Do it Yourself: 3 Rules For Roof Maintenance

A new roof is a significant investment — The average composite reroof costs $28,256 (Source: Remodeling magazine). Maintenance is your secret weapon to delay these more significant projects.
Did you know a worn-out roof loses its ability to reflect sunlight? The function of composite shingles is to keep your home cool during the summer and dry during the winter. Roof maintenance affects more than just the design of your home; it could impact your carbon footprint, the moisture levels of your attic, and your home’s resale value. Whether your roof is brand new or as old as the home, keeping up with the basics can significantly extend its lifespan and save your pockets.
If you’re reading this, you probably own a home, and your roof might be a little neglected. Don’t beat yourself up; there’s never a better time to learn about roof maintenance than now; let’s start with the basics.

Rule #1 – Clean your gutters

Gutters serve an essential function; they divert rainwater from your roof’s sheathing and rafters. They also prevent water from chipping away at the foundation by redirecting its flow. Safe to say, gutters are clutch, and if you take care of them, they take care of you.
The fix: Our advice is to inspect your downspouts next time it rains. If you see a weak stream of water, grab a ladder and scoop out those leaves. We would also recommend investing in gutter guards and sticking to a twice-a-year maintenance schedule. **If you’re weary of heights, we recommend calling a professional; it’s better to be safe than sorry. Click here to see our rates and to schedule a cleaning**

Rule #2 – Remove piles of debris

When moisture gets trapped underneath leaves, pine needles, and other organic material, they decompose and gradually strip the granules off of your shingles. They can also create fertile ground for moss and different types of organic growth. This accumulation happens more in homes with inconsistent pitch slopes and flat roof sections.
The fix: If you fall into this category, we recommend using a leaf blower or soft pressure washer to move these piles off your roof.

Rule #3 – Kill the Moss

What are granules? They’re reflective minerals purposely added to composite shingles to help mitigate sun exposure. Moss (aka Organic growth) is a big problem in the pacific northwest, and during the rainy season, it can strip the granules right off your roof.
Organic growth is also the leading cause of discoloration and premature aging in newer roofs. This discoloration is caused by a thin layer of black algae that often goes untreated and unnoticed. Unless you’re getting routine cleanings, you more than likely have some type of organic growth, and it’s a slow death for your shingles.
The fix: Most treatments only remove the top layer of moss, and you’ll find yourself treating it more often as it fights to grow back each season. We have found that a light mixture of bleach and water works wonders when killing the moss once and for all (Use safety protocols because the active chemicals can burn the skin and eyes). Once the moss is dead, we recommend several applications of soft-wash solution through a pressure washer just to maintain a sterile environment for your roof.
If you’re interested in a roof cleaning or a free inspection, give us a call.

Do it yourself: A Beginners Guide to Roof Inspection.

Not every home needs a new roof; some just need repairs and a few shingles replaced. The only way to know for sure is to get a roof inspection, but you don’t always have to wait for a pro to do it.

If you think you’re pretty handy, know what problems to look for, and aren’t afraid of heights, grab a ladder, print out our inspection sheet and see what you can find. 

*IMPORTANT* – Safety first: Read this before climbing on your roof. When climbing, we recommend you have a friend nearby to spot your ladder or use a ratchet tie to anchor it in place. This will prevent you from being stuck up on the roof if your ladder were to fall and nobody was around. We also advise against resting your ladder directly on your gutters because they can bend or come loose. 

When walking on top of a roof, it’s ideall to be using a body harness attached to a roof anchor. If you don’t have either, you should be relying on your better judgment by only walking on flat sections of your roof. That flat section might be a good enough vantage point to assess any damage, bring some binoculars if you can.

  1. Start in the attic

One of the easiest ways to tell if your roof is damaged is to check your attic for moisture (especially after heavy rainfall). All you’ll need is a flashlight to see and some goggles to protect your eyes from loose fiberglass. 

You’ll be looking for;

  • Dripping water
  • Damaged plywood
  • Condensation

2. Look out for leaves and debris 

Leaves and Debris can trap moisture on your roof; this is bad news for the health of your shingles. If you see piles of Debris, get those removed and then assess the underlaying shingles for granule loss or algae growth.

Things you need to look out for;

  • Discoloration
  • Moisture
  • Green Moss
  • Black Algae

3. Look for curling shingles.

A poorly ventilated attic traps heat that can dry out your shingles until they warp and curl. Curling shingles will compromise the integrity and lifespan of your roof system. If you see any curling shingles, plan on having them replaced soon, or leaks will surely follow. You might also consider installing another roof vent if the attic is confirmed to be under-ventilated. *The rule of thumb; If a 1/3rd of your shingles are curling, it’s probably time for a whole new roof.

4. Check for damaged, missing, or old shingles

If you’re missing shingles, you’ll have a gap in your roof that can leak the next time it rains. While performing an inspection, It’s crucial to catalog every broken shingle you see; this is how you can assess the damage and get a ballpark estimate. It also helps to inspect your gutters for missing granules; this signifies that your shingles are at the end of their lifespan.

Here are a few ways that a shingle can become damaged;

  1. Blow off – a shingle that’s missing a nail will be taken by the wind during exceptional weather. 
  2. Human Error – Walking on top of a roof isn’t easy and takes skill and patience to pull off. Sometimes after a roof is completed, HVAC installers or general inspectors can damage shingles by not exercising caution. 
  3. Manufacturer error – Occasionally, your installer is given faulty shingles. It’s sometimes impossible to tell until after they’ve been installed.

5. Inspect your flashing & drip metal

One commonly overlooked area is the metal around your roof’s chimneys, pipes, dormers, perimeter, and vents. That metal is known as flashing, and it redirects water away from vulnerable areas. Without flashing, water would leak directly into your interior and cause rot and mold. 

When inspecting your roof’s flashing, look out for;

  • Rust
  • Corrosion
  • Any signs of discoloration

If you do all of this and still want an expert opinion, go ahead and book us; we’ll give you an inspection on the house (literally).