Your roof system is a major investment, providing years of protection from the elements and helping to ensure a comfortable living environment for you and your family. But, just like many components of your home, it needs regular maintenance to perform at its best.
Roof Maintenance Checklist
We’ve compiled a list of annual and semiannual tasks to help keep your asphalt shingle roof in good condition throughout its lifetime. Many of the items on this list won’t take much time to perform, and like any seasonal chore, can help to save time and money down the road.
1. Clean Gutters
Your gutter system is designed to collect water runoff from your shingles and direct it away from the foundation. When gutters become clogged, water can back up underneath your shingles and overflow onto your siding or brick.
Keep your gutters clean and free-flowing, and make sure they’re securely attached. Pay special attention to areas where the gutter meets the wall at right angles.
2. Limit Moss & Algae Growth
Environmental factors can contribute to moss and algae growth on your roof, including a north-facing roof (if you live in the northern hemisphere), lots of shade trees and a wet climate. Moss absorbs water, and large clumps of moss growing on your roof can damage shingles by raising the shingle edges and exposing the undersides to water.
3. Remove Nearby Tree Branches
Similar to the potential problems from walking on a roof, trees can disturb roof granules by rubbing against shingles, especially during windstorms. Trim branches as much as necessary so that even on the windiest of days, they aren’t touching your roof or gutters.
4. Clear Off Organic Debris
Trees provide shade in the summer and add beauty to your landscape. Unfortunately, they’re a constant source of debris, from maple leaf helicopters in spring to fallen leaves in autumn. Organic matter can absorb water, causing your shingles to remain in contact with moisture for lengthy periods. In addition, when rainwater runs down your roof, it can pick up debris, leaving it to settle in your gutters.
Your roof may have been a perfect defense against the elements when it was brand new. But over time, weathering and natural aging can affect even the best of designs. That’s why it’s good practice to inspect vulnerable areas periodically.
1. Inspect Flashing
Flashing helps ensure a watertight seal in areas where two roof planes meet. For example, you might find flashing where your chimney or vent pipes emerge. Flashing is often placed in roof valleys – the channel created when two roof slopes converge.
Find a safe, comfortable vantage point to view flashing, perhaps a second-story window. If you see that the flashing is rusted, dented, missing fasteners or the sealant is rotting away, you may want to contact a roofing contractor. They can inspect the flashing in greater detail to see if a repair or replacement is necessary.
2. Examine the Soil Stack
Some vent pipes are sealed with a rubberized gasket. Over time the gasket itself or the accompanying sealant can dry out and fall apart. Periodically, check that all roof penetrations are sealed tightly against the elements.
3. Beware of Ice Dams
Snow on the roof and cold temperatures could bring an increased risk of ice dams. Ice dams form when rooftop snow melts (due to sun exposure or heat transfer from the roof deck), trickles down your roof and then refreezes over the eaves.