Monthly Maintenance Reminder - Roofs

Monthly Maintenance Reminder - Roofs

Roofing
Appraisal and Home Inspection
By Contractors.com Team June 08, 2021

It’s safe to say that the roof is a very important part of any home. Indeed, a home minus a roof isn’t really a home at all. The roof is crucial for keeping out nasty weather, shielding us from the hot sun, keeping us cool during the summer months and warm during the winter; basically for keeping us comfortable and safe. 

Regular maintenance of your roof is a central part of good home maintenance. By performing a bunch of little maintenance tasks regularly you can avoid potentially bigger problems down the line. Those big problems can be quite expensive, but conscientious preventative maintenance can ensure that you avoid any drama and keep your roof in good condition for the decades to come. 

But to maintain a roof well, there are some things that you need to know about the basics of roof maintenance first. Even if you choose to have a roofing contractor work on your roof, there are a few things you can do to keep track of your roof’s condition and catch problems before they become bigger ones. Of course, a lot of these upkeep chores can also be DIY, so long as you’re ok with being on ladders and working at heights. 

Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Roof Maintained

Moisture Isn’t Your Friend

Things to Watch Out For When It Comes To Your Roof

Things to Watch Out For When It Comes To Your Roof

To understand the basics of roof maintenance, there’s one thing you must know: moisture is your main concern. Moisture is a root cause of many of the potential roof problems a homeowner can have and is one of its biggest threats. For this reason, keeping your roof as moisture-free as possible is crucial. Your roof will always be exposed to some level of moisture, but there are plenty of ways to minimize it. 

You should check your roof regularly for any excess moisture, as this is usually the first warning sign of a bigger problem. For example, stagnant water on your roof is one such warning sign. If you have stagnant water that repeatedly pools in one place after a rainstorm, this could be indicative of sagging or weather damage that has made the roof uneven. In any event, you’ll want to clear the pooled water as soon as possible because it can weaken your roof’s structure and eventually start leaking into your home. A roof leak can cost between $400 and $1000 on average, but an expensive leak could cost even more at $8,000.   

Keep Gutters Clear

The other big part of defending your roof from moisture is cleaning your gutters at least twice a year. Your gutters are designed to prevent water from pooling on your roof, but they tend to get clogged with foliage, mold, and muck which can cause them to back up and accumulate water anyways. If a gutter gets clogged it can even cause water to wash up onto other parts of the roof instead of washing away as it’s supposed to. This accumulated weight will damage your gutters and roof. If this situation persists for too long you could find yourself facing some expensive roof repair bills. 

Roof Maintenance 101

Roof Maintenance 101

With necessary precautions, and if you are so inclined, you can clean your gutters yourself. However, you might find that some gutters are more severely clogged than you thought, at which point it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. A roofing contractor company will be more than happy to clean your gutters, and they’ll usually charge between $150 and $225. If you live in a bigger city or if your roof needs a lot of cleaning work, you could be charged up to $450 for this luxury.   

What About Gutter Guards? 

The gutter guards you see on TV all the time may seem like the ideal solution to these challenges. Not only will they keep out the debris that clogs your gutters, but they also make your gutters almost maintenance-free. What’s not to love? 

Do Gutter Guards Really Work

Do Gutter Guards Really Work

Unfortunately, gutter guards aren’t that good a solution for the simple reason that they’re added weight that your gutter has to support. Water is already heavy enough without adding some huge plastic slabs on top of it. In most applications, gutter guards simply aren’t what they’re cracked up to be and can lead to long-term damage to your roof and gutters. They won’t keep out all debris as leaves can still get into your gutters and you can still get clogs. Over time, your gutters can warp from all this added weight and can even break, causing big problems down the road. To make matters worse, gutter guards are complicated to take off and can hide blockages, making gutter maintenance more difficult. 

Check Your Flashings

Your flashings are another potential point of entry for the wet stuff to get in through. This refers to the metal strips that run along roof edges and joints. Typically these will also line the holes where things such as vents, exhaust pipes, and chimneys come through the roof. They are an important part of your roof as far as waterproofing goes because they cover gaps that the shingles can’t. So be sure to check that your flashings are in good shape. 

Checklist for Roof Maintenance

Checklist for Roof Maintenance

As time passes, flashings rust, crack, lift, and come apart due to weather and wear. One way to mitigate this problem is to caulk any areas where there are gaps in the flashing. To replace the flashings you’ll be looking at a $300 to $600 bill from a roofing contractor. But since flashings last at least 15 years, it’s unlikely that total replacement will be necessary. Repairing flashing usually costs around $20 per linear foot, which isn’t prohibitive since you may only need to do some small repairs. 

