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October 11, 2023

How To Extend the Lifespan of Your Roof

Wondering how to extend the lifespan of your roof? Your house is a haven beneath the limitless blue sky; it protects you from the weather and provides comfort throughout the year. And crowning your home on top of it all is the roof, the unsung hero of your little domicile.

It's the first thing that stands between you and the wrath of summer's heat, the crushing weight of winter, and everything in between. But have you ever wondered whether or not your roof is functioning properly?Are you giving it the time and consideration it requires?

With the typical cost of a new roof running into the thousands, you'll want to do everything you can to extend the life of your current one. Luckily, various strategies are available to you for extending the service life of your roof, as this article aims to shed light on.

How Long Do Roofs Last?

A roof is a delicate structure comprising different components that each play a role in its function. If either part fails or gets compromised, the whole roof may be in danger of getting damaged.

Each of these components also has a shelf life that will eventually lead to roof replacement even though other parts are not as damaged. The total life expectancy of a roof can be considered the time most or just a few of these components begin to fail, giving you time to replace them. 

Roof TypeCommon Roofing MaterialsLife Expectancy (Years)
Sloped     Asphalt Shingles20-30
Wood Shingles30+
Metal Roofing40+
Clay or Concrete Tiles50+
Synthetic Roofing50+
Flat      Built-Up Roofing (BUR)15-30
Modified Bitumen20-40
Single-Ply Membrane (TPO, EPDM, PVC)20-30
Metal Roofing40+
Green Roofing30-50+
PVC Membrane20-30
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)20-30

How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Roof 

Do you want to make the most of your roof? Since your roof comprises many components, it's important to check on them individually to ensure they're in good shape. How can you do that?

There will always be hacks and techniques to help you get more years out of your roof, but you need to ensure you aren't just throwing money away. It's not wise to spend more on maintenance than replacing the roof.

1. Cleaning

Cleaning your roof is a vital aspect of maintenance since it removes mold, fungus, and other microorganisms that can cause damage to your roof over time. When cleaning, though, it's important to consider the material.

For instance, untreated wood shakes may absorb water when cleaning; a brush or scrubber is necessary. If you're unsure what material your roof is composed of, a professional can help you clean it without damaging it.

  • Routinely Clean Gutters

Gutters allow water to drain away from your property, especially during rainstorms or when the snow melts, to prevent roof damage. If your gutters become clogged with dirt, leaves, or other debris, water will pool and eventually rot away at the wood or shingles on your roof.

The water can freeze during the winter, forming ice dams or absorbed by the shingles, hastening their deterioration. Water seepage could cause leaks in your home.

Most people can clean their gutters safely and effectively if they take their time and use the right equipment. Once every three months is a good rule of thumb for cleaning, but you should check on them more frequently than that.

  • Avoid Power-Washing Shingles

Pressure washing your roof may seem like a good idea, but it should be avoided if at all possible. A powerful spray can dislodge granules in the top layer of asphalt shingles, and the warranty may not cover any ensuing damage.

Instead, get someone to come in with a broom or leaf blower, or do it yourself to get rid of the dirt and moss. Seek out a company that concentrates on gentle washing and roof cleaning if you're serious about cleaning your roof.

  • Limit Moss Growth

A roof can be negatively affected by something as natural and light as moss, which seems counterintuitive. Your roof may have more moss if it's close  to or under a lot of trees and has a damp or tropical climate.

Now, why is moss such a negative thing? If you have moss on your roof, it acts like a sponge, soaking up water every time it rains, which puts unnecessary strain on your roof and can even cause structural damage. In addition, this can do extensive harm to your roof's shingles and other components.

2. Inspection

In many cases, the condition of your roof can be determined merely by visual inspection. A skilled roofer will be able to spot small problems before they become major catastrophes, something that the untrained eye just cannot do.

That's why it's important to schedule regular roof inspections. Inspection should be performed at least once a year, but every two to three years is acceptable as long as the necessary maintenance is being performed.

Roofing MaterialWhat Roofing Inspections Look ForWhere Inspections Focus
Asphalt Shingles- Damaged or missing shingles  - Curling or cupping - Granule loss - Leaks or stains in the attic or ceilings- The condition of shingles across the entire roof - Flashing around roof penetrations - Ventilation systems
Wood Shingles- Rot or decay - Split or cracked shingles - Moss or algae growth - Loose or missing shingles- Shingle condition and integrity - Wood quality and moisture levels - Ventilation and insulation
Metal Roofing- Rust or corrosion - Loose or damaged panels - Sealant integrity - Fastener condition- Metal panel condition and fastening - Flashing and seams - Gutters and drainage
Clay/Concrete Tiles- Cracked or chipped tiles - Loose or displaced tiles - Broken or damaged underlayment - Leaks or water stains- Tile condition and alignment - Underlayment integrity - Flashing and valleys
Slate- Cracked or missing slates - Delamination or spalling - Loose or damaged fasteners - Leaks or water damage- Slate condition and quality - Fastening system integrity - Roof structure support
Synthetic Roofing- Tears or punctures in synthetic material - Seams and overlaps integrity - UV damage or fading - Debris or vegetation accumulation- Synthetic material condition - Seam and joint inspections - Drain

After a storm, especially one with heavy rain or wind, it's important to check the condition of your roof. If you take a walk around your house, you can easily spot any damaged tiles, trash, or pooling on the roof.

