Your Roof 101 | A Guide For New Homewoners

You just closed on your first home. You remember the home inspector sharing that the roof had a few years left if you took care of it, but what does that even mean? It's okay. Knowing how to take care of a roof and what signs to watch out for is fairly simple. You don't need to be an expert to do this. 

How Long Does the Average Roof Last?

First and foremost, know that an asphalt roof doesn't last forever. While it all depends on what type of shingles the previous owner installed and what part of the country your new home is in, on average, you can expect to get a good 20 years out of most asphalt roofs. If the inspection report says you have a few years left, it is your job to be fastidious about checking on its overall health every few months.

Weather Can Impact Your Roof

While listening to thunderstorms roll in can be relaxing, your roof is on high alert. In fact, the weather in your part of the country can impact your roof greatly. Those on the coast have to contend with both hurricane-force winds and salt water spray, which can speed the deterioration of asphalt shingles. In northern climates, roofs have to shoulder the burden of heavy snow loads and ice storms during the brutal winter months. The sun's damaging UV rays can also shorten the life expectancy of the average roof. 

Signs Your Roof Needs Replacing

Luckily, the signs that your roof needs help are pretty obvious to the naked eye, if you know what to look for. Asphalt shingles are covered in a granule coating in the manufacturing process. If you notice a grainy sand in your gutters or splash guards, this is a sign that the shingles are deteriorating. Another telltale sign that you need to replace your roof is curling shingles. Shingles are pliable and soft when they are new but become hard and brittle as they get older. Eventually, the corners curl and break off, signaling the end of their useful life. Loose and missing shingles are yet another sign. Shingles do not just blow off in any storm. According to the International Building Code, they are expected to stay put in up to 85 mph winds.

Unique Problems to Flat Roofing

Flat roofing, or rolled roofing, has a unique set of problems as it ages. Flat roofs are known to 'alligator' with age, meaning the surface cracks and looks similar in appearance to alligator skin. It can also buckle, which is another sign of advanced age. Due to the flat nature of flat roofs, water can pool in low areas of a flat roof. Removing the water by hand can help extend the life of the roof, but you should call in a roofing contractor who provides flat roofing services to take a closer look. 

Mold and Your Roof

Your roof's entire purpose is to keep moisture out of your home. If you notice standing water or water damage in your attic, call in the professionals. The Environmental Protection Agency states that mold can grow in as little as 48 hours if water is not cleaned up at its source. Obviously, preventing moisture from continuing to enter your attic space is equally important. A new roof is easily managed. Mold remediation is a much more difficult beast that no homeowner wants to deal with.

Caring for Your Roof to Maximize Its Life 

It is your roof's job to protect your home and everything inside of it, but there are things you can do to help it do the job, like keeping it clean. Check your gutters every fall and spring. Remove any leaves, twigs, and debris from them. Use a ladder to climb onto your roof and remove any large branches that fell on your roof during passing storms. Also, trimming any low-lying branches before they have a chance to fall is helpful. Regular observation and maintenance is key.

That's it. Taking care of your roof is pretty easy stuff. Simply keep an eye on the health of your shingles every few months and call in the pros when the time comes to replace it. You've got this!