Depending on the roofing materials, a new roof should last about 20-50 years. You may not need to worry about a replacement for over 50 years if you have a copper, slate, or tile roof.
If you’re tempted to sit back and wait for 20 years before paying attention to your roof, don’t do it. Longevity depends on several factors, including roofing maintenance.
Protect your investment. It’s easy if you follow our seven roofing tips designed to help homeowners maximize their roof’s lifespan.
1) Keep an Eye on Your Shingles
Shingles are the first line of defense for a roof. They’re also the most visible part of a roof and hold the most obvious clues that a roof may need repair or replacement.
Roof shingles are tough out of necessity. They bear the brunt of direct sunlight beating on them for several hours a day. Shingles hold up under other extreme weather conditions, including hail storms.
Tough doesn’t mean invincible.
Checking up on your shingles frequently—especially after a heavy storm or high winds—is vital if you want to protect your investment. You won’t need to climb a ladder to inspect your shingles. A good pair of binoculars will help you get a close-up without risking your safety.
Here’s what you should look for when inspecting shingles:
- Curling, a.k.a., cupping
- Curled and cracked shingles
You should also note shingles with missing granules. While granule shedding is normal, if you notice shingles are losing more granules than usual, you’ll need to inspect further to find out why.
When you find signs of shingle damage, it’s time to contact a roofing company. The problem won’t disappear, and ignoring it could result in costly roof repairs.
2) Be on the Lookout for Leaks
You may have roof damage if you notice water stains on the ceiling or in the attic. Leaks can be sneaky, so the fact that you haven’t seen water stains doesn’t mean you don’t have a leaky roof.
Musty odors often indicate a leak. Water pots on the exterior of your home can also be a clue.
Sometimes homeowners see an old water stain and think there’s no problem. After all, if it’s not damp or dripping, what’s the problem?
You’ll want to contact a roofing company to repair the roof as soon as possible so that you avoid structural damage.
3) Keep the Roof Clean
Your beautiful, brand-new roof will start to look dingy. You might even notice dark streaks on the shingles. Those streaks come from algae growing on the roof.
Discovering algae growth isn’t a cause for panic. However, if you don’t remove it, algae can gradually rot the shingles over time.
Cleaning the roof should be part of your roof care routine. You don’t need fancy equipment—a garden hose will do—or expensive cleaning solutions.
You’ve likely seen neighbors using a pressure washer to clean the roof. Unless you have experience using a pressure washer and know precisely how to use it without damaging shingles, it’s best to use the gentler stream from the hose.
4) Clear the Gutters
Gutter cleaning is no one’s idea of a fun weekend activity, but it’s an essential part of roof maintenance.
Clogged gutters lead to all sorts of problems.
When they’re clear, the gutters collect water from storms, and snow melt as it runs down the roof. From the gutters, water flows through downspouts, where it’s directed away from the home’s foundation.
If your gutters are full of leaves and debris, the water backs up and either pools on the roof or seeps underneath.
When water seeps into the roof’s structure, it causes wood to rot. At that point, you’re looking at significant roof damage and an expensive repair.
5) Replace Caulk When Needed
Another essential thing to put on your roofing maintenance checklist is checking caulk. The final step in a roof installation project is attaching flashing around vent pipes and chimneys. This prevents water from leaking into your home.
Roofers use caulk to seal around the flashing. Once a year, you’ll want to inspect the caulk. Let your roofing company check the caulk for you if you can’t visualize it from the ground or use a ladder safely.
You may notice caulk lifting around the flashing. You might find it missing entirely, leaving gaps where water can seep around the chimney or vent pipe.
The fix isn’t complicated if you’re handy and can work safely. Scrape away the old caulk. Fill the gap with a bead of fresh caulk.
Roofing contractors work with these materials every day. Why not call and let the pros handle re-caulking to protect your safety?
6) Low Hanging Tree Branches and Your Roof
Surrounding a house with trees provides shade, privacy, and curb appeal. When planted too close to your home, trees can cause many problems.
If you have tree branches hanging over your roof, you’ll need to keep them trimmed back away from the house. At a minimum, any branches that hang over the house need to be high enough so that air can pass between them and the roof.
Air prevents excessive moisture on the roof, leading to roof damage. Low-hanging trees that scrape against the roof can also damage shingles.
Most repairs caused by tree branches are the responsibility of the homeowner. Insurance may cover damage if a tree falls on the roof during a storm, but not damage caused by low-hanging branches.
7) Schedule Regular Roof Inspections
Perhaps the most critical component of roof maintenance is professional roof inspections. Even though you’ll pick up on things like damaged shingles, worn-out caulk, and other potential problems, a roofing contractor can spot things you might have missed.
After the inspection, the contractor will go over any issues with you. They can also give you a rough idea of how long the roof should last before you consider replacing it.
As part of the inspection, contractors will share roofing tips to make maintaining your roof easier.
Most roofing companies advise homeowners to schedule inspections every two years. An annual inspection will increase the chance of noticing issues before they become costly problems.
Need More Roofing Tips?
With close attention paid to maintaining your roof, it’s possible to get 20-30 years out of a new roof installation. You might even be able to extend the roof’s lifespan by a few years.
We hope our roofing tips will help you protect your investment. If you have questions or want more ideas on roof care, contact the experts at Point Roofing and Restoration.
We’ve serviced roofs in the Boise area for over ten years. Whether you need a roof repair or a roof replacement, we’ve got you covered. Reach out today for a free quote.