Wind and rain can cause damage to your roof, so it's important to inspect it after a storm. Windy conditions increase the risk of roof damage from falling trees and other debris.

Hail can create dents, leaks, granule loss, and holes in asphalt shingle roofs, so it's possible that yours was damaged during the storm. The gutters are a good indicator of roof damage during a hailstorm since dents in the gutters also mean that the roof is likely damaged.

3. Repair

Preventative maintenance and early attention to damage are essential to extending the life of a roof.

  • Replace Missing Shingles or Tiles 

Water can leak in and rot the sheath underneath if a shingle is missing or damaged. This is bad for the roof itself, but it can also drive up your energy costs by making the roof less efficient..

  • Seal Roof Penetrations

 Check that all roof penetrations (vents, pipes, HVAC units) are correctly sealed to avoid water damage. When necessary, use flashing or sealants of the highest quality.

  • Replace Damaged Shingles or Tiles

If your roof is covered with asphalt shingles, wood shingles, or tiles, you should replace any broken or missing shingles or tiles as soon as possible. Waterproofing your roof requires that all seams and fasteners are properly sealed and in place.

  • Repair Flashing

Flashing should be inspected for damage or degradation around roof penetrations (chimneys, vents, skylights). Flashing should be replaced or repaired if it has been compromised in any way to ensure that water cannot enter the structure.

4. Pro-Active Maintenance

Proactive maintenance in roofing is essential for several reasons, all of which contribute to the long-term durability and cost-effectiveness of your roofing system. If you want your roof to last past its shelf life, you want to have pro-active maintenance on it.

  • Add Home Insulation

Insulating your home not only helps you save money on your energy bill, but it can also extend the life of your roof. When you insulate your attic, you prevent the buildup of warm air that can damage your shingles. 

It's important to avoid blocking the attic vents when putting up insulation. Inadvertently covering the vents can devastate your roof because they are responsible for airflow in the attic.

  • Ensure Proper Attic Ventilation

Maintaining a healthy roof requires a steady flow of cool air into the attic and heated air out. An obstacle that prevents airflow can result in a moist attic, which in turn can lead to water buildup and, you guessed it, mold.

Without proper attic ventilation, your roof will suffer from the damaging effects of extreme temperatures. Condensation forms in the cold attic in the winter as heat and moisture from the inside of the house rise to the attic, and in the summer, the hot air from your attic burns your roof, causing the adhesives in the decking to deteriorate and the shingles to crack or curl. 

Make sure the soffits (the intake vents on the underside of the roof) and roof vents are in good working order at least once a year. While a homeowner can perform this, an expert should be contacted if problems arise or if access to the roof is required (such as when checking a vent).

  • Avoid Ice Dams

In colder climates, ice dams are a prevalent hazard that can be avoided by removing snow from the roof using a snow rake and keeping gutters clean. Before the winter weather sets in, make sure the spaces beneath your roof, eaves, and ridges have adequate airflow to prevent freezing.

When an ice dam forms, it can block the water flow off your roof, leading to a puddle or even a leak inside your home. This is especially helpful in the intersections of roofing planes like valleys, where ice dams can form and cause leaks.

  • Trim Nearby Trees

Depending on the type and age of the trees in your area, you may be surprised to learn that cutting them is an essential element of routine roof maintenance. Even while trees are lovely and can give shade, you shouldn't have limbs that could potentially cause damage to your roof.

Overhanging branches, leaves, and palm tree fronds can scratch or affect your roof, and pine needles regularly clog roof drainage systems. Overhanging tree limbs cause water to drop continually during rainstorms, eroding the protected top layer of your roof and creating a gateway for pests to enter your home.

If you want to make sure no branches fall on your roof while trimming them, it's best to let the pros handle it.

  • Choose A Reputable Roofing Contractor

If you want your roof to last as long as possible and look good doing it, contact a professional. A reliable roofer will know all about the many roofing options and which would work best in your area.

They'll be able to make any necessary repairs or replacements swiftly and effectively, too, which will help your roof last for a lot longer. It's important to research and get satisfied clients' references before hiring a roofing contractor.

  • Avoid Walking on the Roof

Even though it's necessary to inspect for damage and clean the gutters from time to time, you shouldn't spend too much time roaming about on your roof. Granules on an asphalt roof shield it from the elements and prolong the asphalt's lifespan. 

If there aren't enough roof granules to protect the asphalt from sunlight, they'll be worn away as you walk on the roof.

The Importance of Ventilation in Your Roofing System

Maintaining your roof results in better energy efficiency, cleaner air, and a higher house value. You may extend the life of your roof considerably by keeping the roof and gutters clean, trimming overhanging branches, and ensuring adequate airflow in the attic.Similar considerations should be given to professional annual inspections, storm roof inspections, and replacing or repairing damaged tiles. Ventilation and roof maintenance work together to prolong roof life. Find out why ventilation is so important for your roofing system.

Southern Roofing Solutions

Southern Roofing Solutions specializes in providing 
roofing services to residential and commercial properties 
in the Huntsville area. Our services include Roof Installation, 
Roof Repair, Roof Maintenance, and Roof Replacement.
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