Three Maintenance Steps To Lengthen The Life Of Your Asphalt Shingle Roof

Construction & Contractors Blog

Although asphalt shingling is used on about 80% of America's homes, it does come with its share of idiosyncrasies, such as the fact that it often needs to be replaced after just fifteen or twenty years. Short of replacing your roof with a more durable material, what can you do to lengthen its lifespan? Staying on top of any repairs as well as caring for your roof's needs can help you keep it operational for the longest possible working life. Here are three maintenance steps to help you care for your roof in this way.

1. Protect from debris damage

Small bits of debris landing on your roof may seem like a non-issue, but if you leave them there they actually have the potential to cause problems. Although leaves and twigs may not cause impact damage like a larger branch might, they can still become an issue if not cleaned off. For example, dead leaves that  sit on your roof can become wet in the next rain and cling to the surface of the roof, holding water against its surface and encouraging leaking and other roof problems. Debris on your roof can also encourage moss to grow there, which may also damage the shingles. Some homeowners elect to remove trees or large limbs that grow near the house. This can both protect your roof from impact damage if the tree falls in a storm and prevent debris from falling on your roof, meaning you won't have to clean it as often.

2. Protect from gutter backup

Sometimes small bits of debris may fall on your roof and be washed away into the gutter before you notice them and get up there to clean them off. Over time, debris buildup in gutters can lead to clogging, which is the cause of a lot of roof leaks. The clogged gutter can fill with water during a storm and act as a dam, creating a backed-up pool of water that may reach the edge of your roof and start to sneak in under the shingles. To prevent this problem, it's best to clean your gutters periodically as well as each time a storm is predicted.

3. Inspect regularly

Many other roof problems are possible though unlikely, so performing a scheduled inspection is necessary to guard against having any of these problems sneak up on you. You may wish to have your roof inspected by a roofing contractor every now and then, but you can do most of the inspections on your own. Some things to check for on these inspections include:

  • Loose, rusty, or damaged flashing
  • Cracked and shrunken caulking around flashing
  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Moss, lichen, or algae growth
  • Old, cracked rubber "boots" around vents

If you find growths of moss or lichen on your roof, you can remove them on your own. You may also wish to treat your roof with a moss-prevention treatment so you won't have the same problem in future. If you find flashing problems, you may be able to fix those as well before they cause leaks (if you're a do-it-yourselfer and have experience working with roofs). 

But remember, only go up on the roof in daylight and good weather, and don't go up unless you're currently in good health, wearing grippy shoes such as tennis shoes, and have a helper to hold the ladder for you. If there's any doubt about whether it's a good idea for you to go on the roof, leave it for another day or hire in a roofing contractor, like Palmer Roofing.


16 March 2016

Stop Mold in Its Tracks

Hi, I'm Carey Johnson. Mold can be more dangerous than you might realize. I learned that when my little girl started having asthma and allergy attacks inside the house. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. We changed the filter in the air conditioner frequently, and we kept the house very clean. We couldn’t, however, figure out where the allergens were coming from. Finally, we discovered the mold that was growing on the floor of the attic – right above my daughter’s room! No wonder she was having breathing problems! Once we found it, we went right to work learning how to get rid of it for good. We ended up reconstructing the attic, and I learned that I enjoyed learning about construction.