This past fall, I had the blessed opportunity and ability to purchase my forever home – a quaint 1970’s traditional ranch style brick home. However, this provided me with the necessity to buy all new kitchen appliances, and a couple of days later, I was forcibly given the opportunity to purchase a new water heater to be installed when the original one suddenly died. As all homeowners can probably relate, there’s been other unexpected expenses and repairs I’ve encountered in my new home. But I, like many homeowners, am not prepared at this time to incur the cost of a new roof on my home.
Can I afford a new roof now, and if not, what can I do to prolong the life of the one I have?
The most significant and vital protective ‘system’ for the proper function of a home is the roof. Upon considering buying my future home, I had the shingled roof inspected.
LISTEN UP ALL YOU FUTURE HOME BUYERS!
We looked closely at the general condition of the shingles and areas of flashing, such as where the brick chimney connects to the roof or the exhaust pipes. During the professional appraisal process, I requested that the attic be inspected specifically to investigate any potential issues where the vent pipes for the plumbing, bathroom vents, and stove hood vents cut through the roof. A prime source of leaks and damage occurs where there are penetrations through the roof, such as these.
There are very practical steps that you and I, as homeowners, can take to prolong the life of our roofs.
These suggestions are helpful regardless of what type of roof you have on your home. You don’t have to be a roofing expert or a weekend warrior DIY’er. Let’s discuss what some of those practical steps are.
I think it is important to say that if you do not feel comfortable on a ladder, walking on your roof or if your roof is particularly steep – PLEASE by all means ask someone for their assistance. Whether this means calling a relative, neighbor, your local handyman, your landscaper, or even a roofing repairman – please enlist assistance as opposed to risking your safety or neglecting your roof. For most of these services, there should be minimal expenses associated if you must pay someone to do this for you.
Be sure that all tree limbs that are touching or closely overhanging your roof are cut back.
This is a very basic rule of thumb that your homeowner’s insurance company might already require of you, particularly at policy renewal time or when buying a new policy. Truly, this is only possible to a certain degree, right? If you’ve got very old tall pine trees in close proximity to your house, you’re not going to be able to remove the highest limbs that hover over your house. However, this is doable within reason if you’ve got trees with lower, reachable branches.
Remove bio-matter from your roof.
The build-up of pine needles or leaves, in a short time, becomes a breeding ground for mold, algae and invasive insects on shingle roofs. On metal roofs, extended contact with moisture-holding bio-matter can lead to the premature breakdown of the finish and/or discoloration of the colored panel. The standing moisture on the shingle can eventually penetrate the roofing system. This would be particularly bad news if your roof weren’t properly installed with ice and water shield in the valleys or starter shingles at the perimeter – becoming the leading cause of decking rot.
Help restore the health and look of your roof by getting it soft washed.
Now, especially after you’ve done these things or even without doing any of this, you may notice that your roof has lost its original color, it looks dingy, or you may see what appears to be black streaks that look like dirt on your roof. You may find yourself wondering if it is possible to clean your roof. Not only is the answer to that question – Yes! But it’s possibly the best thing you can do to significantly prolong the life of your roof – no matter what type of roof you have. Why is that? I’m glad you asked!
Remember when we talked about the biomass that is so often found on a roof? Well, let’s flashback to our Environmental Science class days and remember that things like mold, algae, and moss are all living organisms. Left to thrive in their ideal conditions, they repopulate and will infiltrate the substrate they have attached themselves to – your roof. Gross right?!? I KNOW!! The black streaks you see so often on roofs aren’t dirt! It’s algae! Even if you don’t have leaves or pine needles piled up on your roof, even if you don’t have a roof with valleys and different angles – there’s bio-matter living on your roof. Especially in our Southern Louisiana humid atmosphere. This bio-matter will aid in prematurely aging your roof – especially a shingled roof.
If during the course of tackling these chores, you observed areas of concern such as shingles with brittle and broken edges, shingles that don’t lay completely flat or look out of place, or areas where the roof felt soft or spongy – then you may have a bit of a moderate to advanced problem on your hands. No fear friend! It’s not the end of the world and doesn’t even mean your roof life is expired. There’s actually some simple roof repairs that you may be able to DIY.