Over Your Head
By Mimi Greenwood Knight
It’s unglamorously resting atop your house, come rain or shine or summer hurricane. But how often do you think about your roof? Unless it’s leaking, probably not a lot. But your roof is the first line of defense for your largest investment—your home. Here are some ways to be roof savvy.
Watch for Roof Rot
Fallen leaves, moss, and assorted organic matter can cause your roof to retain water and accelerate roof rot, leading to rotten shingles that allow moisture into your attic or cause leaky ceilings. Keep your roof free of moisture-retaining debris.
Be Gutter Wise
Clogged gutters can cause water to accumulate on your roof, accelerating wear and encouraging rot and mold growth. Blocked gutters can also become so weighted they bend right off your house, causing further damage.
Inspect from Afar
Rather than getting on your roof to inspect for issues, watch for wear around chimneys and boots surrounding kitchen and bathroom ventilation tubes. Use binoculars to check for cracked or bald shingles and loose nails, which are warning signs your roof needs some attention.
Have Your Roof Inspected
A seasoned roofing contractor can spot potential issues and give you a clear picture of your roof’s condition and what issues might need to be addressed.
When to Replace
Anticipate replacing your shingled roof about every 20 years. Clay tiled and metal roofs cost a bit more but should last longer.
Invest in Roof Repairs
A leaky roof can cause structural damage, mold growth, and all sorts costly problems. Roof repairs are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the alternative.
Choose the Right Roofing Contractor
Do your homework before hiring a roofing contractor. Ask around to see if your friends have any recommendations. Check online ratings, and make sure any candidates are licensed and bonded. Ask potential contractors for solid references and call them. If a roofing contractor’s bid seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s better to pay a bit more for quality work, especially when it comes to the roof on your home.
If you’re an avid DIYer, here’s one area where you should probably hire a professional. Roofing repair is difficult, requires specialized tools, and is potentially dangerous work. The last thing you need is to cause further damage or injure yourself trying to save a few bucks.