A residential roof is a significant investment, so you want to get as many years out of it as possible. In fact, a properly maintained roof can last far beyond its expected life span. On the other hand, if you neglect your roof, expect higher repair expenses, higher energy costs, and a much shorter lifespan. To ensure your roof stays in tip-top condition, consider the following tips.
1. Choose the Right Material for Your Roof
The first step in ensuring your roof lasts as long as possible is choosing the right material during installation. The best material for your roof will depend on many factors such as your geographic location, preferred style, budget, and desired longevity. Some of the most common types of roofing materials are asphalt shingles and metal roofs.
Asphalt shingle roofs come in a variety of styles and colors and can match nearly any home style. These roofs are typically the least expensive option and, while they can be quite durable, they fall short on longevity compared to other alternatives. Asphalt shingles typically need to be replaced after 15 to 30 years. However, the length of time an asphalt shingle roof will last depends on the quality of the shingles, quality of installation, proper maintenance, and weather conditions.
If you are seeking a longer-term option than asphalt shingles, metal roofs are extremely durable – often lasting 50 years or more. Metal roofs are typically more expensive than asphalt shingles, but their resilience, resistance to wind, and energy efficiency can help offset the additional upfront cost.
2. Properly Maintain Your Roof to Maximize Its Life
The better you maintain your roof, the longer it should last. Proper roof maintenance keeps your roof functioning as intended and prevents damage from standing water and debris. Keeping your roof in great shape means staying on top of the following tasks:
Clean Your Gutters Regularly
Proper gutter maintenance can prevent clogs and keep water draining properly. Clogged gutters can lead to standing water on your roof which sinks into the wood underneath and at the edge of your siding – promoting wood rot and mold. If left unrepaired, this damage could worsen until replacing your roof and the damaged wood is the only option.
Cleaning gutters on your own can be time-consuming and dangerous. In fact, half a million people are injured each year in ladder related falls and many of these occur when homeowners try to climb onto their roof. That’s why many homeowners rely on a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing company to clean their gutters.
Trim Tree Branches That Can Damage Your Roof
Overgrown tree limbs that extend over your roof can scratch, dent, and move shingles – exposing gaps for water to penetrate. Additionally, branches near your roof, even those that are not directly on top of it, can fall and cause damage during a storm.
Tree damage to your roof can be costly to fix and, if left unrepaired, can lead to further damage – leaving replacement as your only option. To prevent this outcome, trim overgrown and low hanging branches regularly and pay close attention to limbs prior to storm season. Like with gutter cleaning, tree maintenance is best left to the professionals. If you notice overgrown limbs, contact a local arborist or tree service to trim them.
Clean Leaves, Algae, and Debris from Your Roof
Cleaning your roof is another way to extend its lifespan. You can buy or make a mixture and spray your roof to remove algae and moss before it causes the roof to deteriorate. You also need to clear any piles of leaves, stones, or branches that have accumulated whenever you notice them, particularly after a storm.
As you are cleaning, avoid power washing asphalt shingles. A concentrated spray of water, like that of a pressure washer, can loosen the granules of the product’s top coating. Instead, use a broom, leaf blower, or standard garden hose. The good news is that you don’t need to perform this maintenance yourself. Many roofing companies and professional cleaning services will clean your roof for you. Just be sure to pick one that is licensed, bonded, and insured.
3. Have Your Roof Inspected Regularly and Repair Any Damage
Roofs can sustain damage that is not visible to the naked eye – particularly in coastal areas prone to strong storms. That’s why a professional roofer should inspect your roof annually and repair any damage as it occurs.
Have a Professional Inspect Your Roof Annually and After a Storm
Roof inspections are a must, at least once a year. Professionals can check for any cracked, dented, or missing shingles that may not be visible from the ground. Many roofers offer these inspections at no cost.
In addition to an annual inspection, have your roof inspected after a storm, even if you haven’t noticed leaks. High winds, heavy rain, and flying debris can all shift and damage shingles. Storm damage may not lead immediately to leaks, or they may not be immediately noticeable, but it can worsen over time and lead to expensive repairs or complete replacement.
Complete Repairs Promptly
If your annual or post-storm inspection reveals issues, have the damage repaired as quickly as possible. Severe weather and natural aging can worsen existing roofing issues like missing or cracked shingles. When weather damage is compounded over several seasons – or a severe storm hits an already weakened roof – the damage could become irreparable. On the other hand, if you keep up with repairs as damage occurs, you can prevent long-term damage and extend the longevity of your roof.
4. Maintain a Relationship with a Professional Roofing Company
The best thing you can do to keep your roof in good condition is find a roofing company that you trust. Consider these tips for finding the best roofer near you. If you have a relationship with a roofing company, you can have your roof inspected regularly, repair any damage as it occurs, and have a reliable source to repair your roof quickly after a storm. Some roofers will even clean your gutters and help with ongoing maintenance.
Your home’s roof is an investment. So, it makes sense to do everything in your power to preserve it. With a durable material, proper maintenance, and regular inspections, you can rest assured that you are doing all you can to extend your roof’s useful life.