For homeowners, home maintenance is one of those things that never really ends. It’s also something that you should have as a line item in your budget. The average homeowner spends around $3,000 annually on maintenance costs.
One thing that should appear on your home maintenance checklist is roof maintenance. Catching roof problems early can save you a bundle in damage repair costs. Beyond that, it’s a key component in the building envelope that keeps the weather out and the warm or cool air inside your home.
Not sure what residential roof maintenance entails? Keep reading to learn the basics of what you should do to keep your roof in good working order.
While your roof is a multi-layer system of protection, your shingles are the first and strongest line of defense. You should check them at least once or twice a year. You should also check them after particularly bad storms with high winds.
Things you should watch for include:
- Torn shingles
- Shingles are missing
- Curled shingles
- Cracked shingles
- Significant granule loss
- Flashing damage
If you notice any of the above signs, it’s often prudent to call in a professional roofing contractor for basic repairs. Fixing damaged shingles reinforces that first line of defense and helps ensure water can’t find its way inside.
Safety Tip: Always ask someone to act as a spotter for you when climbing ladders or getting up on the roof. They can call for help if something happens.
Not everyone feels safe or confident climbing up a ladder to look at the condition of their home roof. For anyone with balance problems, it’s both inadvisable and unsafe. For anyone in those circumstances, you can call a roofer to come and do a professional inspection for you.
They’ll give it a once-over, check the shingles, and look for telltale signs of trouble. For example, they might notice sponginess in the roof, which could indicate that there is trouble with the wooden sheathing that supports the shingles. They’ll also keep an eye out for things like loose nails or flashing issues.
As an added bonus, a roof inspection may also include an estimate of how long the roofer thinks the roof will last. This can prove helpful in planning for future roof replacements.
If you don’t feel comfortable checking your own roof, you should get a professional roof inspection at least once or twice a year.
Gutter, Soffits, and Fascia
While not specifically part of your roof, the condition of your gutters, soffits, and fascia can also give you warnings about potential roof problems. For example, if your gutters are pulling loose from the fascia, that can indicate the wood has suffered water damage and started to rot.
Again, if the wood of the soffits or fascia feels spongy instead of firm, that’s a problem sign. As a basic maintenance measure, you should clean out your gutters on a regular schedule.
You might also consider a gutter cover to help keep debris out of the gutter. While it’s not a perfect solution, it will at least let water drop into the gutter and flow freely, rather than overflowing because debris has clogged the gutter.
Watch Out for Algae or Moss
Algae or moss growth on the roof isn’t an immediate problem, but it’s also not one that should let linger for long. Over time, that plant growth can degrade your shingles and allow for water penetration into your home.
You can often solve the problem with nothing more than a garden hose and a soft-bristled brush. You can wash away most of the moss and gently scrub away any lingering remnants. Work your way down from the peak of the roof toward the gutter.
If that approach doesn’t work, you can resort to chemical methods. You can get retail cleaning solutions that will kill moss, fungus, and algae on your roof. You can also DIY solutions made of water, bleach, and dish soap.
You should wet the roof down first, then spray on the solution. Let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes, then take the soft-bristled brush to the roof again. Follow up with another rinse.
Bear in mind that the same solutions that can kill moss will very likely kill or damage any plants around the base of your home. They can also damage paint or siding color. You may want to spread or hang plastic in areas where you think the solution might go.
Check Your Attic
Another place that you should check at least once every year as part of your roofing maintenance is the underside of your roof in the attic. If there is a problem with your roof, there is often evidence of it inside.
For example, in extreme cases, you might see sunlight coming in through the roof. The more common problem you will spot is water staining on the wood sheathing or on the trusses.
If your attic smells especially musty, that can also indicate that you have had a roof leaking into it at some point.
Other signs that you might have leaking include water staining on your ceiling or ceiling tiles. These are typically brown spots that resemble the shape of spreading water or a water puddle.
You might also notice bulging spots on your wall. This typically means that the sheetrock soaked up a fairly significant amount of water. That bulging doesn’t go away, even after the sheetrock dries.
Roof Maintenance and You
As a general rule, roof maintenance for the homeowner is more about observation than action. You must keep your eyes open for roofing problems so that you find them early. Dealing with moss or algae and cleaning out your gutters are generally the most DIY-friendly elements of roof maintenance.
Catching the problems early goes a long way toward bypassing the kind of damage that requires a full-on roof replacement or interior water damage repair.
Amenity Roofing Siding & Gutters offers roof repair and installation services in Montgomery, IL, and the surrounding area. To schedule an estimate, contact Amenity today.