Your roof is an integral part of your home, perhaps the most essential; and it may be fair to say that if your roof is healthy, your house is sound. Regular roof maintenance, therefore, is key to keeping the integrity of your roof intact, as leaving it to brave the elements, year after year, without periodic conservation checks will cause it to degrade over time, leak, and present you with long-term damage that could well be massive. Being proactive with regular and thorough maintenance checks will save your roof and spare your pocket book. So, what should you be monitoring on a regular basis?
“The number one cause of roofing leaks is the deterioration of a roof’s pipe collars,” says Derek Worstell of Pyramid Roofing and a New Town resident. It is key, therefore, to inspect these collars, annually. Pipe collars secure vent pipes to your roof, vents that serve as conduits for gas and/or air escaping from your home. The base of the pipe vent is usually made of PVC and in some cases, iron. The collar—or gasket—however is usually made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber, that will last roughly 12 to 15 years but can break down prematurely, especially in oppressive heat, year after year. Inspecting pipe collars for deterioration regularly is wise, replacing your pipes with new neoprene collars when required. Better still, replacing those worn collars with ones made of rot-resistant metal is wisest of all and takes the worry of your roof leaking from this source entirely off the table. The easiest way to check the condition of your pipe collars is to inspect your attic for daylight coming through from around the pipes. Seeing daylight is evidence that the pipe collars have rotted.
The second roofing condition for the home owner to monitor is for the presence of roofing debris and/or clogged gutters. With a clogged gutter system, rain water will be prevented from flowing through the system properly and will result in damage to your roof, fascia, soffits—and eventually, the foundation of your home. Many local roofing companies offer cost-effective gutter cleaning packages. Pyramid Roofing, for example, offers a comprehensive service plan via a membership in their Yellow Truck Club. For $179, the company, once a year, will blow a roof free of leaves and debris and offer a full written inspection of the roof at that time. In addition, members will receive 10% off all roof repairs. While Pyramid does not offer annual gutter cleaning services, they offer the installation of gutter protection screens to help prevent leaf build-up and will do a one-time gutter cleaning at installation. Keeping your gutters flowing is a sure way of keeping your roof from leaking and consequently, keeping damaging water out of your home.
Similar to the second roof condition to assess is the third: algae growth. Algae thrives in dampness and shade where its spores can grow on wood shingles or shakes and even asphalt shingles if the roof fails to get enough sunlight in whole or in part. Algae retains moisture which will cause the shingles in the areas of growth to deteriorate very quickly. It spreads quickly and will cause shingles to lift and your roof to leak. “Have your roof cleaned with a soft chemical wash as soon as you detect algae on your roof. Do not wait 20 years to do so. After 20 years, washing your roof can damage older, more brittle shingles.” Power washing is never advisable as the force of the water may damage or remove shingles, entirely.
The fourth roofing condition to examine regularly is the state of your attic. “Inspect your attic once a year, at the very least,” advises Worstell. “Look for leaks and stains, especially after a heavy rain.” Discoloration, moisture, puddles, or mold in your attic are sure signs of roof damage. If any of these are present, it’s time for a professional roof inspection and an assessment for repair to address the problem areas.
Four periodic checks, uncomplicated and requiring just a little time and diligence, will go a long way in maintaining a sound and problem-free roof. Tight-fitting pipe collars, clean gutters, algae-free roofs, and dry attics are the means to a roof that will last for years to come and with any luck, even out live its life expectancy.