August 9, 2023

Essential Roof Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Maintain your roof's integrity: avoid power-washing shingles, ensure proper ventilation, clean gutters, insulate attics, and reinforce for severe weather. Source: Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports.

Essential Roof Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

<p-color-red>Maintaining your roof is a crucial part of protecting your home's integrity and avoiding costly repairs down the line.<p-color-red>

<p-color-red>Here are some important tips to keep in mind:<p-color-red>

<p-color-red>1. Steer Clear of Power-Washing Shingles<p-color-red>

Using a concentrated spray for power-washing shingles might seem tempting, but it can actually damage the shingles' top coating and dislodge granules. This kind of damage might not even be covered by your warranty. Instead, it's recommended to have a professional use safer methods like a broom, leaf blower, or manual cleaning to remove dirt and moss. Don Huber, CR's director of product safety, advises against DIY attempts and suggests hiring professionals for safety reasons.

<p-color-red>2. Ensure Proper Ventilation<p-color-red>

Improperly located or inadequate attic soffits and vents can lead to condensation on the plywood decking beneath your roof shingles, potentially causing rot. Similarly, incorrectly placed exhaust fans can also contribute to this issue. Melissa Eiseman, president of Eiseman Construction, emphasizes the significance of proper ventilation and highlights the common problem of bathroom vents releasing moisture into attics. Getting a contractor's evaluation and recommendations can save you from future problems.

<p-color-red>3. Regularly Clean Gutters<p-color-red>

Regular gutter cleaning is essential to prevent water buildup that can result in leaks. Bobby Fischer, VP of contractor programs at GAF, a shingle manufacturer, stresses the importance of maintaining gutters and also suggests trimming heavy tree limbs that might damage roofing materials.

<p-color-red>4. Insulate Attics and Cathedral Ceilings Correctly<p-color-red>

Preventing ice dams is crucial to avoid leaks, especially where roofing planes meet. Even factors like lighting can impact this issue. Eiseman explains that poorly insulated recessed lighting in cathedral ceilings can lead to snow and ice melting from below, causing moisture to seep through and damage the roof. Roofers can mitigate this by installing self-adhesive membranes in specific roof areas.

<p-color-red>5. Reinforce Your Roof<p-color-red>

In regions prone to severe weather conditions like hurricanes or tornadoes, consider investing in a three-stage treatment when installing a new roof. This includes sealing the decking with special tape or sealant, using wind-resistant ring-shank nails, and securing the roof's edges with metal flashing. Certified experts from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety can assist with this upgrade, which might qualify for a discount on your home insurance.

Remember, overlooking roof maintenance can lead to expensive consequences. Watch the "Consumer 101" TV show where Consumer Reports expert Misha Kollontai provides insights into roofing and replacing shingles. For more financial and personal finance tips from Tobie Stanger, you can follow her on Twitter (@TobieStanger).
Source: Original article by Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports (January 2020 issue)

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