instability in the home and requires professional attention.
14. Hire a Local Roofing Contractor
You have much to consider when shopping for a roofing contractor. You have to sort through the finer details of material options, estimates, warranties, and references. While at it, don’t overlook one of the most important aspects, choosing between a local and national contractor. There are several benefits to working with a local roofing contractor.
First, you’ll get more hands-on service at each stage. You won’t need to deal with a group of reps; you’ll have only one person as your point of contact for all your inquiries and concerns. A local contractor is also more likely to have a local office or showroom where you can view different material samples. You can also look at current local jobs, so you don’t only have to rely on reviews.
Local contractors can also get to your home faster than national franchises. Since they depend on local businesses, timely service is vital to maintaining a solid local presence. In an emergency such as a storm, a local roofing service will deliver prompt repairs and stormwater management to minimize damage.
A local roofer is also familiar with the codes that apply to your area. This way, you won’t have to worry about compliance issues during inspections. A local contractor also knows how to take advantage of rebate programs and tax incentives for energy efficiency to save you money on roofing products. They’re familiar with the best roofing materials for your region.
If you’re the type of customer who cares about the environmental impact of the businesses whose services you employ, consider hiring local. Their supply chain sources materials locally, promoting local vendors and lowering carbon footprint. When you factor in the cost of transporting materials from out-of-state warehouses, you’ll leave a larger carbon footprint by choosing an out-of-state service provider.
By keeping up with these maintenance tasks, you can ensure it’s in optimal condition to safeguard your home for years. An annual maintenance service from a professional will ultimately save you money and hassle by preventing more severe damage. Use this as your guide for a proper home maintenance checklist for your roof.