Roof Health: How to Avoid the Financial Burden of Unexpected Roof Repairs
Keeping the Lid on Your Home Tight and Healthy Through the Years
Having to replace the roof on your home is a serious affair. Even if you choose to do the work yourself and buy the cheapest materials available, it can still cost thousands of dollars and many hours of grueling, dangerous labor. So, rather than only worrying about your roof when leaks start to show up after years of neglect, take the time to do some regular maintenance.
Even tile, slate, and metal roofs don’t necessarily last forever if they aren’t taken good care of. But, a well-maintained roof should last you between twenty and thirty years, depending on its composition. Here’s a short list of things that you can do to ensure that you’re getting as much longevity out of your roof as you possibly can.
Keep Your Shingles or Tiles in Good Shape
Get up on your roof at least once a year and inspect the quality of your shakes, shingles, tiles, or other roofing materials. Make sure to do this on a warm summer day with little to no wind, and no chance of precipitation. Be safe while you are up there, and if you don’t believe that you can accomplish the inspection safely, then hire a professional to do it for you.
Replace any cracked or broken tiles, shingles, or shakes. Try to color-match any replacement roofing materials that you use, and remember it’s always a good idea to buy extra materials when you replace a roof. Last, be sure to re-anchor any loose roofing materials.
Inspect Your Chimneys, Replace Missing or Cracked Sealant and Damaged Flashing
While you are conducting your yearly roof inspection and maintenance, it is a good idea to take a good look at your chimneys, too. Inspect the chimneys and plumbing vents that emerge from your roof to make sure that they are not blocked or failing in some way.
Take a close look at where each of your chimneys and vents emerges from your roof. Inspect the flashing and sealants used to integrate them into the water flow off your roof, looking for cracks or other damage. Also, inspect the junction point of anything mounted to your roof—cooling units, telecom or television equipment, and any skylights.
Keep Your Gutters Clean and Your Roof Free of Tree Litter
It is a good idea to inspect and clean your gutters at least twice per year: once before the fall season, and once before the spring. Accumulated leaves, tree branches, and other detritus can damage the eaves and overhangs of your roof if water backs up behind them during a strong rain.
Make sure that you remove any downed tree branches from your roof as soon as possible. Do not let serious snow accumulation damage your roof either, especially if it is not pitched to handle such heavy loads. Also, make sure that you do not let moss, ivy or other plant material grow on your roof, as the root systems of such plants can cause irreparable damage.
Get the Maximum Amount of Years From Your Roof
Time and elements will eventually have their way with your roof. But, with a little due diligence and either a little elbow grease or the (comparatively) small expense of hiring a roof maintenance professional, you should be able to get two to three decades out of most roofing materials.
One last thing — never try to save money by roofing over old materials. Doing so decreases the life of the new materials, and increases the cost of eventually replacing the roof. It also increases the weight of your roof and makes it more likely to fail during severe weather events.