Repairing or replacing your roof can be expensive. Spending a few minutes every six months looking closely at your roof can help you identify roof maintenance opportunities that will help prevent costly repairs later. It’s also important to periodically check your homeowners insurance to make sure that serious roof damage is covered by your policy.
When well maintained, a shingle roof can last for up to 30 years, protecting your home, your family and your belongings. If you have a slate or tile roof, it can last a life time. Replacing a roof can be expensive but with regular maintenance and repairs when needed, you’ll be sure to get a long and happy life from your roof.
1 .Inspect your roof on a regular basis. In late fall look for leaves and other debris on the roof and in the gutters and in early spring check for damage caused by ice damming. It’s also a good idea to inspect the roof after any storms with heavy winds.
2. Clean the gutters. Clean the gutters and downspouts in the late fall after the trees have shed their leaves. Check for breaks or gaps in the seams and make certain that the brackets holding the gutters against the house are securely attached.
3. Check the flashing. Flashing is a prime target for leaks simply because it’s covering a hole in the roof. Check the flashing around vents, exhaust pipes and chimneys. Make certain it isn’t bent or punctured and that the sealant isn’t dried out or loose.
4. Remove overhanging tree limbs. Trees that are growing too close to the house can be a hazard to your roof. There’s not only the risk of broken limbs falling on the roof but if they overhang or rest on the shingles, they can abrade the protective stone coating over time.
5. Look for animal damage. Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and birds will all make themselves at home on and under your roof if given the chance. If areas of the roof have been weakened by rot, it will provide an easy access to all sorts of small critters. They will only compound the existing damage, which could mean some pretty expensive repairs.
6. Check for signs of insects. If you live in an area that is prone to termites or carpenter ants you’ll need to keep an eye on the roof for signs of activity. Soft rotten spots, shredded wood or sawdust and insect feces are all signs of an infestation.
7. Walk around the house. By walking around the house from time to time, especially after any significant winds, you can check for pieces of broken shingles on the ground. Dry, brittle shingles can break easily and if you find bits and pieces on the ground it’s important to have a closer look at the roof.
8. Inspect the attic. The underside of the roof is where you’re most likely to spot leaks before they become too serious. Look in unfinished areas of the attic for streaks or staining. Look for signs where water may have trickled in around the chimney and vents. Also look for soft spots in the wood as well as indications of animals or insects.
9. Avoid walking on the roof. You can easily damage a roof by walking on it. No matter what material your roof is made of, it can be fragile. Asphalt shingles, slate or clay tiles can all crack or come loose from being stepped on.
10. Schedule a professional inspection. Make friends with your local roofer and set up a schedule for yearly inspections. It probably won’t cost too much since the roofer will appreciate the repeat business and they know if your roof ever does need work, they’ll most likely get the job.
Out of sight, out of mind is often a term we can apply to the roof of our home. After all we don’t really look at it that much. The roof isn’t like a well landscaped lawn or perfectly decorated interior that becomes our pride and joy. But our roof works for us day in and day out, protecting us and our belongings from the elements, so it’s important that we take the time to give the roof the attention it deserves.