"A roof over one's head" is a synonym for home. And no wonder ... your roof faithfully performs the essential task of shielding your family and your belongings from the elements. Return the favor by taking good care of your roof. These simple tips will help extend its useful life.
Maintain Your Roof
Don't allow leaves or snow to accumulate on your roof. (Clear out gutters regularly too!) Leaves will trap moisture from dew and rain, holding it against the roof where it can do damage. Snow will melt and refreeze, causing ice dams. In addition, the sheer weight of a winter's worth of snow may be more than your elderly roof was designed to handle.
Trim any overhanging tree limbs so they're no less than 10 feet from your roof. Not only will this prevent leaves falling onto the house, it also safeguards against branches scraping the roof during a storm. Third, exposing the roof to sunlight deters the growth of moss and mold. Last but not least, this measure blocks access to your roof by squirrels and other animal pests.
Avoid walking on the roof to inspect or clean it. This can be dangerous for both your roof and yourself. Standing solidly on the ground, use a dedicated non-metal roof rake to pull off fresh snow or fallen leaves. Spray with a garden hose to remove moss or algae buildup in summer. Avoid pressure washing, which has tremendous destructive potential when unleashed on your roof; the powerful stream can loosen roofing tabs, unglue the shingles' self-adhesive, and wash off the reflective granules.
Schedule a professional roof inspection regularly every 2-3 years, as well as after severe weather like hail or heavy winds.
Ventilate the Attic
During the winter, people tend to keep their homes closed up. This allows warm moist air from showering, cooking, or running appliances such as humidifiers to collect in your attic if it is not adequately ventilated. And guess what is sitting right on top of your attic? Hello! The underside of your roof.
The situation is no better in summertime when an insufficiently ventilated attic can play host to air at temperatures as high as 160 degrees. This kind of heat is very, very bad news for your roof rafters and asphalt shingles.
Don't despair, though. If you have properly functioning air intake vents combined with exhaust ventilation in your attic, excessive heat and moisture will be directed where you want them, outside the house.