Roofs take a lot of beating up. They are exposed to battering winds and rain, heat and UV rays from the sun, and constantly changing temperatures. So it is no surprise that a roof needs a little tender love and care from time to time. You would never expect your car to run for 20 years without a tuneup, and you shouldn’t expect your roof to last that long without a little help. An asphalt roof that is cared for can last 20 years or more. But a roof that is neglected may need replacement in just 15 years. Fortunately, most routine maintenance is pretty simple. But putting off roof repairs when problems arise can shorten the life of your roof and cost you lots of money in expensive repairs or early replacement.
There is some basic maintenance that you can do to keep your roof around for as long as possible.
First, don’t let your gutters clog. We know that cleaning out gutters is no one’s idea of fun, but it is vital to the health of your roof. Gutters help direct rainwater away from your roof, but clogged gutters disrupt that function. Standing water is the enemy of your roof, so getting water off your roof quickly with clear gutters will make a huge difference in the lifespan of your roof.
Second, don’t let your roof accumulate debris. If you live near trees—as many of us do here in Atlanta—those trees can dump a whole bunch of leaves on your roof. Of course, the worst will be in the fall, when trees shed most of their leaves. But leaves and twigs can pile up on your roof any time of year. Plus, Atlanta is homes to many beautiful evergreen trees that will keep dropping needles on your roof ally ear long. Don’t let that debris collect on your roof. It will collect moisture, and you will recall that moisture is your roof’s worst enemy. Keeping your roof clean with allow moisture to drain. Organic debris on your roof can also become home to pests that might attack your roof or invade your home, so keeping the roof clear will protect your house.
Third, keep an eye on your roof. Some basic inspecting can be done from the ground. Take a good hard look at your roof from time to time and look for irregularities like bumps, curling shingles, or discoloration. Be sure to check your downspouts, too. If you find granules by your downspout the look kind of like small gravel, you have a problem. Those are protective granules that are coming loose from your shingles, leaving them vulnerable to UV rays. If you see granules, call a roofer for an inspection. Make sure to take a good look around after a severe storm for any bits of shingle that have blown off or shingles that may be loose.
Think of your roof the same way you would think of your car. Some basic maintenance is enough to keep it in good shape most of the time. But sometimes there are signs of a problem. Maybe the check engine light is on, or you hear a loud thumping when you turn on the engine. The responsible thing to do in that situation is to take the car to a mechanic to diagnose the problem and repair it before the damage spreads. Roofs can give you signs of problems too. When that happens, it’s time to call a reliable roofer like Eagle Watch Roofing to diagnose and repair whatever has gone wrong. Timely small repairs can prevent more extensive damage.
1. Damaging Your Roofing Structure
The shingles you see are just the outer shell of your roof. They protect everything underneath. Beneath your shingles is usually a layer of underlayment. The underlayment is a second moisture barrier, but it can be damaged by too much moisture if the shingles are broken. Beneath the underlayment is the decking, usually large plywood boards that form the bottom layer of your roof and give your roof structure. The decking is held up by a framework of joists and beams that are the skeleton of your roof.
If the shingles are damaged, water can begin to infiltrate the lower layers of your roof. The longer the damage is left unrepaired, the further the water can penetrate, and the more damage it can do. If the underlayment becomes saturated, it can begin to shrink and warp, taking your shingles with it. The same is true of your decking. Soaked plywood can deform and even soften, putting your roof at serious risk of collapse. If the water penetrates to the frame of your roof, it can start to saturate the beams. Saturated beams can become spongy or begin to rot. At this point, the very structure of your roof is in danger.
2. Ruined Insulation
Your attic is the primary barrier between your roof and your living space. To protect both your roof and the living space below, your attic should be appropriately insulated. Some attics use blanket insulation that is nailed to the ceiling or floor or both. Other attics have loose insulation that is spread around the flood or the attic. Whichever type of insulation you have, if it gets wet it no longer functions properly.
Part of what makes insulation effective is that it is fluffy. It holds lots of air that forms a barrier for heat and cold. When insulation gets wet, it clumps. Clumpy insulation just doesn’t work. Any insulation that is damaged by water will have to be ripped out and replaced. So repairing your roof before water can get to your attic will save you lots of money on materials and labor repairing ruined insulation.
All living things need moisture to survive, including mold. Mold thrives in warm, moist areas. If part of your home is wet and remains wet over days and weeks, you run the risk of mold growth. Whether it’s your insulation, your drywall, or even the wood of your home’s frame, wet material is a haven for bacteria and fungi that can make you sick. In addition to the effect it has on your health, mold can damage your wallet. Mold testing and remediation can be costly, and insurance usually won’t cover it.
4. Fire Danger
It may seem counterintuitive, but when water is penetrating your roof, you run the risk of fire damage. Most of us take our home electrical system for granted. When we flip a switch the lights turn on. When we need power, we plug into an outlet and get what we need. But the guts of your electrical system is actually hundreds of feet of wire running through almost every wall of your home. Unfortunately, water and electricity don’t mix well. So if water is getting into the interior spaces of your home, including your attic, you run the risk of shorting out your electrical system. The best outcome would be a blown fuse. But there is also the possibility of starting a fire.
Repairs When You Need Them
As you can see, there is plenty of reason to make repairs to your roof as you need them and not to wait until they get worse. If you think you have any damage to your roof, or if you just haven’t had anyone look at your roof in a few years, contact Eagle Watch Roofing. We’ll come to your home and do an assessment of the state of your roof. We will note any damage we find and suggest repairs. You’ll get a quote on the spot, and we’ll be happy to start the repairs as soon as you are ready. So don’t get caught by damage that has gone too far. Call us today!