Roofing Basics: Everything You Need to Know About Roof Maintenance and Repairs

Roofing Basics: Everything You Need to Know About Roof Maintenance and Repairs

It’s something none of us like to take for granted – the roof over our heads. But when it comes to home maintenance, it’s a chore that’s easy to overlook.

Yet, our roofs are one of the most vulnerable parts of our home’s exterior. When it’s constantly exposed to rain, UV rays, storms, and snow, it can take a beating.

Don’t let neglect threaten your biggest investment. Roof maintenance is actually easier than you think, all you need to know is some roofing basics.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about roof maintenance and repairs.

Do Regular Inspections

Doing regular inspections of your roof doesn’t require as much work as it might sound. You don’t even have to get out the ladder!

Twice a year grab your binoculars and walk around the house, doing a thorough inspection from the ground. It’s also a good idea to take a look after a heavy storm or high winds.

Things to watch out for include cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Look at the flashing to make sure it’s not peeling. And notice if there are more granules on the ground than usual.

Also, pay close attention to the color of the shingles. Dark areas could mean trapped moisture.

Keep Your Roof Clean

It’s one of the biggest roofing basics – keep your roof clean from dirt and debris. A clean roof not only looks nice, it prolongs the life of your roofing material.

That’s because debris such as branches and leaves provide a moist environment for moss or algae to grow. That type of growth is damaging, causing rot and the breakdown of your roof.

Removing debris is easy enough to do on your own. But if your roof requires a good power wash, it’s better to call in a professional. You don’t want to take the chance of damaging your shingles during the wash process, which could cause more trouble down the road.

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Make Repairs Right Away

If you do find damage during an inspection, make that roof repair right away. Leaving it sit for too long will cause more damage to develop, which ends up costing more work and money to fix.

For the DIY repairs, always make sure to use a solid, sturdy ladder with rubber safety feet. Also, wear no-slip rubber-soled shoes yourself to keep good traction on the steep roof surface.

If the job is too big for you to handle, call in the experts. Get referrals from friends or family. And always make sure they have the proper license and insurance.

Proper Ventilation and Insulation

To keep your roof in good condition, it needs to properly breathe from underneath. That means ventilation with good airflow is essential.

Without ventilation, heat (which causes condensation) will build up underneath your roof’s sheathing and rafters. This causes those materials to rot, making your roof loses its effectiveness.

Good insulation plays a key role in this as well. Insulation on your attic floor keeps heat from escaping your house and building underneath your roof.

That’s why attic vents and insulation work together to keep your roof in good working order. Check vents to make sure they’re not blocked, and make sure your attic has plenty of fresh airflow.

Clean out the Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters might not seem like roof maintenance, but it actually is. Clogged gutters create a drainage issue that will send water or ice up under your roof and into your house.

To keep your gutter drainage flowing freely, clean them out at least twice a year, especially during the fall season. If you need extra help, there are gutter screens you can install that allow water to flow in but keeps debris out.

The gutter is another place to look for excessive granule collection. While it’s normal to have a few shingle granules show up in your gutters, finding a lot of it indicates your roof might be coming to the end of its lifespan.

Watch for Leaks

Preventing leaks is another item of roofing basics, but catching them before they create too much damage is key to good preventative maintenance.

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While you’re in the attic to check on ventilation, take a flashlight with you and inspect the sheathing. Look for signs of water damage or areas where sunlight is coming through. You can bet if the light is getting into your attic, so is water.

If water is showing up on the walls or ceiling of your house, first make sure it’s not a plumbing leak. When you rule that out, it’s another sign to get up into your attic and look at your roof.

Tracking down a leak can be difficult, especially if it’s a small one. If you know water is getting into the house but you can’t find out where, call in a professional for help.

Trim Trees Back

Trees around your house are great for shade, but they can easily cause roof damage if too close. Branches constantly scraping against shingles will cause them to wear out before their time. And a heavy branch falling on top of your house during a storm is major damage.

Walk around your house to see if your trees are too close. You don’t want any branches hanging over the house or in contact with the roof.

For smaller jobs, long-handled pruning tools are perfect for DIY tree trimming.

But don’t take on the bigger jobs yourself. Tree-trimming services know how to get up high without falling. Plus, they know how to get rid of those heavier branches without letting it crash into your house.

Keep a Solid Roof Overhead by Knowing Roofing Basics

Your home is your safe haven, all protected by its roof. By knowing the roofing basics about home maintenance, you can continue to protect your family and your biggest investment.

Looking for more tips to keep your home in tip-top shape? Check out the articles on our For the Home blog!

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