Whether it’s weather-related or something else, there are steps you can take to ensure major roof damage doesn’t happen. Here are some tips on what to do.
With a median purchase price of around $226,000, keeping your home in good shape is no joke. Once you start letting things slide, the price you can get for a home may be less than you paid for it in the first place.
Preventing or repairing roof damage is one of the pillars of good home maintenance. A roof in good repair not only keeps out water but preserves the environmental envelope of your home. Let it fall into disrepair and the problems will compound.
Invested in keeping your roof solid? Keep reading for 10 tips that will help you prevent major roofing damage.
1. Visual Exterior Inspections
You should make a point of visually inspecting your roof at least a couple of times per year. Spring and fall inspections make the most sense since they fall right after or before the bad weather season in most places. This lets you spot minor roofing damage before it turns into major roof damage.
2. Shingle Replacement
You should also consider a quick roof inspection following any storm with high winds or hail. These kinds of storms often cause weather damage to shingles.
Any time you spot damaged shingles, you should replace those shingles as soon as possible. Even a few damaged shingles can start to compromise your roof’s integrity.
3. Trim Branches
Many homeowners follow the advice to plant trees near their homes to help control energy costs. Unfortunately, if left to grow long enough, some trees grow branches that hang over the roof.
Trim those branches yourself, but only if you can do so safely. Otherwise, call in a tree trimming service. A falling limb in a wind storm can cause severe roof damage.
4. Clear Away Sticks and Leaves
You should make a point to clear away any tree limbs, sticks, or leaves that accumulate on your roof. This prevents the debris from soaking up water that can damage shingles or encourage algae growth.
It also lets you make sure that nothing that fell on the roof causes damage that needs professional attention. If you find something that needs attention, you can always search online for “roof repair companies near me.”
5. Regular Gutter Cleaning
Gutter cleaning probably makes it onto very few favorite activities lists. Yet, it’s a crucial method for avoiding a damaged roof. Clogged gutters vastly increase your odds of getting ice dams.
An ice dam happens when water freezes along the eaves and prevents drainage. As ice forms behind that initial dam, it can damage your roofing, ceilings, and even walls. A clogged gutter gives runoff a place to accumulate and freeze.
6. Check the Roof Plywood in Your Attic
If the prospect of climbing around on your roof leaves you feeling cold, the next best option is in your attic. Your attic space gives you direct visual access to the plywood that supports your shingles. Grab a flashlight before you go up, though, since most attics lack good lighting.
Give that plywood a thorough visual once over. Keep your eyes open for streaking and discolored wood. Those are visual clues that your roof leaks when it rains.
If you spot streaks, discoloration, or signs of mildew and rot, touch base with a roofing repair pro. Sometimes they can fix the issue without a full roof replacement.
7. Clear Heavy Snow
A dusting of snow on your roof can make it look picturesque. Let the snow on your roof pile up to a foot or more and you’re in dangerous territory. Snow that deep puts a huge weight strain on your roof and can damage both plywood and the trusses supporting it.
Snow rakes typically come with very long handles that can exceed 20 feet. These rakes let you clear snow off your roof from the safety of the ground. Clearing snow helps you prevent a catastrophic roof collapse.
8. Add Insulation
Many homes, especially older homes, don’t carry enough insulation in the attic. This lets warm and cool air escape from the living spaces below into the attic. That escaping air proves especially problematic in the winter.
As the warm air from below hits the cool air above, condensation coats most of the available surfaces. While an occasional bit of condensation probably won’t damage anything, regular condensation can leave you with serious rot damage to your roof’s plywood.
As an added insult, insufficient insulation also costs you money on your utility bills. Your HVAC system kicks on more often and runs for longer than it would in a properly insulated home. The extra strain can even reduce your HVAC system’s working life.
9. Install Proper Ventilation
Make sure that you or a professional install proper ventilation for your roof. Proper ventilation lets your home equalize the temperature and air pressure in the attic with the temperature and air pressure outside. This reduces the odds of damaged roofing material.
Proper ventilation also prevents heat buildup during the winter. Heat buildup also contributes to ice dam formation. The warm roof over the attic melts snow which then freezes along the eaves.
10. Periodic Professional Inspections
No matter how thoroughly you inspect your roof, it’s not a replacement for a professional’s eye. You should hire a pro roof inspector periodically for detailed inspection.
They may find nothing which will leave you with peace of mind. If they do find something, it lets you get a jump on repairs before things turn very expensive.
Prevent Major Roof Damage With Our Useful Tips
You can’t prevent all roof damage no matter how conscientious you are about repairs. Freak weather events, shingle production errors, and even an errant baseball can all damage your roof.
You can, however, keep a close eye on your roof with visual inspections of the shingles and the plywood. If you stay on top of the small repairs as they become necessary, you can often avoid the hugely expensive process of a roof replacement.
Looking for other ways to save money on your home and in your life? Check out the money saving section on this site.