Maintaining a roof means cleaning it regularly, conducting bi-annual inspections and ensuring that repairs needed are performed as soon as possible. Preventative maintenance can stop small, easy-to-fix problems from becoming costly repairs, prolong the roof’s lifespan and add to the home’s investment value.
Moss, algae and mold are culprits that grow regularly on roof tiles and discolor them. Bird droppings, mud and dust accumulate, and a dirty roof is unsightly and can reduce the home’s curb appeal and resale value. Roofs should be cleaned annually, either by a professional contractor or as part of the maintenance program.
For a DIY clean, use a solution of 50 percent water, 40 percent bleach and 10 percent general purpose household cleaner. Apply the solution using a low-pressure garden sprayer. Leave for 20 minutes to soak off the dirt before rinsing with clean water. Never use a high-pressure spray to wash the roof, as this can dislodge shingles and cause damage similar to severe weather.
Regular roof inspections can enable the homeowner to identify potential problems before they become worse. Inspections should take place at least twice annually during the Spring and the Fall, and should include:
- Checking the interior and exterior of the roof for signs of moisture, worn spots, deterioration or aging of sealant, changes in insulation quality and firmness of the substrate;
- Checking flashing for any loose attachments, missing fasteners, moisture and corrosion, cracks or aging sealant;
- Checking the roof penetration areas, such as pipes and other items inserted through the roof membrane, for integrity of the seal around the entry point.
A comprehensive maintenance program provides for two to four scheduled roof inspections each year, in return for one annual payment or a monthly premium. Some programs provide for ad hoc inspections after extreme weather events, while others offer these at an additional cost. Removal of debris may be included in the maintenance agreement, because it will be impossible to inspect the roof while debris is present. The contract may include cleaning and minor repairs, or the homeowner may receive a cost estimate for the repairs after the inspection.
Scheduled maintenance and cleaning can preserve the roof and extend its lifespan, and help save money by early detection of problems. Maintenance programs are a cost-effective method of ensuring that inspections and cleaning take place regularly.