At Legacy, we know keeping up on inspecting and maintaining your roof can be a challenging task, especially for first-time homeowners. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to help you perform regular maintenance and to know when to call the roofing experts.
What Causes Roof Damage?
Your roof is constantly exposed to the elements, which leads to natural wear and tear over time. One of the most common sources of damage is from severe storms, especially those with high winds and hail. Falling tree branches or those blown by the wind can also cause major and minor damage. If water is unable to drain from your roof, it can cause the growth of mold or even soak through to cause a leak. Excessive snow or ice buildup can knock away the protective outer layers of your roof. Even ultraviolet rays from the sun will gradually fade and start to damage your roofing materials.
Careless installation of satellite dishes, skylights, vents, antennas, or other items can also create a space for water to seep into, even if you don’t notice it for years.
How Often Should You Inspect Your Roof?
It’s a good idea to have your roof professionally inspected at least once a year. Many homeowners prefer to have two regular inspections, immediately before and after winter. You will also want to perform an inspection after severe storms, especially those with high winds, hail, heavy snow, or fallen tree limbs. If you notice damage after such an event, you will want to document it carefully with photos, videos, and notes to make available for your insurance company.
While the average homeowner will likely be able to spot major damage and some minor issues, it’s always best to have your home inspected by a professional. When the cost of repair or replacement is in the thousands of dollars, it pays not to take chances.
Legacy Roofing & Restorations performs thorough and professional inspections of residential and commercial roofs, along with siding, insulation, and other areas of the home. If you need a repair or replacement, we offer free in-person estimates.
How Proper Maintenance Saves Money
Once a roof has sprung a leak, it will start to spread, affecting multiple layers of your roof and leading to rotting, discoloration, and compromised structural integrity. Depending on how far the leak progresses, you may need to repair or replace shingles, plywood, insulation, electrical wiring, drywall, and more. The leak may even progress from your attic to the walls and ceiling of the living areas of your home.
Catching a leak before it spreads, or (even better) preventing damage from turning into a leak, can save you thousands of dollars and protect your personal belongings.
How to Maintain Your Roof
One of the best ways to protect any roof to is make sure it stays clear of debris. If your roof is unable to properly drain water, it can lead to leaking or the buildup of mold and mildew.
Make sure to regularly clean your eaves and other drainage areas of twigs, branches, fallen leaves, and even seeds. While they may not seem like much, they can build up over the course of months, and regular rainfall can pack them down to create a thick layer blocking your drains.
In order to protect your roof from fallen leaves and branches, it’s a great idea to trim tree branches that grow above or close to your roof. The shade caused by the trees can also lead to algae buildup over time. Gutter screens can help prevent debris from getting lodged inside your drains and will decrease the amount of time you spend cleaning them.
You will also want to regularly clean snow and ice from your home whenever the buildup becomes too large. If you notice excessive buildup happening regularly, it may be an indication that your home is losing too much heat through your roof. If that’s the case, you may need to replace or install additional insulation in your attic.
Shingle Roof Maintenance
Shingle roofs are very popular in residential homes, If you notice loose, missing, cracked, or lifted shingles on your roof, you’ll want to replace them as soon as you can. When you have a new roof installed, make sure to buy an extra pack of shingles to have on hand in case of repairs, and keep track of the brand, type, and size of the shingles in case you need to buy more.
Try to walk on your shingled roof as little as possible, as each step can break down the rock granules that provide the protective outer layer of your roof. If you notice mold, moss, or other growth, gently wash it away with a soft-bristled brush along with soap and water to prevent compromising the ultraviolet coating on the shingles. You can also apply protective products with zinc or copper to prevent moss growth.
Metal Roof Maintenance
While one of the benefits of a metal roof is that it can require less maintenance than a shingle installation, there are still good practices to protect it from damage. A well-maintained metal roof can last for more than 40 years, which is why it is important to protect your roof from scratches, dents, and corrosion—in addition to the usual leaking issues.
Unlike with shingles, you can clean your metal roof with a power washer, though you should use a lighter pressure setting. You should also regularly make sure that no other metals are in contact with your roof since that can cause corrosion and discoloration. If you notice minor scratches in your roof, you can repair them with mineral spirits and use a paint pen to blend the color and make the scratch unnoticeable from the ground.
Commercial Roof Maintenance
Flat roofs that are common in commercial buildings can be especially vulnerable to drainage issues and water buildup, so regular cleaning is key. Depending on the type of roof you have installed, you’ll also want to check for tears and seams in your membrane, as well as mold or mildew buildup.
If you have a ballasted roof system, check to make sure your rocks are distributed evenly and level them out if need be. Ensure any metal panels don’t have loose screws or washers. You may also want to install walking pads on your roof so you don’t have to directly walk on some of the more vulnerable materials.
When to Call the Experts
While it’s important for property owners to learn how to conduct standard maintenance and cleaning of their roofs, any significant inspections or repairs should be done by a professional. If you try to undertake repairs on your own, you may end up voiding the warranty of your roof or causing more issues down the road. And you should never do anything that you’re not sure of or that is unsafe.
If your roof is a few decades old and is showing noticeable wear and tear throughout, then it might be time for a full replacement. The experts at Legacy can help you determine when that time comes.
Legacy’s Roof Maintenance Services
The experienced and friendly staff at Legacy Roofing & Restoration are ready to help. We’ve conducted countless inspections, repairs, and replacements throughout West Michigan. Give us a call or send us a message to set up a free at-home estimate.