Don’t be fooled by so-called roof maintenance hacks. It’s tempting to take them at face value, especially given how tedious roofing maintenance can get. However, remember that improper maintenance is just as bad as not doing any at all.
What are the most common roofing maintenance myths?
As Long as There Are No Leaks, Your Roof Should Be Fine
Just because there are no signs of damage yet doesn’t necessarily mean there’s nothing wrong with your roof. It usually takes a while for the warning signs to manifest, and, even when they do appear, most homeowners don’t notice them. By the time you notice leaks and water stains inside your home, moisture damage would have probably affected other parts of your home.
The Financial Case for Preventive Maintenance
Reactive maintenance is what usually comes into mind when people think about fixing leaks and other forms of roof damage. However, reactive maintenance alone isn’t sufficient and is bound to cost homeowners a lot of money in the long run. Remember: reactive and proactive maintenance always go hand in hand.
For instance, reactive roof maintenance is usually needed after an extreme weather event. That’s because a roofing system – no matter how durable it is – is bound to suffer some form of damage. However, the risk and degree of roofing damage can be significantly reduced if your roof underwent routine roof maintenance. After all, your roof is less likely to suffer storm damage if it has no minor leaks or loose shingles, which could be aggravated by heavy rains or blown off by strong winds.
Some homeowners put off preventive roof maintenance because they think it’s a waste of money. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right? However, as mentioned earlier, it’s nearly impossible for homeowners to spot the warning signs of roof damage. Only an experienced contractor can identify potential roofing issues. Once these roofing issues affect other parts of your home, repair costs will increase. As such, it makes more financial sense to have a professional routinely maintain your roof than to wait until leaks start to appear.
Modern Roofing Systems Don’t Need Maintenance
What about modern roofing systems? Since they’re more durable than older models, they should be maintenance-free, right? Well, it is true that modern roofing systems, thanks to modern technology, don’t need as much maintenance as older roofing systems. However, low-maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. Even the most durable roof won’t last long without routine maintenance.
Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?
Speaking of modern roofing systems, metal roofing systems have excellent durability and minimal maintenance needs. Unfortunately, some homeowners are hesitant to install a metal roof because of a myth that metal roofs attract lightning. This misconception stems from another myth about small metal objects attracting lightning.
First off, lightning is unpredictable. Any similarities between lightning strikes are pure coincidence. That said, lightning is more likely to hit tall buildings. That’s why skyscrapers have lightning rods – the function of a lightning rod is to protect buildings by channeling electrical currents into the ground. If anything, metal roofing systems can help protect your home from lightning strikes. In the unlikely event that your home is hit by lightning, a metal roof can channel the electrical current to the ground, provided your home is properly grounded.
Having a Roof Warranty Means You Don’t Have to Maintain Your Roof
What if your roof has a warranty? Do you still need to worry about roof maintenance? Yes. Standard warranties usually only cover manufacturer defects or installation errors, not wear and tear or any damage resulting from any negligence on the homeowner’s part. Failure to maintain your roof may even void your warranty.
Contractor Roof Warranties vs. Manufacturer Warranties
Homeowners should know what’s covered under their roof warranty and what’s not. There are two types of warranties, both of which are quite self-explanatory: contractor and manufacturer roof warranties. Contractor roof warranties usually only cover workmanship. Manufacturer roof warranties, on the other hand, usually cover materials, although sometimes coverage extends to the entire roofing system, provided it’s installed by manufacturer-certified contractors.
Which is better: contractor or manufacturer warranties? The problem with contractor warranties is that there’s no guarantee they’ll be honored if, for instance, the contractor goes out of business. As such, if you’re considering getting a contractor warranty, make sure to get a warranty from a trusted and experienced contractor. National manufacturers are large companies so they should have enough resources to honor warranties.
Buying Tip: You can get warranties with extended coverage by hiring manufacturer-certified contractors. GAF, one of the most trusted names in the roofing industry, offers exclusive warranties to GAF roofing systems installed by Master Elite® contractors. The Golden Pledge® Limited warranty, GAF’s most comprehensive warranty, offers 25-and-50-year coverage for labor and materials.
What Are the Benefits of Working With Master Elite® Contractors?
How are Master Elite contractors vetted by GAF? Only licensed, insured and reputable roofing contractors that undergo continuing professional training can receive the Master Elite certification. As such, you can rest knowing that your roof will be properly installed by GAF Master Elite contractors.
You Don’t Need to Worry About Gutters
Don’t forget about your roof’s gutters. Yes, your roof’s shingles will always be the first line of defense against the elements. However, the rainwater sliding off roofing shingles needs to be also diverted properly. Otherwise, rainwater can slip through gaps in your exterior or, in some cases, seep into the foundation and compromise your home’s entire structural integrity. Diverting rainwater to prevent it from spilling onto your exterior or seeping into your foundation is your gutter system’s primary function, but it can’t do that if it’s clogged.
The Importance of Routine Gutter Maintenance
Homeowners should have their gutters cleaned regularly. That’s because clogs prevent water from flowing to your drains, causing it to spill over onto your roof or exterior.
What’s the worst that can happen if you occasionally forget to maintain your gutters? Well, quite a few actually. These issues include:
Gutter leaks – Sections of your roof might start to pull apart at the seams under the combined weight load of accumulated debris and rushing rainwater.
Tip: If you need a gutter replacement, excess weight load is less of a problem for seamless gutters. The seams or joints are the weak points of conventional gutter systems. Keep in mind that just because seamless gutters are less susceptible to leaks doesn’t mean they have fewer maintenance needs.
Sagging gutters – Excess weight load might also cause some sections of your gutters to sag. Since tilted gutters prevent water from flowing into the drains, water might be trapped in sections of your gutters, creating a damp environment that’s the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. While mold can’t eat away metal, it can affect wooden components of your roofing systems.
Pest problems – A lot of pests, such as birds, like to make their nests in small secluded spaces that provide protection like your gutters, for instance. Decaying organic debris can make it even more attractive for disease-carrying pests to nest in your gutters, creating a potential health risk.
One more thing: if you’re planning on installing new seamless gutters, make sure to hire experienced contractors.
You Can Fix Your Roof Yourself
Unless you have prior professional experience in the home improvement industry, it’s best to let qualified roofing professionals handle highly technical home improvement projects like roof repairs or replacements. Don’t be fooled by those DIY home improvement shows you see on TV – handling roofing projects requires a considerable amount of technical expertise that can only be gained through years of experience.
To ensure your roof and gutters are installed or repaired properly, always vet a contractor before hiring them. Here’s a vetting tip: the number of years a contractor has been working in the industry and the certifications they’ve earned over time should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
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