As a roofer, a little knowledge will help your customers build confidence in their roof replacement decision. Whether you are looking for ways to train your customers or save money with DIY roof maintenance, we will help you on the knowledge page.
When we recently bought our brand new home, the clapboards came with a lifetime warranty. That’s all well and good, but we need to do some roof maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Here are the basics and more details are given below:
- Check the roof every fall and spring and after major storms
- Clean up moss and mold
- Clean your gutters and downspouts
- Schedule a professional inspection from time to time
As you walk around your house and on the roof, look for any missing or loose shingles / panels that are flashing along with any damage to the seals around the roof vents. These are all areas that can bring moisture into the wood that is being covered. You should therefore have them repaired by a professional immediately.
Keep your mind in the gutter
Leaves, moss, twigs, and other debris collect in your gutters as the year progresses. During your DIY roof inspections in spring and fall, check the gutters and downspouts as part of your roof maintenance plan. As they accumulate debris, they clog, leaving water all the way to the edge of your roof, where it is more likely to find a way to attack the wood.
You can easily remove loose debris with a blower. However, you should grab a pair of gloves to dig up larger debris.
Clean the roof
Mold, mildew, and moss are common intruders into your roof making it look dingy. One of the most popular cleaning techniques is using a pressure washer. However, this high pressure spray can get right under the clapboard and get to your wood through the tar paper. It can also blow off the granules on asphalt shingles. Instead, try this technique:
- Wet the roof
- Spray a commercially available mold / mildew / moss roof cleaner or your own solution on the roof
- Let the cleaner work for 30-45 minutes (check the manufacturer’s suggestions for the cleaner of your choice).
- Use a long-handled brush to scrub the roof
- Do a flush and enjoy the look of your newly cleaned roof
DIY roof cleaner
- White vinegar: 3 cups in 2 gallons of water
- Dawn dish soap: 8 ounces in 2 gallons of water
- Oxygen bleach (powdered): 1 pound in 2 gallons of water
- Chlorine bleach (liquid): 3 cups in 2 gallons of water
You can still use your pressure washer to spray the solution onto your roof. Use your widest nozzle and lowest pressure – you’re applying a solution, not a pressure wash. There are even some low pressure attachments made specifically for roof cleaning if you look around. Just note that most pressure washers warn against using bleach in the system. So stick to the dish soap or vinegar methods if you so choose.
Call the pros
Even if your Spring / Fall DIY inspections pass with flying colors, be sure to call a professional for an inspection as part of your roof maintenance plan. How often depends on what climate you live in, but every 3 – 5 years is a good rule of thumb. Climates where more rain and / or snow falls should be closer to the 3 year side, while climates in the drier southwest may be longer.
When is it time for a roof replacement?
Most roof coverings have an estimated lifespan. The shingles used to be 20 or 30 years old, but now life metrics are available. But how long does a life last? Is it possible to need a roof replacement sooner?
Here are some general guidelines:
- Asphalt shingles: 20-30 years
- Metal: 50 – 70 years
- Wood shingles / shake: 25 – 35 years
- Slate shingles: 100+ years
- Tile: 45-60 years, although clay can last for more than 100 years
- Solar Singles / Panels: 20-30 years
If your roof is sagging, you need to fix it right away. If you discover missing shingles or roof damage, consider asking a professional to figure out if just a quick fix is needed or if there is deeper damage.
The best season for a roof replacement
Glue will likely be required when replacing or repairing your roof. Temperatures need to be warm enough for them to function and set in before cold weather sets in. Ask your contractor for the exact point in time, as different products have different classification temperatures.
In general, early spring and late autumn are good times for a roof installation. That gets you out of the freezing temperatures and away from the heavy rains.
Should I have a roof replacement if I sell?
Yes! Your home will undergo a professional inspection before a lender approves the loan for your potential buyer. This also includes a roof inspection. Both you and your buyer will know if it needs to be replaced. If the buyer wants your home and needs a roof replacement, you may have to settle for a lower price to close the deal.
While a roof replacement costs an average of $ 7,500, the National Association of Realtors states that if you put the sales sign up in your yard, you get an average of 109% cost recovery.
Conversion ideas and home improvement projects: what pays off?
Choosing the right roofing materials
The easiest way is just to replace the roof that you have with the exact same materials. Switching can save you money in the long run, last longer and / or give your home a completely new look. Here is a breakdown of the most popular roofing materials.
- Durable construction
- Easy to install
- Multiple color options available
- Works in any climate
- Other roofing materials last longer
- The color will fade over time, even with proper maintenance
- Different quality levels
- Low maintenance
- Strong construction with excellent service life
- Relatively light material
- Multiple colors and designs to choose from
- In some cases, instead of replacing it, you can repaint it
- Not all roofers are experts in installing metal roofs
- Generates more noise than other roofing materials
Wood shingles / shake
- Can be made from recycled wood
- Weathering gives it a rustic rather than a dingy look
- Shakes are thicker than shingles
- Higher maintenance requirements
- Not a good choice in fire hazard areas (codes can prevent use)
- Not so durable in wet climates
- May increase your homeowner’s insurance rates
- Longest service life of the roofing material
- Offers a sophisticated look
- Fire resistant
- Multiple color / design styles available
- Break pretty easily
- A professional installation may be more difficult to find
- Clay tiles can last for more than 100 years
- Attractive look, especially on a Spanish style house
- Resists fading
- Very difficult
- Susceptible to breaks and cracks
- Not a good option in extreme climates
Sun shingles / panels
- Sometimes lowers and eliminates your electricity bill
- Some areas have tax incentives
- Some utility companies buy your unused energy
- Integrates with some existing roofing materials, easiest with asphalt shingles
- Competent installation required
- Not suitable for all climates and living styles
- Panels don’t look particularly attractive
- Unlike sales claims, they don’t always pay off themselves over time