Many homeowners are diligent about maintaining their houses. They get fertilizer down on the lawn in the spring and the fall. Any scuff marks on interior walls are quickly painted over. Leaky faucets don’t stay leaky for long. Smoke detectors are checked twice a year. They handle minor repairs themselves.
You may know homeowners like this; you may even be this homeowner, and we commend you if you are. However, one area that is often overlooked even with the most diligent homeowners is roofing maintenance. You know the concept of “out of sight, out of mind”? That certainly applies to your roof—homeowners often just take it for granted. You might not be able to do much without calling in an expert (more on that later), but here are some basic roofing maintenance tips every homeowner should know:
Start a Roof File
This suggestion might not be roofing maintenance per se, but starting and keeping a roof file can help you stay on top of whatever work has been (or needs to be) performed. Include every invoice from every repair in this file, as well as any estimates for future work. Add any warranty info into the file so that you know exactly what is covered. Also, any time you take a look at your roof (which we’ll discuss next), take some basic notes and add them to the file. Good documentation will save you headaches and money if something on your roof must be fixed.
Take a Look Up High
First, a word of caution: Be careful whenever you climb a ladder to look at your roof. If you can enlist someone to help, even to just hold the ladder, you will increase the safety of the task. Getting an up-high look at your roof offers a comprehensive view you wouldn’t otherwise get from the ground. Identifying missing shingles, debris, cracked flashings, and other problems is much easier at eye level. That said, we don’t recommend you actually walk on your roof unless absolutely necessary. Shingles can be damaged if you’re not careful—and you can be damaged if you’re not careful.
Gutter maintenance is also roofing maintenance. Clogged gutters can indirectly damage your roof. Water that overflows from these clogs can leak into your house over time. And don’t even get us started about ice dams. Clean out your gutters periodically (at least once a year) to avoid problems down the line.
Trees offer shade for your house, but branches can grow down onto the roof and potentially damage shingles. No shade is worth an expensive roof repair, so prune the house-side branches of your tree if they seem to be too close to or on top of your home.
Moss and Fungus
You may worry about wind and hail damaging your roof, but moss and fungus, as well as algae and lichen, can be just as damaging. Excessive moss, for example, retains moisture—bad in the summer, but terrible in the winter when the moisture freezes and can damage shingles. Cleaning the green stuff off your roof must be done with care; a power wash can damage your shingles. Commercial products are available to spray off moss, and if the growth is excessive, consider hiring professionals for the job.
Perhaps the best roofing maintenance step you can take is hiring a professional to inspect the top of your house. Experts are going to see problems on your roof that your amateur eye might not recognize. An inspection every couple of years can go a long way to extending the life of your roof.
Seek Expert Help for Repairs
If you need a repair, whether to replace a few missing shingles or for something more advanced, consider hiring a professional roofer rather than trying to DIY the job. Roofing maintenance is not only being diligent about fixing problems atop your house, but also recognizing that experts will fix those problems better than you can. The expense is well worth it if you are thereby avoiding more costly repairs down the line.
How diligent are you with roofing maintenance?