5 Roofing Maintenance Tips to Extend Your Roof’s Lifetime
The average homeowner doesn’t think to inspect and care for their roof though ongoing maintenance. But just like any other part of your home, it is not immune to wear and tear.
It goes without saying that installing a new roof is a costly project; you want to get as much lifetime out of your roof as possible. Many of the roofs we replace in the Phoenix area aren’t lasting as long as they should due to poor upkeep.
A properly installed roof, made from high-quality materials, and properly cared for through effective maintenance, can last an upwards of 30 years.
UV-Rays Kill a Roof’s Lifetime
“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”
The sun takes its toll on on your roof and will diminish its lifetime. And in Arizona, we’re not in a shortage of UV rays.
As soon as a new roof is installed, it begins absorbing UV rays and solar radiation. Phoenix is among the sunniest city in the country but sunshine alone is not the killer – UV rays penetrate through clouds so just because you don’t get tons of sunshine doesn’t mean your roof is immune to the sun’s damaging effects.
Have you ever noticed how faded and washed-out the asphalt on the street gets after years of sitting in the Arizona sun? That’s pretty much the exact same thing that happens to your roof; asphalt on the road and asphalt shingles use many of the same composition and chemicals.
Over time, the sun will start to break down and erode the materials your roof is made of. As a result, the shingles will fade, dry out, and begin to crack. When this happens, the shingles are no longer able to repel and deflect water, instead water makes its way through the cracks – and eventually through the roof itself.
Roofs can get pretty hot, too – upwards of 160 degrees on a hot summer day. This speeds up the UV rays’ damaging effects even further. And if the roof is not properly ventilated, heat will build up underneath the shingles and in the attic – which can result in condensation buildup.
1. Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Roof from UV-Rays
So What Can I Do To “Keep the Tears From Falling” . . . Into My Home?
There isn’t much you can do to keep the sun from beaming down on your roof and eventually taking its toll. However, you can help protect it and prolong its lifespan by applying a reflective coating.
The best time to install a reflective coating is during installation, but you can also have it reapplied before your roof begins to show signs of deterioration. This coating will reduce the amount of thermal energy the roof absorbs to help prevent thermal shock – when the roof expands and then shrinks due to heat, warping and cracking in the process.
Types of Reflective Coatings
Reflective coatings are usually categorized into two types: water-based acrylic and aluminum coating.
Acrylic coatings are the more common and usually the best choice for your home roof. It does an excellent job defending against Infrared heat from the sun, effectively reducing how much heat is passed through the shingles roof core – and into the house. This is a nice bonus, as it can help more effectively insulate your home and keep temperatures down – reducing your air-conditioning costs as well. Acrylic coatings are also usually the cheapest form of reflective coating, so they can be the most cost-effective over the long run and are cheap to reapply over time.
But acrylic does have its own shortcomings; it doesn’t stand up well to puddles of water for long duration of time. This may not be as much of a concern for Phoenix residences as it me be to someone in the mid-west.
Acrylic coatings also don’t have very high tensile strength, so instead of flexing with the shingles as they eventually move and resettle due to heat and cold over time, the coating will just crack – allowing water and sunlight to get in anyway.
Aluminum coatings are more often used on commercial building’s roofs as opposed to home roofs.As aluminum is very reflective, this coating can greatly increase how much heat a metal or modified bitumen roof reflects.
Aluminum coatings are comprised of a combination of asphalt and an aluminum paste. They last much longer than acrylic coatings, and do wonders to remove the appearance of rust while maintaining the roof’s shiny metal appearance. They are not very good, however, at adding any waterproofing – and can be quite expensive.
Aluminum coatings may be good for some homes with metal roofing, but for your typical asphalt shingle roof – a basic acrylic coating is likely better.
2. Cleaning the Roof
Fungus, mold and mildew might not be urgent problems, but can lead to some pretty nasty problems over time. They also just make your home look shabby.
If you’re comfortable climbing on the roof, you can easily do a regular mold clean up using some cleaning solution and a hose or bucket of water and some elbow grease. Just be careful not to damage any shingles while you’re at it.
Moss shouldn’t be a huge issue on dry Arizona roofs, but if your home sits in the shade and has some problems with it – zinc strips can help.
3. Clear the Roof from Branches
If a tree falls in your backyard and no one is around to hear it, can it still destroy your roof?
Yes. Yes, it can.
This might be the most obvious roof-saving tip you’ve ever heard, but large branches hanging over your roof are a disaster waiting to happen. One storm coming through can easily knock them right off and onto your roof.
Even if branches don’t fall into your roof, low-hanging and smaller branches can easily brush up on your shingles the wind, wearing them down and damaging them over time.
4. Don’t Ignore Small Imperfections
A single small leak during a major thunderstorm is a minor issue. One that can wait to be fixed. Right?
Wrong. Roof leaks can start small but very quickly grow to a quite large and unmanageable size. Water seeping in through a small crack in the roof can leave a very large footprint of water damage in the ceiling, walls and floors – weakening the structure and the plaster and leading to even larger holes.
A roof leak will never get better on its own. Have you ever heard someone say, “My roof used to leak, but then, all of a sudden, it just stopped. . . ?”
No, you haven’t.
5. Don’t Walk On Your Roof
Frequently walking on your roof isn’t really a good idea – and can lead to some trouble down the road. Try and avoid it as much as possible. In fact, don’t let roofing contractors walk on your roof unless its absolutely necessary. And whatever you do, don’t let roof cleaning companies walk on the roof as they clean it. Cleaning a roof regularly is not a roof maintenance tip; many times it does more harm than good.
Horror stories about roofs being serviced by power washing abound – with shingles breaking and being torn off. Be sure it’s absolutely necessary and vet the washing service well before making any power-washing decisions.
Regularly inspecting your roof and performing proactive and preventative maintenance can go a long way to preventing damage and extending your roof’s lifespan. Spring, the beginning of summer and early fall – before the chill sets it in – are ideal times to perform a routine roof inspection and do any “spring cleaning.”
Red flags to look for included cracked tiles, curled shingles and breaking down or decomposing of roofing materials. Missing shingles are also important to watch for, as they can indicate leaks and potential weak spots.You should also check the attic for leaks after a heavy storm, or before the rainy season begins.
Repair any seals and carefully inspect the flashing and joints; key areas where most leaks are found. Flashing covers areas of the roof around where vents, chimney, skylights or an exhaust pipes are usually installed, and you can inspect them with both a pair of binoculars from the ground (if you don’t like heights) and from a ladder.
And of course, if you live in the Phoenix metro area and want to schedule an inspection – give us a call.
We’ll provide a full inspection, provide any needed roofing maintenance, and let you know if its time to replace the roof. In that case, we can provide a competitive and affordable roofing replacement estimate.