Below are several maintenance steps you can take to extend the life of your roof and save you a lot of money in the long run.
#1. Install Proper Ventilation And Adequate Insulation.
This is among the most critical–and often overlooked–steps in extending the life of your roof. Without proper ventilation, a buildup of heat and moisture in your attic can lead to roof rot and diminished insulation efficiency. In winter months, a poorly ventilated attic is a key contributor to the formation of damaging ice dams. In short, properly insulated and ventilated attic space allows your roof to perform well for a longer period of time.
- Attics should be insulated to R-38, which is about eighteen inches of insulation material.
- Most building codes require 1 square foot of venting for every 150 square feet of attic space.
- If there are portions of insulation that have been eroded down, remove it all then install full eighteen inches of new insulation material in its place (instead of simply adding more on top).
- Homeowners should avoid attic fan ventilators with blocked soffit vents, according to Energy Star. Turbine or fan ventilation systems are unreliable, as their moving parts are sure to break down over time. Soffit and ridge venting systems are a much better solution.
- Be aware of all soffit vents around the perimeter of the house and take steps to ensure these vents remain unblocked by debris, insulation, or outside materials.
- Install a thermometer in the attic that can remotely tell you the area’s temperature so you can monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.
#2. Keep Gutters And Downspouts Clear.
Leaves, twigs and other debris can clog your gutter system, causing expensive water leaks in your attic and interior living spaces. If they are clogged, gutters and downspouts can’t channel water and snowmelt away from your home. While you’re cleaning out the gunk, inspect your gutters for signs of damage:
- Evaluate the gutter angle, making sloping adjustments as necessary. Properly installed rain gutters are slightly sloped toward the downspout, allowing water to drain efficiently. Improperly sloped gutters will result in pooling, which over time will rot or corrode your gutters.
- Inspect for gutters pulled away from the home. If water pools in your gutters for any reason, the weight of the water may, over time, loosen the fasteners and allow the gutter to pull away from your structure.
- Check for leaks and holes using a garden hose.
- Inspect your downspouts for any leaks or signs of excessive wear.
#3. Inspect Your Roofing.
It’s a good idea to perform a routine inspection on a regular basis. Look for signs of damage on the roof surfaces, as well as in the attic and interior of your home. Small leaks or minor damage can often be repaired for a little cost. Ignoring them, and allowing them to become major problems, can be a very expensive mistake.
- Check flashings for holes, corrosion, cracks, or other signs of damage or deterioration. These metal strips installed where the main body of the roof meets up with the home’s siding, chimneys or skylights create connections that are especially prone to roof leaks.
- Check for broken, cracked, curled, or missing shingles and any signs of a loss of granulation. Loose or damaged shingles is a common problem. Over time, high winds, hail, tree branches, and other debris can take a toll. Often, a little roofing cement may be all that’s needed to repair a loose shingle tab. If the shingle is damaged, you’ll want to have it replaced.
- Check for blisters, cracks, and tears around the edges of the roof
- Inspect damaged chimney bricks and buckled or torn flashing, cracked or worn caps and joints. Check caulking/sealants around the roof for cracking or other damage. Old, worn sealants should be replaced before water seepage causes problems.
- Assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls.