For most people, there’s nothing quite as comforting as having a roof over their heads. While no part of a home is unimportant, the roof forms a substantial portion of the exterior. As such, ensuring it remains in peak condition for as long as possible is vital. Apart from installing a quality roof and making roof repairs, here are some tips on extending the lifespan of a roof.
Regular Inspection and Roof Repairs
Depending on the material, roofs should be checked regularly for signs of age, wear-and-tear, and for storm damage. A few key aspects of the shingles or tiles to focus on should be checking for lifting corners, tar-adhesive failure, pipe-jack failure, wind creases and thermal cracking. If you see cracks on the shingles that are similar to a lighting bolt, you should have a professional roofer inspect the roof system (from soffits to the ridge peak) to see if you have adequate ventilation. Roof repairs should be done at the first sign of damage to prevent more extensive future repairs.
The shingles on your roof protect everything else underneath, and is not an area that homeowners can ignore. Most homeowners wait until they have significant roof leaks to address the roof, by then, there’s likely rotten roof sheathing and leaks. As we always say, “The roof is the most expensive home maintenance item that nobody plans for”.
The flashing on the roof should be inspected for proper placement. Flashing is thin metal sheets used to prevent water from penetrating seams or material edges on the roof. It is installed where the roof meets the siding (side-wall flashing, head-wall flashing and or step-flashing), at transitions in roof pitch, and around chimneys. Chimneys are a key area to focus on when it comes to roof flashing.
Most roofers will apply the chimney counter-flashing directly to the wall, using a masonry nail to secure the flashing and then apply loads of sealant to keep the water out. This is the WRONG way to flash a chimney. The proper way to install chimney flashing is to use a masonry grinder to cut a 1/2” deep groove into the mortar joints, then to custom bend the counter-flashing so that it goes into the groove with a v-shape. This will cause the metal to secure itself into the mortar joint, then elastomeric sealant is applied for secondary weather protection. Severe weather and high-winds can dislodge the flashing allowing an entry location for water.
Seals used in skylights should be checked for degradation and cracking where the glass meets the metal frame of the skylight. Dried or cracked seals can allow water to leak inside. During a roof replacement, the vibrations from the shingle installation can and will cause cracking of the seal, and leakage into your home. Velux, the leading manufacturer of skylights in the United States, suggests that you replace your skylights along with any roof repairs.
While debris on the roof may not seem like a problem, it should be removed. Accumulated debris such as leaves, pine needles, and small branches trap moisture, rots the roof sheathing over time and significantly reducing the roof’s lifespan. Shingles are water resistant, not water proof.
Debris also prevents the proper movement of water to the gutters causing it to spill onto other sections of the roof, leading to further damage. Any growth of fungi and algae should be cleaned using a soft-wash method, and an eco-friendly cleaner. Keeping the roof clean from algae is one of the best ways to avoid failure, and costly roof repairs.
Algae ages your roof very quickly by leaching out the oils that are in all asphalt roofing shingles. Algae also causes the shingles to become brittle, which will lead to shingles breaking during wind-storms. Once algae forms, you will need to do a roof soft-wash cleaning on a yearly basis, preferably in the fall. DO NOT pressure wash your shingles, this will dislodge the granules and lead to early shingle failure.
Pooling or stagnant moisture is never good for anything, let alone a roof. The weight of snow on a roof after a significant snowfall reduces the lifespan of the roof. The problem is made worse if there is a partial melt, and then it refreezes into ice, known as “Ice Damming”. Get the snow off the roof as soon as possible.
While good for shade, tree cover is a problem if it is close to the roof. Broken tree branches can physically damage the roof during strong winds or severe storms. Trees hanging over a roof will drop acidic nuts, leaves and sap onto the roof, which leaches the oils out of the asphalt shingle, causing early failure. In addition, a shaded roof takes longer to dry after a storm increasing the time moisture sits on the surface.
Is your house in need of roof repairs? Odyssey Contracting is an established home remodeling company based in North Carolina. They are locally owned and operated and have an exemplary track record of high-quality projects. Call 919-916-5640 and schedule an appointment today.