Roof Maintenance Tips: How to Check Your Roof for Problems

Home 9 Roofing 9 Roof Maintenance Tips: How to Check Your Roof for Problems

When you think about doing maintenance around your home, you may not immediately think about maintaining your roof, and yet, you should give it a little more thought the next time you’re outside checking on your house. 

Your roof protects the structure of your home, your belongings, and most importantly, your family. If properly maintained, your roof can last up to twenty years or more. That’s the reason we compiled this list of roof maintenance tips to help extend the life of your roof, your home’s most important structural system!

1. Complete Regular Visual Inspections

Visually inspecting your roof from ground level is an easy and effective way to check the health of your roof. Another helpful tip to visually inspect your roof is to use your phone to take pictures of the roof and zoom in on the images to get a better look to see what condition your roof is in. 

Red Flags:

 Are there black streaks on your roof?

If there is any streaking occurring on your roof, you should be able to notice it from ground level. The streaking looks like dark staining on our roof. Streaking occurs from the water cycle and is caused by blue-green algae. Over time, blue-green algae build-up will cause that dark streaking to occur. Not only is the streaking causing your roof to look unsightly, but it is also comprising the shingles. If you have streaking on your roof, this is a sign that your roof is aging and it is time to replace it.

Are there shingles missing/lifting/cracking?

Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense. Therefore, it is important to maintain the health of your shingles, to increase the lifespan of your roof. You will be able to get a better look at the condition of your roof’s shingles by getting up on the roof. When checking your shingles, look for any signs of damage or excessive wear. If you notice the shingles missing any granules, the shingles are losing their effectiveness and it will soon be time to replace your roof. If you notice any of your shingles starting to lift, this means that you have popped nails, which tells you there is moisture in your decking. If there are any shingles lifting, or even missing from your roof, give us a call and we will come out and assess further.

Are there granules around your gutters and downspouts?

When cleaning your gutters, if you notice small grains like sand that are the color of your shingles, those are shingle granules. They can end up in your gutter or at the bottom of your downpouts. If your shingles are missing granules, they are losing their integrity. This is a sign that it may be time to replace your roof. 

At-home roofing inspections are easy to do from the ground level and can be done at any time. While it’s ideal to do them once or twice a year, perhaps when you clean your gutters, a visual inspection can be done any time you’re concerned or curious about your roof’s health. Here’s more information on roof inspections and what to look for.

2. Clean Your Gutters

Even though this is most homeowners’ least favorite chore, cleaning your gutters can help maintain the longevity of your roof. Whether you clean your gutters yourself or pay someone to do it for you, cleaning your gutters is essential! 

If you do not keep up with cleaning your gutters, the build-up in your gutters could lead to rainwater seeping under the structure of your roof, since you are not leaving anywhere for it to go. 

We recommend that you clean your gutters twice a year (once in late spring and again in early fall). Gutter maintenance will ensure that your gutters are working efficiently!

If your gutters are regularly exposed to debris, you may want to consider a gutter guard product that helps block leaves, needles, and other debris from clogging your gutters. 

3. Clean Any Debris off Your Roof

Over the year, you can accumulate branches, leaves, and other debris on your roof. Remove it with a broom to prevent the debris from deteriorating your shingles. Debris lying on your roof can also cause moss or algae to build up on your roof. 

4. Remove Overhanging Branches

Homes surrounded by trees and landscaping look beautiful. However, that landscaping can be hard on your roof. It can fall and damage your roof immediately or allow critters to get on your roof and into your home. The best way to avoid those problems is to keep your landscaping clear of your roof.

If you have any trees near your roof, you want to make sure they don’t overhang. This ties in with step 3. You’re much less likely to get debris on your roof if there is nothing hanging over your roof to drop debris. 

In addition to debris, if there are any branches hanging over top of your roof, they could be casting too much of a shadow, which doesn’t allow the water on your roof to evaporate. Any water that your roof retains from the natural elements, should evaporate with enough sun exposure. If the tree branches are casting a shadow on your roof in certain areas, moss growth could occur since the water is sitting on the roof. The moss will continue to grow and spread its roots underneath the shingles, causing the shingles to lift from your roof.

5. Remove Snow From Your Roof

Heavy snow can put too much weight on your roof and shingles. For that reason, in the winter, you may want to carefully remove as much snow as you can from your roof, to avoid a collapse. Be careful to only remove snow, and not damage the shingles underneath. 

6. Remove Algae, Moss and Mold

Newer roofs have algae blockers, but mold and moss still can take hold of your roof. Mold and moss are attracted to moisture, so if you do have spots of mold or moss, you should have an inspection to make sure there isn’t a leak in the area.

A mix of bleach and water will kill mold and moss. Take caution to cover or protect any landscaping that could get sprayed by the mixture. Read more about removing moss from your roof.

7. Check Your Attic For Leaks, Ventilation, and Insulation

Often, roof leaks are only visible in the attic. Take a peak in your attic and make sure you don’t see any signs of leaking, such as discoloration or watermarks. Have you noticed any signs of leaks or water damage on the interior of your home? This will tell you that an area of the roof is compromised. Therefore, your roof is no longer protecting your home from the elements. 

Attic ventilation is a key factor in indicating the health of your roof. Your roof needs to be able to properly breathe. There should be a 2:1 ratio when it comes to exhaust and intake for your home. If there is not enough ventilation or an inconsistent flow of air, this could cause your roof to be exposed to the elements and negatively affect the roof’s integrity. Have a professional inspect your attic if you’re concerned about ventilation.

Did you know that insulation is an essential component of your roofing system? Without it, moisture can get trapped between your ceiling and your roof, causing streaking or ghosting on your ceiling.  If you haven’t added insulation to your attic, you should consider it.

8. Inspect and Caulk Your Flashings

If your roof is not properly flashed, over time the flashing can become damaged. If the flashing is damaged, it could potentially let water or other outside elements into the interior of your home. Flashing is applied to your roof to protect any protrusions from leaking (such as chimneys, plumbing pipes, attic vents, etc.) that are strips of steel. Check the areas that are flashed for any cracking, or growth such as moss or algae) If there is any flashing that is cracking, you can re-caulk the flashing to help prevent water from getting through those areas and into your home.

Roof Maintenance Time

A little bit of roof maintenance year-round goes a long way to keeping your roof healthy and strong for many years to come. Spring and early fall are excellent times of the year to check on your roof. 

If you keep up your roof’s health, it should reward you with many years of service.  If you already have an older roof, though, or are seeing a red flag during your visual inspection, you may want to consider having a professional roofing evaluation. 

Volpe Enterprises offers professional roofing repair and replacement services. When you call us, we’ll do a complete roof evaluation and let you know if there are needed repairs or if a whole roof is required. 

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