Most people would agree that a roof over your head is one of life’s necessities. Without the roof, your home – and its contents and residents – would be exposed to the elements.
Yet, many homeowners treat their roof as “out of sight, out of mind.” This can lead to a failure to properly maintain their roof, which can end in costly roof repair or the need for a roof replacement sooner than necessary.
Why Your Roof is the Most Important Part of Your House
Your Roof Keeps the Weather Out
Imagine living in a home with walls but no roof. The walls, doors, and windows might keep intruders and unwanted animals out but would do virtually nothing to protect the interior from rain, snow, sleet, or the sun’s strong rays.
Beyond that obviously nonsensical image of a home without a roof, consider this. A home might have a roof, but if it is not functioning properly, the elements will still find a way inside. Water always follows the path of least resistance, and even the smallest hole in a roof can be all it needs to sneak in, leading to unsightly stains and even structural damage.
Your Roof Keeps the Treated Air In
Keeping weather out is important, but so is keeping the air inside at a comfortable temperature. As the surface on your home that is most exposed to the sun and weather, your roof is critical in helping control the energy you use for cooling or heating the inside.
A well-functioning, efficient roof can offer significant benefits in conserving energy – and reducing your home’s overall energy costs.
Your Roof Can Increase Your Property Value
Prospective buyers favor homes that have newer roofs since this is a sign that they will not be incurring the expense of a roof installation soon.
A quality, well-maintained roof also improves the curb appeal of your home, since it suggests even from outside that you have cared for your home.
Your Roof Can Lower Homeowners Insurance Premiums
New roofs or roofs that are in good condition represent a lower risk for homeowners insurance companies, so they may offer lower premiums.
The Importance of Professional Roof Maintenance
Having a roof is obviously important, but keeping it maintained properly is the key to getting many years’ worth of protection from it.
Homeowners sometimes do not realize that regular inspections from local roofing companies are readily available at little or no cost. These inspections can lead to recommendations for repairs or maintenance that can help extend the life of the roof and provide protection for the home for longer.
Here are a few of the reasons that roof inspection and roof maintenance are important:
- Regular maintenance can help your roof last longer. Roofing materials have a finite lifespan, but caring for your roof as needed can help ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
- Roof inspections can identify problems before they become larger – and more costly – issues.
- Prevent damage to the structure and inside of your home. Even a small leak left unrepaired can cause rotting, unsightly stains, mold, and mildew inside. These issues are not always obvious until well after the damage has been done, but maintaining your roof can help identify and correct problems quickly.
- Maintaining your roof shows that you care about the home, which makes your property worth more when it is time to sell.
- A properly maintained roof can help your home achieve maximum energy efficiency. Damaged roofs can expose the inside of the home not only to water, but also to the outdoor temperature. Additionally, a leaking roof can cause damage to insulation in attics, reducing its effectiveness.
- Some types of roofs, such as tile roof shingles, benefit from regular cleaning to maintain their visual appeal and their life expectancy.
Homeowners should schedule roof inspections with professional roofers on a regular basis, and also after severe weather events like hurricanes. Doing so increases the likelihood that your roof will last as long as possible.
Many homeowners assume they can do an inspection themselves, but only trained and experienced professionals will be able to do a thorough evaluation to identify problems and potential problems. Here is what to inspect from a roof inspection:
The roofing technician will examine the roofing materials – typically asphalt shingles, clay or concrete tiles, metal, solar, wood shakes, slate, or solar shingles. Depending on the roofing material, the inspector will look for missing or damaged shingles, corrosion or rust, and algae or moss growth. They will also check roof protrusions like skylights, chimneys, and dormers, as well as the flashing.
Any insulation in the attic will be assessed, looking for signs of water damage that could indicate roof damage.
The roofing professional will also examine gutters and downspouts, since they are integral in keeping water off the roof and flowing where it is intended – away from the home.
The foundation and structure of the roof will be inspected, looking for signs of sagging and evaluating the strength of the structural components of the roof, such as rafters and trusses.