Check and Clean Shingles

Time will do a number on your shingles as well, and if you aren’t checking them at least once a year that can lead to problems. Shingles can become damaged as they endure inclement weather, moisture, ultraviolet radiation, and tree debris. With time they can begin to crack and separate from the roof, reducing the waterproofing of your roof and causing an entryway for water leaks. As with flashings, roof shingles are meant to last a long time.  

Why You Should Check and Clean Your Shingles

Why You Should Check and Clean Your Shingles

If you have a metal roof, you can confidently expect it to last half a century with few issues. Even weaker materials such as asphalt, cement, and wood can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. That’s good news especially when you consider that replacing your roofing could run up to $10,000 in cost when all is said and done. Assuming you keep your gutters clear and remove pooled water, you’ll probably only have to deal with annual maintenance costs of around $700. This is also what a roofing contractor charges on average for routine roof inspection and shingle replacement. 

A Routine Roof Inspection Can Help Avoid Expenses Down the Road

A Routine Roof Inspection Can Help Avoid Expenses Down the Road

If your home was made before the 1980s, you’ll need to be wary of the fact that your roof shingles may contain asbestos. If you suspect that your decaying shingles are made of asbestos, do not work on your roof yourself and call an asbestos mitigation specialist as soon as possible. 

Things That Can Grow On Your Roof

Things That Can Grow On Your Roof

Don’t Let Moss Run Amok

Moss loves to grow on roofs because there’s plenty of moisture and warmth for them to thrive. The fact that many shingle materials are porous doesn’t hurt either. To those trying to make their home more green, moss might seem like a nice earthy texture to add to a bland roof. And sure, a little bit of moss probably isn’t going to cause any major issues any time soon. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on moss growth, because it can quickly grow out of hand.

As moss proliferates, it will begin to push shingles apart as it grows between them. As moss pushes shingles out, this will expose your roof to leaks and wood rot in no time. The danger of loose shingles is also very real since these can be kicked up in inclement weather and sent flying in random directions. If moss starts to build up, it needs to be scrubbed off before it can cause damage. For an average-sized roof, moss cleaning will cost around $1,200.

Moss Can Grow On Your Roof and Cause Problems

Moss Can Grow On Your Roof and Cause Problems

It is also recommended that you sprinkle your roof with zinc sulfate on a seasonal basis, especially if you live in a rainier part of the country. This will discourage moss from growing in the first place and costs around 10 cents per square foot if you hire a contractor to apply it. 

Watch Out For Ice Dams

This is another moisture-related problem, but it usually rears its head during the snowier parts of the year. When snow accumulates on a roof, the heat of the roof can start melting it and turning it into meltwater. Once some of this water touches a colder part of the roof, some droplets will freeze again, causing a dam that traps the meltwater on a part of your roof. Over time this meltwater will start to seep through the roof, weakening the structure, staining ceilings, and causing the paint to peel. The key to avoiding these problems is to have good insulation, so be sure to have your roof insulation checked. 

Good insulation will keep your roof cool, thereby preventing ice dams from forming. Insulation will also prevent heat from leaking out, which can give you big savings in energy costs. When summer rolls around, that same insulation will help keep your roof from getting too hot and save your HVAC system from straining itself too much. If your home was built before 1980, an asbestos-containing material known as vermiculite may have been used for insulation. As this material decays, it will fall apart into telltale brown pebbles. If you see this or suspect that your insulation contains asbestos, avoid entering your attic if at all possible and call a mitigation specialist. 

Wintertime Roof Maintenance

Wintertime Roof Maintenance

Trim Branches

Tree branches and foliage can clog up your gutters, and make shingles deteriorate faster. While a shade tree can increase your home’s value and give your central air conditioner a rest, you will need to have a shade tree checked annually.  As trees age, they will eventually start dropping branches, especially if they are very tall pines or maples. Regular checkups from an arborist cost around $350 per tree, and are typically all that is needed to keep a shade tree healthy. A tree specialist can spot a sagging branch before it falls. To prevent damage to your home, these branches will need to be cut, and this “tree surgery” can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500. Since roof damage can be far more expensive, this is a worthwhile investment.

Be Mindful of Heavy Tree Branches Over Your Roof

Be Mindful of Heavy Tree Branches Over Your Roof

 

CT

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team

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