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.
We’ve compiled a list of annual and semiannual tasks to help keep your 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.
Seasonal Roof Care
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, 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.
Algae can leave ugly dark streaks on a roof’s surface. Algae stains can be minimized with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. If your roof’s environment is conducive to moss or algae, your best solution may be regular treatments.
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.
Remove organic residue from your roof at least twice a year or more, depending on your region’s tree activity. You may be able to gently remove the debris with a broom or leaf blower depending on roof access, for example, from an upstairs window.
Remember, don’t use a tool that would rub the shingles’ surface because it could dislodge granules.
5. Make Sure Nearby Wall Cladding and Windows Are Watertight
After a major rainstorm or extended period of precipitation, it’s a good policy to check the exterior of your home. Look for areas that remain moist or show streaks of wetness. You might have gutter or soffit problems, causing water to cascade down your walls rather than the downspouts.
Also, check your windows; look around the sills and casings for warping or loss of caulk.
These are all areas that can lead to moisture infiltration.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Again, if you notice this from a safe vantage point, call a contractor to get an official inspection.
8. Confirm Open Ventilation
Proper ventilation is a key. Replacing warm, humid attic air with cool, dry air helps defend against mold and mildew in the attic and ice dams on the roof.
Check the following to help ensure intake and exhaust ventilation vents are working correctly.
- In the attic spaces: Make sure airflow is not blocked from insulation, stored items or insect hives, including the pathway up to the exhaust.
- Soffits: Check soffit screens are free of debris and paint.
9. Connect Dryer and Bathroom Vents Directly to the Outside
It’s essential that the moisture-laden air from dryers and bathrooms makes it out of your home. In new construction, building codes require outdoor venting.
If you’ve purchased an older home, make sure that fans aren’t venting into attics or crawlspaces. Adding warm, humid air to an attic or crawlspace can lead to mold and mildew problems.
Periodically check your dryer hoses or ducts to make sure they’re crack-free and securely attached.
10. Avoid Downspout Discharge on Roof
Downspouts that travel from one level of your home’s roof to another should cover the entire span. Make sure the upper downspout connects to a lower-level gutter. This avoids runoff flowing over the same section of your roof every time it rains, which can lead to dislodged granules and algae stains.
Dislodged granules can prematurely age shingles. Without their protective granule coating, shingles experience increased UV exposure, making them more prone to warping and cracking.
Pro Tip: Make sure all the water discharge from the roof is flowing away from the foundation of your home.
Regular Roof Maintenance
A properly installed asphalt shingle roof is a beautiful, reliable system that should last for years. You can help protect your investment with regular maintenance; however, eventually, you may notice small warning signs that its time is coming to an end.
Contact Ferris Roofing
Not sure if the damage you see is a cause for concern? Just contact us and we will come out for a free inspection at 817-727-4214.