Depending on the roofing materials used and how well a homeowner maintains their roof, a residential roof can last at least two decades. The lifespan of traditional, asphalt shingle rooftops average 20 to 25 years; most metal roofs will remain in reasonably good condition for up to 30.
Unfortunately, extreme weather events can significantly cut into the lasting power of residential rooftops. Keep your roof in tip-top condition by planning ahead and knowing what issues to monitor. Here are a few ways to safeguard roofs from extreme conditions:
Maintain Regular Roof Inspections
Many homeowners may not know they need to schedule regular roof inspections, and how such inspections help extend the lifespan of their residential roof. They are especially important to identify and fix problematic issues early on and significantly contribute toward making your roof last longer. Regular inspections, maintenance and timely repairs will save you money from repairing damage that may have been overlooked otherwise.
What can you expect from a professional roofing inspection? Professionals will walk your roof, looking for any obvious or not-so-obvious signs of roof damage, indicating where repairs may be needed and sections needing a careful eye in the future. “A few missing or broken shingles should be individually replaced, and loose shingle tabs should be re-adhered,” The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association explains. Inspectors also look out for rotting, decaying, cracked or missing shingles, damaged flashing, opportunities for leaks and mitigate potential damage with quick, minor repairs.
Additional wear from weather, UV rays and aging is inevitable and the condition of your roof may continue to decline over time. Keep up on roof inspections to catch this wear and tear right away and fix it as soon as possible before it leads to greater problems.
Inspect the Surrounding Area
The landscape and features surrounding your home can pose significant problems. Don’t risk damage to your residential roof by ignoring large or overgrown trees close to your home. Trim or remove tree branches that hang over your roof, and ask roofing companies to point out any trees or surrounding landscape features that might spell trouble now or in the future.
Similarly, be extra mindful about removing dead foliage and vegetation from your roof and gutters. Dry leaves, twigs and other debris can easily pile up in gutters. Without proper drainage, clogged gutters will prevent water from draining properly from your home. If the rain drains off down the side of your home, it can weaken the foundation. If the gutters are full of water, it can also seep up underneath the edge of your roof, and over time are likely to cause leaks.
Look For Leaks and Water Damage
Regardless of the season, it is critical to find leaks and repair them as soon as possible – before violent storms come through. Water damage poses serious problems to not only the health of your roof, but also the rest of your home. Without prompt repairs, roof leaks and subsequent water damage can endanger your health and safety, and may necessitate roof replacement and repairs to affected areas in your home.
What is the best way to spot leaks? Leaks are most likely to occur near flashing (metal surrounding chimneys and other fixtures on your roof), or anywhere your roof meets walls, skylights or vent pipes. If your roof is missing shingles, this also poses an opportunity for water to get underneath the first protective layer to cause leaks. Inside your attic, check for wet insulation, drips and pooling water. In both the attic and rest of your home, look for water stains, gaping, warping and other signs of water damage.
Understand the Dangers of Hail Damage
The good news here is that, if you are keeping up on maintenance and routine repairs, your roof may be in pretty good shape before a hailstorm. Protecting the integrity of your residential roof with regular inspections and by replacing torn, missing, or cracked shingles as soon as you notice them can lessen the extent of potential hail damage. Note that even minor hail impacts can cause granule loss on shingles, and this loss reduces a roof’s protection against UV rays. Larger hail can compromise flashing, or cause dents or even puncture one or more layers in your roof, all of which should be fixed promptly before water damage can occur.
It’s important to schedule an inspection (and possibly repairs) after a hail storm passes through the area and you notice signs of hail damage on your roof.
Inspect Your Roof after Extreme Weather and Heavy Winds
As a roof ages and deteriorates over time, continuous exposure to extreme weather and heavy winds can pose an increasing risk to the condition of a residential roof. After big storms or high winds, inspect the roof to the best of your ability, either using binoculars or a ladder to see if any damage has occurred. Even if no tree limbs, debris or hail landed on your roof, heavy winds could have inflicted damage. While severe wind may not seem to pose a large risk, it can actually rip portions or entire pieces of shingles loose. Especially for homes with overhangs (which are vulnerable to uplift), violent winds and/or storms can lead to tearing, uplift or lost shingles.
In short, there are many issues to track that can cause damage to your residential roof. Protect your investment in your home with regular roof inspections and repairs, preventative maintenance and damage mitigation measures after severe weather. Follow the guidelines above, and reach out to our team at Select Construction for your next residential roof inspection and repairs.