Roof Replacement and Maintenance Tips From the Pros
As a roofing contractor, a little knowledge goes a long way in helping your clients build confidence in their roof replacement decision. Whether you’re looking for ways to educate your clients or to save some money with DIY roof maintenance, we’ll give you a hand on the knowledge side.
When we purchased our brand new home recently, the shingles came with a lifetime guarantee. That’s all well and good, but we’ll need to do some roof maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Here’s are the basics and you can find more details below:
- Inspect the roof each fall and spring and after any major storms
- Clean any moss and mold buildup
- Clean your gutters and downspouts
- Plan on a professional inspection from time to time
As you walk around your house and on the roof, you’re looking for missing or loose shingles/panels and flashing along with any damage to seals around roof vents. Those are all areas that can introduce moisture into the wood that should be covered, so you’ll want to have a professional fix them right away.
Keep Your Mind in the Gutter
Leaves, moss, twigs, and other debris collects in your gutters as the year progresses. When you do your spring and fall DIY roof inspections, check the gutters and downspouts as part of your roof maintenance plan. As they build up debris, they’ll clog and let water back up to the edge of your roof where it’s more likely it can find a way in to start attacking the wood.
You can get rid of loose debris easily with a blower, though you’ll want to grab a pair of gloves to dig out any major build up.
Cleaning Your Roof
Mold, mildew, and moss are frequent intruders to your roof that start to make it look dingy. One of the most popular techniques to clean it is with a pressure washer. However, that high-pressure spray can get right up under the shingle and find its way through the tar paper to your wood. It can also blow off the granules on asphalt shingles. Try this technique instead:
- Wet the roof
- Spray a commercial mold/mildew/moss roof cleaner or your own solution on the roof
- Let the cleaner sit for 30 – 45 minutes (check manufacturer’s suggestions on the cleaner of your choice)
- Use a long-handled brush to scrub the roof
- Rinse and enjoy the look of your newly cleaned roof
DIY Roof Cleaners
- White vinegar: 3 cups in 2 gallons of water
- Dawn dish soap: 8 ounces in 2 gallons of water
- Oxygen bleach (powdered): 1 pound in 2 gallons of water
- Chlorine bleach (liquid): 3 cups in 2 gallons of water
You can still use your pressure washer to spray the solution on your roof. Use your widest nozzle and lowest pressure – you’re applying a solution, not pressure cleaning. There are even some low-pressure attachments specifically designed for roof cleaning if you look around. Just note that most pressure washers warn against using bleach in the system, so stick with the dish soap or vinegar methods if that’s the way to want to go.
Call in the Pros
Even if your spring/fall DIY inspections pass with flying colors, plan on calling a professional to come in for an inspection as part of your roof maintenance plan. How often depends on what climate you live in, but every 3 – 5 years is a good rule of thumb. Climates that get more rain and/or snow will want to be closer to the 3-year side, while those in the drier southwest can go longer.
When is it Time for a Roof Replacement?
Most roof covers have an estimated life. Shingles used to be 20-year or 30-year, but now lifetime ratings are available. But just how long is a lifetime? Is it possible to need a roof replacement earlier?
Here are some general guidelines:
- Asphalt shingles: 20 – 30 years
- Metal: 50 – 70 years
- Wood shingles/shake: 25 – 35 years
- Slate shingles: 100+ years
- Tile: 45 – 60 years, though clay can last more than 100 years
- Solar singles/panels: 20 – 30 years
If your roof is sagging, that’s something you need to address immediately. Also, if you discover missing shingles or roof damage, you’ll want to have a professional come out and see if it just need a quick fix or if there’s deeper damage.
The Best Time of Year for a Roof Replacement
Mot likely, there’s going to be adhesive involved in replacing or fixing your roof. You need the temperatures to be warm enough for it to work and set before cold weather sets in. Feel free to ask your contractor about the exact timing since different products will have different installation temperature ratings.
Generally, early spring and late fall are good times for a roof installation. That gets you out of the freezing temperatures and away from the big rains.
Should I Do a Roof Replacement If I’m Selling?
Yes! Your home is going to have a professional inspection before a lender will sign off on the loan for your potential buyer, and that’s going to include a roof inspection. Both you and your buyer will know if it needs to be replaced. If the buyer wants your home and it needs a roof replacement, you may have to settle for a lower price to close the deal.
While replacing a roof averages around $7500, the National Association of Realtors says you’ll average a 109% cost recovery when you put the “For Sale” sign in your yard.
Choosing the Right Roofing Materials
The easiest way to go is simply to replace the roof you have with the exact same materials. Switching can save you money in the long run, last longer, and/or give your home a completely new look. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular roofing materials.
- Durable construction
- Easy to install
- Multiple color options available
- Works in every climate
- Other roofing materials will last longer
- Color will fade over time, even with proper maintenance
- Varying degrees of quality
- Low maintenance
- Strong construction with excellent lifespan
- Relatively lightweight material
- Multiple paint colors and designs to choose from
- In some cases, you can repaint it rather than replacing it
- Not all roofing companies are experts in metal roofing installation
- More expensive
- Produces more noise than other roofing materials
- Can be made from recycled wood
- Weathering gives it a rustic look rather than dingy
- Shakes are thicker than shingles
- Higher maintenance needs
- Not a good choice in fire-prone areas (codes may prevent use)
- Not as durable in wet climates
- May raise your homeowner’s insurance rates
- Highest roofing material lifespan
- Offers a sophisticated look
- Multiple color/design styles available
- Break pretty easily
- Expert installation may be tougher to find
- Clay tiles can last more than 100 years
- Attractive look, especially on a Spanish-style home
- Resists fading
- Very heavy
- Prone to breaking and cracking
- Not a good option in extreme climates
- Lowers and sometimes eliminates your energy bill
- Some areas have tax incentives
- Some power companies buy your unused energy
- Integrates with some existing roof materials, most easily with asphalt shingles
- Expert installation required
- Not a good fit for all climates and home styles
- Panels don’t have a terribly attractive look
- Contrary to sales claims, they don’t always “pay for themselves” over time