Usually, the inspector will check the interior of the home, including attics, ceilings, and walls, looking for water stains, mold, or wood rot. They will also look for the presence of pests in the attic.
DIY Roof Maintenance Tips
While it is highly recommended for both homeowners and commercial property owners to have regular inspections conducted by a professional roofing contractor, there are some things that can be done by property owners. Here are a few suggestions:
- Keep the roof clear of debris. Leaves, twigs, and branches from nearby trees can accumulate on the surface of the roof, especially in areas where dormers, skylights, or chimneys meet the roof surface. As this organic material sits in one place, it can hold moisture. Additionally, as it begins to decay, it can cause damage to the roofing materials.
- Keep gutters and downspouts clear. Vegetation or other materials clogging gutters is not only unsightly and potentially damaging to the gutters, but it can also cause water to back up onto the roof. This standing water can quickly cause damage to the eaves, the roof deck, and ultimately the trusses and roofing materials.
- Cut down or trim large trees near the house. A great deal of damage done to roofs is caused by falling trees or large branches. Trees can provide a valuable benefit in the form of shade that helps reduce energy costs, but a tree that falls onto a roof can cause extensive damage not just to the roof but also to the structural integrity of the entire home. Additionally, branches that overhang the roof and scrape against it can cause wear and tear even if they do not fall, so they should be trimmed.
- Look for signs of excess granule loss from asphalt shingle roofs. The outer surface of asphalt shingles is comprised of small granules. These granules naturally wear off over time after exposure to the weather, but excess granules in gutters, downspouts, or the ground near the building can be a sign that the roof is nearing the end of its useful life.
- Some roofs can benefit from periodic cleaning, not only for the aesthetic value but also to help extend the life of the roofing material. However, it is important to follow manufacturer instructions about the proper ways to clean your roof, since improper cleaning can cause damage and void your materials warranty.
When doing roof maintenance yourself, always remember that safety comes first. Even single-story homes have roofs that are twelve feet or higher off the ground, and a fall can be hazardous or even deadly. Ideally, it is best to avoid going on the roof at all, but if you want to do some DIY roof maintenance, here are some safety tips to consider:
- Always wear appropriate attire. Roof surfaces can get extremely hot on sunny days, and they can be very slippery when wet. Proper footwear is essential for safe roof maintenance.
- Use a ladder that is the correct size to get onto the roof. While it can be tempting to hoist yourself up, that is not only dangerous but also makes getting down challenging.
- Be aware of how steep your roof is. Some roofs are extremely sloped, so maintaining your balance on them can be very difficult for untrained people. If your roof has a high pitch, it is best to stay off it altogether.
- Research whether you should be stepping onto the roof at all. Some roofing materials are fragile and not intended to be walked on, and doing so could cause damage.
- Always have a companion stay on the ground when you go on the roof. They can help steady the ladder and also be available should you need help.
- Never go on the roof when it is raining or snowing, even if there is a leak. If you can see water damage inside the home, waiting until the precipitation has stopped can be frustrating but might save your life.
- Consider what you hope to accomplish while on the roof before you climb the ladder. Have a list of what you want to do, and be sure to take any tools necessary. This will minimize the need for making multiple attempts at getting on and off the roof.
It is easy to assume that roof inspection and maintenance is an easy thing for the average homeowner to do. However, consider that even professional roofers have accidents that result in injury or death. In fact, according to Roofing Contractor, the fatal work injury rate for roofers is 13 times higher than the average rate for other professions.
As a homeowner or business owner, a few extra precautions can go a long way toward keeping yourself safe when doing roof inspections or maintenance.
Stronghold Roofing and Solar
When you need roofing service, contact the best roofing company in Florida – Stronghold Roofing and Solar. We offer a full range of residential and commercial roofing services, from roof inspection and maintenance to repairs and full roof installation.
We provide energy-efficient roofing solutions that will save you money in the long run, as well as emergency services, free inspections, and roofing financing options.
Contact us today for all your roofing needs.