How to Make Your Roof Last Longer
Is it time to replace your roof? Is it time to repair it? You might feel like your roof is nearing the end of its life. When a roof is between 20 to 30 years old, it generally starts to fail. If you have a roof that’s a little younger and want to extend its life or if you have one that is reaching that age and need to save money for a bit longer, what can you do to extend the life of your roof?
View Your Yard as a System
The systems view of your home begins in your garden. After all, the reason you need a roof is because of what’s outside. From water to wind and falling debris, a lot is going on in your yard. While you can’t control all of it, you can control what falls on your roof to some degree. If you want to plant new trees, consider trees that won’t hang over the roof and block your gutters with debris. Also, think about the fact that branches from existing trees can fall onto your roof. This can cause minor to severe damage, so it’s good to keep on top of the pruning in your yard.
View Your Home as a System
When you’re looking at extending the life of your roof, make sure that you are thinking about your home as an integrated system, not as a roof and a collection of other assorted parts. All of the parts of your home do work together, and when you replace one or one has a problem, the others could be responsible.
For instance, if you look at your gutters and downspouts, what do you see? If your gutters are full of debris or packed with ice, they could be causing water to move back up onto the roof. Even a little bit of this water over time will potentially cause rot. As you plan for roof care, make sure that you consider how the water flows away from the roof and into your gutters and downspouts. You can consider:
- Replacing your gutters so that they don’t leak or back up
- Adding a gutter cover to your gutters so that water moves easily from the roof to the ground, without getting caught up in leaves and other debris
- Adding a gutter heating system to ensure that snow and ice do not block your gutters
Setting Out on the Right Path
As with most home projects, a lot of preventative maintenance is also key to managing the longevity of your home. Fresh Home suggests that “the best way to keep your roof in tip-top shape is by developing an active maintenance routine – and actually following it.” In addition to removing branches that could fall on your roof and adding structures like gutter covers and guttering heating, you need to view your home as a wonderful yet fallible place. This means that you conduct or ask someone to conduct regular checks of your home’s integrity, looking for:
- Leaks and cracks in the foundation
- Discolored, softening siding
- Water damage around windows
- Blocked downspouts
- Insect damage to your siding
- Leaking gutters
The more you can investigate your home’s water systems, the easier it is to find problems shortly after they have occurred. This prevents serious, long-term damage.
How do you access your roof to check it regularly? House Logic has a tip for those who are worried about doing regular roof inspections and getting up on a ladder to do so: “You don’t have to climb a ladder to inspect your roof. You can use binoculars.”
What Is Wrong With Your Roof?
When you’re looking at your roof and thinking that it’s time for it to be replaced, could you repair it instead? It is possible that your roof does not need a complete replacement. Signs that your roof could be repaired include:
- There is damage to a small section of the roof rather than damage to the entire roof
- A few shingles are damaged or sliding off
- A small branch has impacted the roof and has damaged the shingles, but it has not caused any structural damage or damage to the roof bed
- The flashing has been damaged, but it’s able to be repaired
- Your gutters are backing up, but you can replace them or add a gutter cover to prevent further damage
It is always helpful to connect with a roofing contractor to determine the true extent of the damage to your home. This will prevent small problems from getting worse.
Is it Time for a Roof Replacement?
There are several signs that it is time for a roof replacement. You just can’t put it off any longer, and doing so would be problematic for your foundation and siding, not to mention the inside of your home. These signs include:
- Structural issues with damage, such as wind damage and holes from branches could require a roof replacement
- If many of your roofing tiles are cracked or sliding from the roof, it’s likely that you need a roof replacement
- If your roof shingles seem to be bubbling, curling, or peeling, they probably need to be replaced
- If you see a lot of roofing granules in your gutters, this means that the coating on your asphalt shingles is coming off, and they are not going to protect your roof much longer
- If you see water inside your home and it continues to drip, then this can cause problems such as mold and rot.
If you’re unsure about whether you need to replace your roof, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Talk with a roofing contractor to see if you can have your roof repaired or if it needs to be replaced.
Choosing the Right Roof
When you decide to put on a new roof, make sure that you choose a roof that is long-lasting and safe for your climate. For instance, you could choose a wood roof, but make sure that your area is not particularly prone to fires, or you could regret your decision. You could choose a metal, tile, or slate roof, but you may need to have someone assess your home to ensure that it can bear the weight of that roofing choice. Tile roofs are also very prone to breakage, even though they are attractive, particularly for Mediterranean-style homes.
Choosing the Right Contractor
If you need to replace your roof, know that investing in the right materials and the right contractor will help your new roof last longer. While you might not be in the home for the next 20 to 30 years, know that a newer roof is also a selling point for new buyers if you see yourself downsizing in the next few decades.
How can you choose the right contractor?
- Choose someone who is responsive to questions and can answer yours.
- Choose a contractor who had extensive installation experience—going cheap could mean that you buy into shoddy workmanship.
- Find a person who wants to do a good job, rather than a cheap job. For instance, the company should be honest about whether you need a roof replacement and should not offer to simply place a new roof on the old, leaking one. This does not address the underlying issues.
- Find a contractor with an excellent warranty on both materials and labor. That means that if something does go wrong with your roof, you’ll have the recourse you need to get that roof replaced or repaired.
Are you curious about your roofing options? At Harry Helmet, we have many years of experience working with roofs across the country. We’re here to support you as you look at your roofing possibilities, and we can give you a solid estimate and advice that will inform your roofing project. Contact us to learn more, and schedule a free estimate.