Did you know that as much as 50% of homes in the US have dampness or mold problems? According to researchers, many of these issues arise from defective plumbing. However, others are due to leaks or moisture penetration caused by roof damage.
In fact, roof leaks are usually to blame for water stains in the attic and wall or ceiling damage. They can also introduce extra moisture indoors, which can raise indoor humidity levels. High indoor humidity, in turn, can put you and your family at risk of mold infestation.
With all those potential risks, it’s best you keep roof damage from developing in the first place. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spend $5,000 to over $11,000 to replace a roof that fails early.
Ready to learn the best ways to prevent premature roofing damage? Keep reading, as that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this guide!
1. Trim Those Branches
At least 29% of people in the US have experienced rodent infestation at home. As if that’s not bad enough, rats and mice can use trees as their gateway to homes.
After all, rodents have phalanges that make them incredible climbers, leapers, and “landers.” Their sharp “fingers” allow them to perform amazing horizontal and vertical feats. They also use their tails for balance, which further boosts their climbing skills.
Rodents can make their way into your home by climbing trees and then leaping off branches near your roof. They can then gnaw away at your roof to make holes on the roof all the way to the attic. As you can imagine, those holes can result in severe roof damages and water intrusion.
Low-hanging branches can also abrade the outermost protective layer of roofing systems. When these scratches get deep enough, water can seep through the underlying membrane. From there, the water can penetrate the attic and even cause interior ceiling damage.
Bigger branches can also push or pull roof shingles or tiles, causing them to loosen up. Over time, this constant motion can completely dislodge individual roof components.
Extreme winds can also cause larger, heavier branches to break and fall on your roof. If this happens, their weight can be enough to leave massive dents or even cracks on the roof.
So, if you have trees near your roof, be sure that their branches closest to your roof are at least six feet away. This should be enough to prevent tree-induced roof scratches. It also helps reduce the risks of roof problems caused by falling tree branches.
2. Don’t Let UV Rays Wear Your Roof Away
Ultraviolet radiation can trigger chemical changes in bitumen, AKA asphalt. Constant UV exposure causes oxidation in asphalt, resulting in the material’s volatile loss. UV also hastens the bitumen aging process, in which it hardens but becomes more brittle.
Other roofing materials, such as tiles, can also dry and degrade under all those years of UV exposure. Roof components, like wood and adhesives, also deteriorate under the sun’s heat.
A long-term roof damage prevention, in this case, is the use of roof coating. Once cured, these liquid-applied substances act as an extra layer of membrane on the roof. They safeguard the underlying roof components from both thermal and UV degradation.
Some roof coatings also boast elastomeric (elastic) properties. This allows them to “stretch” or expand under the sun’s heat without damage. Once things cool down, they “contract” to regain their original shape without cracking.
All these roof coating attributes can help retard the sun’s damaging effects on your roof. What’s more, some high-quality coating products have a lifespan of at least 15 years. You can even re-coat these coatings, which can add another 10 years to their useful service life.
3. Keep Your Roof Free of Vegetation
Did you know that all of the 12,000 species of moss have excellent water absorbing properties? However, these plants are so resilient they can survive desiccation and harsh environments. Some also thrive in extremely bright conditions, which include rooftops.
Unfortunately, all these properties also make moss a threat to your roof. For instance, the immense volume of water they can hold puts unnecessary weight on your roof. Some of the moisture they release can also seep into your roof’s underlying membrane.
So, make sure that you get rid of moss as soon as you see patches on your roof. Otherwise, they can quickly spread and overtake your roof. Prompt moss removal can help prevent premature damage, roof repair, or worse, replacement.
4. Let It Flow Uninterrupted
Cleaning your gutters at least once every season (twice during the fall) can help keep roof damage at bay. In doing so, you can make sure your gutters remain efficient in channeling rainwater away. The sooner your gutters direct water away from your roof, the less water exposure your roof gets.
By contrast, clogged gutters allow water to collect and then overflow from the sides. Moist organic debris, such as leaves, twigs, and branches, also nourish fungi. Molds (and sometimes, even mushrooms!) can then start growing on your gutters or eaves.
Now, keep in mind that molds can proliferate within 24 to 48 hours in the right conditions. From there, they can feed on the organic components of your roof, such as wood and cellulose. They also release spores that can get into your home and encourage indoor mold growth.
With that said, be sure to add seasonal gutter cleaning to your routine roof maintenance. Consider increasing cleaning frequency if you have a lot of trees on your property.
5. Don’t Forget Your Downspouts
Your gutters connect to vertical or angled pipes known as “downspouts.” These are the pipes that send the rainwater collected by your gutters into a drain or a sewer. They prevent water from stagnating in the gutter system.
Just like your gutters, your downpipes can get clogged with debris, too. You can prevent this by installing downspout guards, also known as “downspout strainers.” Their mesh-like design allows them to act as a “filter” so that only water passes through the pipes.
Smaller debris can get past through the guards, though, so you should still clean the pipes. You can use a plumber’s snake to dislodge or push down clogs so that they drop all the way down. You can then pour a few buckets of water into the downspouts to clear the remaining debris.
Don’t Get Displaced by Preventable Roof Damage
Roofing systems can last for 20 to 50 years or more, but a lack of proper care can cut their life short. This is why it’s crucial to keep roof damage at bay with routine cleaning and maintenance. If you have the budget, consider having professionals apply a roof coating, too.
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