By any standard, the roof of a house is subjected to some of the most extreme conditions around. In addition to the summer sun mercilessly beating down on it for months at a time, winter temperatures then cause the substructure to expand and contract. All the while, the wind, the rain and the snow try to infiltrate pry off its protective sheathing. Here are some of the most important things to watch for on your roof to keep it clean, secure and protected. If there are mishaps, it’s best to have them remedied by an experienced contractor.
The most common roofing problem encountered by homeowners is a minor leak. Even if the initial leakage is small, the problem must be addressed as soon as possible, as the infiltration of water into a home can cause of host of other more significant issues. In particular, water can damage walls, interior ceilings and electrical systems. At the first sign of water damage from a leaky roof, it is critical that a homeowner call an experienced roofing company to investigate. The amount of money invested in a single preventive inspection is minor in comparison to any repair that would have to be done.
A roof that experiences a lot of leaf clutter and branch debris can sustain major damage that isn’t immediately noticeable from the ground. For this simple reason, a homeowner should have the roof cleaned and inspected on a biannual basis. At the same time, a superior roofing company will also clean the gutters and ensure that they are in proper working order. This last task is especially important before the winter season when blocked gutters can produce “ice dams.” Just frozen water, ice dams allow water to build up and infiltrate the house, adding to the “freeze and thaw” cycle that is so damaging to homes.
Repair with the Proper Materials
Whether you just need a few shingles replaced or an entirely new roof, it’s essential that the proper materials are used. 20- or 30-year shingles are the recommended minimum, as are double courses on the eaves of the roof, appropriate flashing and climate-suitable sealant. Everything, including the number of nails used to secure each shingle, is integral to a stable and long-lasting roof. When it comes to roofing, you definitely get what you pay for. In short, the better the materials used for any installation or repair, the longer it will last.
Many newer home builders have chosen to include a variety of technologies that can make the homeowner’s maintenance tasks easier and reduce future repair bills. In particular, the use of leaf guards and gutter heaters can have a profound effect on the lifespan of a roof. Leaf guards eliminate the need to clean gutters of debris and diminish the ability of insects to infiltrate the structure. Gutter heaters are typically installed to make the home safer from ice or snow falling on visitors or residents. In addition, heaters prevent the build-up of ice and snow that creates ice dams.
The Bottom Line
Mother Nature is an unpredictable force that can have immediate consequences on a roof. Time can deteriorate even the best covering materials. The most prudent homeowner prepares for roof maintenance in advance and takes steps to minimize both of these effects. The end result is a roof that lasts for years to come.