A new roof is a major renovation project. It can take a toll on both your budget and your time. But unlike add-ons and expansions, you have a roof already.
The key here is making it last. Many roofs are too poorly cared for, and that’s the reason replacements are needed when a roof might otherwise last another five years. Good roof maintenance, like great roofing materials, can make a world of difference. If you have both together, you can be assured that your home is consistently protected.
How to make your roof last for as long as possible? Below are five simple roof-care tips that every homeowner needs to know.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Your gutters are not precisely part of your roof, so you might not be aware of how important gutter care is for roof maintenance. Mostly, we think of clogged gutters as posing a threat to house siding, but they can also be a significant problem for roof infrastructure.
When gutters fill with leaves, heavy rain can cause them to overflow and seep up into the roof sheathing. This can cause the bottom layer of a roof to rot out, and the rot can extend into the rafters.
So make a regular habit of cleaning out your gutters, especially during the fall. You may not need to do it as often as you rake your front lawn, but place the project on your schedule and commit to it.
Even if your gutters aren’t looking clogged, clear out whatever detritus builds up in them. Doing smaller preliminary cleanings will save you from larger jobs (not to mention potential damage) later on.
2. Scout for Broken Roof Shingles
A few broken shingles might not seem like a big deal. There’s protection underneath your shingles to keep your roof from leaking, you tell yourself.
But broken shingles can quickly cause roof leaks and extensive damage. The sheathing underneath your shingles is not intended to replace them in the case of damage, but to form a second layer of protection.
Make sure to check your roof regularly for broken shingles, and replace any of the ones you find. This entails a careful examination of your roof, which may mean going for a walk outside.
If you are concerned about your ability to do this safely, bring in professionals to check your roof. That will be cheaper than having to replace it entirely.
You’ll find you have less inspecting and replacement to perform if your roof is of high quality to begin with. GAF roof shingles are less likely to break and will protect your roof better in the long term because of their strength and durability.
So make sure that any shingles your roofers use to replace broken ones are made by GAF.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Ice Dams
If you aren’t a roof-care aficionado, you might never have heard of ice dams, but they are one of the biggest enemies of the roofing industry. Ice dams form toward the bottom edges of the roof; they consist of dense frozen blocks that prevent snow and water from reaching the gutters.
By keeping snow from falling off and melting away, ice dams can enable water to force its way under shingles and cause water damage to your roof. In order to prevent an ice dam, you can take several steps.
Again, gutter care is paramount. Try installing gutter screens that keep them clear. Clogged gutters can cause snow to build up and onto the roof. Screens allow snow to melt and drain away more readily, which will discourage ice dams.
Roof salt is also a valuable tool for preventing ice dams, but take care to purchase the right kind. Corrosive salts that aren’t specially designed for roofs can cause further damage.
Make sure you purchase a non-corrosive variety that won’t harm your GAF roof shingles. If you’re unsure which product to buy, consult with roofing professionals.
4. Mind Your Insulation
Insulation resides safely inside your house and is not part of the roof, so what does it have to do with making your roof last? It turns out that properly insulating your home has benefits inside and out.
Focus first on your attic. Frequent temperature fluctuations in your attic space can cause moisture to form on the underside of your roof. This can cause damage moving outward towards the actual roofing, and by the time the damage becomes visible it can be too late for small repairs.
Good insulation will stabilize such temperature fluctuations. The insulation can be boosted by using an additional vapor retarder.
5. Watch Out for Tree Limbs
It may seem obvious that trees can pose a threat to your roof, but many homeowners love their shade trees so much that we hesitate to cut them down. Unfortunately, overhanging branches can damage roof tiles, and larger dead branches may come down hard in a storm and cause major roof issues, up to and including total collapse.
If you’re not sure about the health of the trees that surround your home, contact a local arbor care company. Tree experts can advise you about which branches can stay and which need to go for the safety of your home and loved ones.
It’s vital for you to take care of trees in advance of a storm because waiting just one day too long can be catastrophic. What can you do, however, if the overhanging branches that seem to threaten your roof belong to trees that aren’t on your property?
This is when good-neighbor relationships come into play. Try to speak respectfully with your neighbors about any trees that don’t belong to you but could have an impact on your property.
If they are not cooperative, the local homeowners association might be able to help you with this issue.
The Roof Specialists You Need
Your roof care matters to us. That’s why you should contact American Home Contractors with your roof care concerns today.
We use the highest quality of GAF roofing materials so you won’t need to replace your new roof for many years to come. Don’t let subpar roofing materials damage your home infrastructure and ruin your peace of mind. We’ve got you covered.