Installing a new roof is a major capital investment for most homeowners. Plus, your roof is a critical part of your home’s infrastructure that keeps you and your family safe and sheltered from the elements. Therefore, you want to do whatever you can to extend the lifespan of your roof to maximize your ROI and minimize costly repairs.
Regardless of the typical life expectancy of your roof’s materials (asphalt, metal, slate or other tile), you can ensure certain steps are taken to extend its lifespan. Some of these are actions you can take yourself; others are best performed by a handyman service or roofing contractor.
Keep the gutters clean
Your gutter system is a key point of protection and ensures that water flows away from your home. Cleaning your gutters will prevent a buildup of dirt, leaves, and other debris that can block the water flow. In the winter, clean gutters will also help prevent ice dams that can lead to shingle decay. (More on ice dams below.)
Keep the roof clean
Cleaning the roof is not usually a DIY project; we recommend you hire a professional for this job, since it means spending time on the roof scrubbing off moss or algae.
Do not pressure wash your roof, as the concentrated spray can damage the shingles (and put your roof out of warranty). A scrub brush and soapy water or a special moss or algae cleaner is the way to go. A roofing or home maintenance professional can also use a broom or leaf blower to clear away debris and dirt (and check the gutters while they’re up there).
Clear tree overgrowth
Trimming your tree branches when they get too close to the house will help you avoid damage to the roof from falling limbs or branches—and cut off an easy path for squirrels or other animals that seem interested in your roof or chimney.
Tree branches hanging over your roof can also scratch it and create damage that can shorten your roof’s lifespan.
Repair or replace broken or missing shingles
A bad storm with high winds or heavy rain or snow often leaves roof shingles broken and dangling above or strewn on the ground. Damaged shingles—whether loose, curling or missing altogether—must be replaced to keep water from seeping into the underlayment. This can lead to roofing structure problems and reduce the roof’s efficiency (leading to high energy bills).
Ventilate the attic properly
Proper attic ventilation avoids condensation from forming on your roof’s plywood decking in the summer and keeps the roof cold during the winter to keep ice dams from forming during a freeze-thaw cycle.
Ridge vents (air exhaust vents) that are installed at the roof’s peak and intake vents at the soffits are key parts of properly ventilating the attic.
In the attic, check that your exhaust fan is placed correctly and venting hot air out. This regulates attic temperature and moisture levels, and will prevent mold from forming. The hot air should be dissipated and exchanged with fresh air via exhaust vents.
Have the roof inspected regularly
You’ll be able to see obvious problems yourself but a roofing professional should inspect your roof on a regular basis—annually or every two or three years if you are performing routine maintenance. Depending on your roof’s materials, there will be different issues to look for and remediate.
Insulate your home
In addition to keeping your home more energy efficient, insulation protects your roof from an unwanted buildup of warm air, which can deteriorate roof shingles. Be sure the insulation does not cover attic vents. Good airflow below the roof, eaves, and ridges will also prevent or minimize freezing.
Prevent ice dams from forming
Our New Jersey customers know that cold weather brings ice—and ice dams that can form in clogged gutters. You can also remove snow with a snow rake (or have your roofing contractor do this for you).
Contact Slate Roof Professionals for Roofing Care
At Slate Roof Professionals, we install and maintain roofs throughout northern and central New Jersey, including Essex County where we are based; and Westchester County, NY. We install top-quality roofing materials and can conduct roof inspections and repair. Contact our office for a consultation at (973) 857-7300 to ensure you’re doing everything you can to extend the lifespan of your roof.