A new roof may be the single biggest investment a homeowner makes on their property. Depending on the materials used and the skill of the roofers who install it, the project could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Replacing a roof prematurely is expensive and often unnecessary.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure your roof protects your home and increase its lifespan. Extend the life of your roof when possible.

1 – Maintain Gutters

Clogged gutters causes roof leaks. When the water has nowhere to go, it will pool along the bottom edge of the roof and slowly deteriorate the fascia and roof edge. Homeowners can clean gutters on their own. However, if there’s a lot of debris in the gutters, it could be a messy job. If you don’t feel confident on a ladder, contact a roofer to do this dirty job for you.

2 – Trim Nearby Branches

Trees provide shade, but they can also cause a roof to fail early. The problems large trees may cause to your roof can far outweigh the benefits if proper care is not taken. When leaves don’t fall off of the roof naturally, moisture gets trapped under them. These leaves could also get caught in the gutters.

Large branches may fall and damage your roof during a storm. Any branch, large of small, which contacts the roof will scratch the surface of your roof; while this damage may be small and unnoticed at first, eventually it becomes apparent. Keep them trimmed and your roof will last longer.

3 – Apply a Liquid Polymer Coating.

These coatings can help stave off water and weather damage and keep your shingles looking newer for longer.  They are widely available through home improvement retailers, and can be applied in just a few hours.  These coatings work best when used on new shingle roofs.

4 – Ventilate the Attic

Proper ventilation allows cool air to enter the attic and warm, humid air to escape. Too much moisture in the attic will result in mold that can damage the insulation as well as the roof. Ventilation also saves money on cooling bills. Hot air trapped in the attic can make the entire house warm and overwork the air conditioning system.

In order for ventilation to work properly you need both soffit vents near the lower section of the attic area and some type of roof vents near the highest part of the attic. This allows cool air to enter and the hot air to escape.

There are many different types of vents to choose. Each vent serves different types of roof styles and slopes.

5 – Insulate to Keep Heat Out

Shingle roofs absorb heat and, if the attic isn’t properly insulated, interior spaces heat up. It’s important to avoid blocking vents with insulation. Having insulation correctly installed with the right type and amount will ensure it provides the maximum amount of energy-efficiency.

6 – Get a Professional Inspection Annually

Inspections are a key to preventive roof maintenance. Expert roofers tell you if you have problems that need to be addressed immediately. They will give you more tips to help you keep the roof in good condition for many more years.

7 – Always repair any damage or leaks promptly. One of the most important tips for extending the life of your roof is to take care of any leaks or damage as soon as you notice it, and not to put it off and allow the problem to get worse. Many homeowners are nervous about the disruption and cost of getting their roof replaced, and may think that they can live with a little leaking here and there to save money. However, what really saves money is calling in the professionals ASAP and allowing them to fix a small problem before it gets bigger.

8 – Keep the roof and all gutters free of debris. Whether there is a large broken branch on your roof or just a buildup of autumn leaves in the gutters, it is important to clear clutter off regularly. Not only can a large branch scrape the shingles and damage them, but clogged gutters can create a backflow of water that can introduce rot or damaging ice under the roof shingles or even into the house.

9 – Prevent moss, mold and mildew growth. Anything growing on the roof has the potential to break down the materials and cause damage over time. Professional roof contractors can tackle this problem with appropriate solutions.

10 – Inspect around chimneys, skylights, and utilities. Any place in the house where the roof is interrupted by a chimney, skylight, pipe or other item should be inspected regularly for any sign that the surrounding seal is damaged or compromised. Climb up into your attic or crawlspace under the roof and look for any signs of water or mold coming into the house. Discolored boards and rusted nails could be a sign that there is some sort of leak.

11 – Look for signs of animal or insect damage. Another thing to look for while you are in the attic is any sign of animal activity or insect damage. You do not have to be out in the country to have squirrels, mice and raccoons find their way into your attic for some warmth and shelter. Insect are, of course, found everywhere and can do just as much damage over time. Look for droppings, areas where the wood is chewed or has burrow holes, or any holes to the outside.

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