Our houses require a lot of maintenance, even the areas that are seemingly maintenance-free. From gutters to siding to roofs, we must be sure we’re keeping everything in tip-top shape. Despite our best intentions, along with our busy lifestyles, things can slip our notice. Even the most diligent amongst us might not be taking as good care of their roofs as they should be. Here are the 5 worst things you might be doing to your roof without even knowing it.
Walking on Your Roof Too Much
You should only be walking on your roof when it is absolutely necessary. Not only is walking on your roof constantly a danger to your safety, but it does more much more damage than you’d think. Asphalt shingles, though durable, are very easily damaged if they are walked on too much. The impact degrades their effectiveness and can cause minor or severe leaks to the interior of your home.
Walking on these types of shingles tears away the granules that are characteristic of asphalt shingles. The granules assist in drainage of the roof, and deterioration of them shortens your roof’s lifespan drastically. Unless your roofing contractor or you yourself need to do a rare and occasional repair, walking on your roof should be avoided. Wood shingles are also highly susceptible to cracking and dislodging if walked on, and the roof itself can crack easily if the weight is not evenly distributed.
Trying to Do Repairs Yourself
We often think we can try a little DIY project to expand our skill set, and for some reason, many people try this on their roofs. While they’d never consider fixing their car’s engine or their home’s furnace on their own, they’re all too ready to climb up on the roof and get to work. In many cases, inexperienced roofers end up doing far more damage than necessary, worsening a smaller problem.
Rather than fret about the money, it’ll cost to hire a roofing contractor or professional, let them handle it and save yourself even more money in unforeseen expenses when the DIY you had planned doesn’t go well. In the long run, hiring a professional is not only safer and more efficient, but it’ll probably be cheaper as well.
Ignoring Debris on the Roof
This is one that should be paid most attention to. Your roof should be free of debris at all times. This means branches, leaf build ups, nests, and any other type of foreign objects should be off your roof, always. While these things may look harmless, a build-up of debris can cause water damage.
Debris, and especially branches and leaves, retain moisture, meaning they are the perfect vehicle for mold and fungi growth to set in. Furthermore, too much build-up of damp branches and leaves can get very heavy, potentially causing cracks or full of breakthroughs in your attic. Be aware of what’s happening up there, and call a professional for proper maintenance, especially after a heavy storm or winter season.
Not Addressing Standing Water
Another biggie is standing water. Standing water is basically any water on a roof that hasn’t drained or dissipated within 48 hours after rainfall or other precipitation. Because our roofs are designed to channel water down and away from them, water that remains in a puddle on your roof without dissipating is a real problem. If it hasn’t drained away after 2 days, this means it probably won’t at all.
The reason this is a problem is that its prolonged presence starts to make the roof weak. The weakened roof then begins to sag and creates a larger pool to hold more standing water. This then becomes a vicious cycle of more water = bigger hole = more water. This ongoing problem will get to the point where either the entire roof will cave in from weakness, or part of it will leave you with a gaping hole. Either way, professional repairs or replacement will be necessary, which is a highly costly affair.
Not Clearing Debris Out of Gutters
So, while this is generally the first step of roof/exterior maintenance that most homeowners attend to, it is just as easily overlooked. Not clearing out debris from your rain gutters is another problem that looks relatively harmless, but in actuality, is far graver than it seems. Rain gutters serve a big purpose, and that is to channel rainwater and other precipitation away from your home. With our properties generally lined with trees and foliage, it’s easy for leaves, twigs, dirt and other debris to get clogged in the gutters.
When this happens, instead of the water getting funnelled away from your home, it backs up under the eaves of your roof. Here, it can damage your walls, wood, and even the foundation of your home. Despite the type of climate you live in, this can cause serious cases of rot and mold around the edges of your roof, making the problem far larger than is necessary. Keeping your gutters debris-free is essential in allowing them to properly do their job, and in keeping your home damage free.