roof maintenance tips for homeowners

When it comes to your home, leaks and creaks just won't cut it. We'll help you take care of your greatest investment with these simple tips for maintaining the integrity of your roof over time.

Shakes, shingles, panels … every roof is different. But they all need to be cared for the same way: regularly. To keep your roof at its best year after year, inspections are necessary (and sometimes, so are repairs). Whether you're a DIY homeowner or prefer to hire a professional, it's not hard to keep your roof in tip-top shape.

how to inspect a roof

It's a good idea to check out the condition of your roof every fall and spring (if not every season). Keep in mind that the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends having a professional assist you in your inspection, even if you want to do a preliminary inspection of your own.

Ladder safety

There are some no-brainers when it comes to using a ladder properly (keep it steady, make sure it's on level ground, etc.), but here are a few roof-specific tips you might not have guessed:

  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the edge of the roof, and angle it a foot away from the house for every 4 feet in eave height (the eave is the overhanging edge of the roof). Sounds complicated, but this simple ratio will give you the stability and depth perception needed for a safe inspection.
  • Make sure the ladder is secured at the top to keep it from shifting while you're on it.
  • Don't step on any rung above the roof level. The base of the ladder is much more likely to slide if you top-load the ladder with your weight.
  • Only ever take one hand or foot off the ladder at a time in order to keep your balance.

what to look for and how to make repairs

A good time to inspect your roof is when you're cleaning the gutters (not to mention that cleaning your gutters even twice a year can help protect your house from large-scale weather damage, like rotting wood or a cracked foundation).

Here are some tips to help you go about inspecting — and cleaning — your rooftop safely.

Debris

Sweep away any twigs, leaves, or dirt. These things can damage a roof over time, and sometimes cause algae to grow, which is a pain to remove and can clog your gutters.

Algae

Putting zinc strips on the roof can also help prevent the growth and buildup of algae or moss. The strips, when combined with rainwater, wash the cleansing chemical down the roof (preventing algae building up in the first place).

Already have an algae problem? A good solution is a cleaning product specifically designed to rid your roof of algae, which you can find at a home improvement store. Just be sure to use chemical cleaners sparingly — an overabundance of chemicals can cause your roof to deteriorate.

Damage and wear

Check for signs of wear around pipes, your chimney (if you have one), and obvious damage like holes or loose material.

Make sure all flashing (the technical term for the weatherproofing materials that seal your roof in places where the roofing material itself ends) is in good condition, without any damage, missing parts, or rust.

Leaks and clogs

Use a hose to push water through the gutter to get rid of leftover dirt or tiny bits of debris. You'll be able to see if the water flows easily down the downspout as it should. If it's blocked, use a drain snake (or hire a professional to clear it for you).

Avoid power washing your roof because it can only shorten its lifespan. Though a swift power wash might rid your roof of unwanted moss or debris quickly, it'll also wash away parts of the roof, damaged or not.

protect your house with homeowners insurance

Insurance for your home is a necessity for you, your family, and your house itself — especially if covered incidents like wind or hail wreck the roof you've worked so hard to maintain.

Disaster is expensive, but fortunately home insurance can help you pay to repair or replace certain damages to your home. Speak with one of our licensed agents or grab a quote and see how easy it is to get great protection for your house, roof and all.

Updating your home insurance after renovating
Find out how remodeling your house affects your homeowners insurance and why it makes sense to remodel your policy, too.

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