Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home. It shelters you from the elements and helps to keep your indoor climate just right. When cared for properly, you can expect your roof to last for several decades. Proper maintenance goes a long way to keeping your roof in good condition, but you need to know what problems to look for as your roof ages. Help it age gracefully by learning how to check for these three potential midlife problems.
Your Roof is Older Than Your College-Age Child
One of the earliest indicators that you probably need to have your roof looked at relates not to its visual condition, but to its age. Any roof over 20 years old will invariably have at least a few problems whether it was maintained well or not. This is just a fact of life for homeowners, because the average lifespan of a roof is about the same.
All that exposure to wind, rain and snow will eventually erode away shingles and damage tin, wood, or even clay.
Of course, that doesn't mean you should ignore your roof for about 20 years and then look into fixing problems retroactively. You should still inspect at least two to four times a year for smaller issues, like damaged shingles or weakened beams.
Your Shingles Sail Off on the Breeze Like Mary Poppins
Shingles are meant to stay secured to your roof, even in fairly intense weather. Unless you're in the middle of a category 3 hurricane, mild to moderate winds should not impact your roof at all. If you happen to notice one or more shingles floating away on the breeze, you need to make it a priority to double-check each one for problems.
The most common cause of lost shingles, outside of extreme weather, is failure to install them correctly in the first place. This may be due to defective materials or an inexperienced contractor.
Often, shingle failure occurs because a homeowner had a new roof put on during poor weather, usually some time outside of the spring or fall. When a roofer attaches each shingle, he or she uses a sealing mixture that requires several weeks of sun and dry weather to truly "set", and this can't happen if your local weather is wet, humid or damp. This weakened seal holds out for a year, maybe two--but then you start to see them break off one by one.
Either way, it can and often does have a cascade effect on the rest of your roof. Once that initial piece comes off, rain, snow, and ice can tunnel in under the other shingles much more easily. Suddenly, you not only have a problem with your shingles--the structural integrity of your roof is compromised, too. For this reason, even the loss of a single shingle should be investigated.
You Have a Lovely, Rich Green Carpet--On Your Roof
There's nothing better than the feel of a rich, green carpet of moss against your bare feet--unless that carpet happens to be on your roof. While moss is generally an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, and not necessarily something to discourage in your backyard, when it forms on a roof it's usually a sign of leaks or moisture intrusion.
If you already have a fairly thick layer, you're at the point where there's enough of a problem that you need to contact a professional immediately. If you just see one or two quarter-size spots, you may be able to treat the issue locally.
First, understand what moss likes. As a plant, it prefers shady, damp environments--houses situated under a large-leafed tree or overhang make the perfect home. Humidity and regular rain can increase your risk of developing a moss problem, as can sprinklers that accidentally happen to spray your roof several times per day.
To remove small moss spots, use a long-handled scrub brush. Dip the brush in a weak bleach solution (about 1 tablespoon of bleach to 2 gallons of water) and gently brush the moss away. Never use a pressure washer or scrub hard against your roof, as you may create additional micro-cracks that make the problem worse.
Once removed, monitor your roof closely and try to clear the area above of it of foliage. The more direct sunlight it receives, the less likely you are to develop a problem. Have the roof inspected professionally to ensure that it is sealed and in good repair.
With a little bit of TLC and patience, you can expect to enjoy your roof for decades. For best results, or for questions about any of the above residential roofing issues, contact a professional for an inspection. He or she will give you the peace of mind you need to know you're protected from the elements at all times.
Does your heating bill send you into a state of shock? If so, now is the time for you to begin making changes to your home to bring the cost of heating your home down. In years past, my heating bill was actually more than my mortgage was. It really made getting through the winter difficult for my family. I decided to do something about the high bills. I started with insulation, then invested in some new windows, and I also changed the way that we used our utilities. You can learn everything that I did to reduce my heating bill so that you can cut your heating bill as well.