Roof Care: Important Tips for Installation and Maintenance

Having a “roof over your head” is more than just a catchy phrase. When it comes to the integrity of your home and the safety of your family, you need a roof that’s in good condition and well-maintained. Whether you have the classic asphalt shingle roof or one made of metal, every homeowner needs to know how to practice proper roof care. Just like every other part of your home, the roof needs to be maintained and taken care of in order to serve its purpose. Read on to learn more about how to choose the right roof for you and some easy tips for maintaining your roof the right way.

Choosing the right roof

Whether you’re buying a new construction home or need to replace your existing roof, it’s crucial to choose the right roof for your particular climate and home. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors to consider when shopping for a new roof.

Materials

Roofs are made of a variety of materials, and each one has its own unique qualities and advantages for the home:

  • Asphalt: When it comes to popular roofing materials, asphalt shingles are the number one choice of homeowners in North America. This durable material comes in a myriad of colors to match your siding, and individual shingles can be replaced if they become damaged. Asphalt shingles are made from a fiberglass base with a coating of small mineral and asphalt granules applied to the top layer. This option is an affordable one, and most manufacturers include a 20 to 30-year warranty, which makes asphalt shingles an appealing choice.
  • Wood: If curb appeal is at the top of your list, a wood shingle roof is an excellent choice. While wood roofs certainly look attractive, they’re also prone to rot and other issues, especially if you live in a moist or humid climate. Wood roofs are also expensive, but they may last as long as 60 years if you live in a dry climate.
  • Metal: For those who live in areas with heavy snow, a metal roof is a wise choice. These durable roofs are completely fireproof, and they’ll protect the integrity of your roof from heavy snow loads. You can find metal roofs in shingle and single-panel designs, and they’re also available in a range of colors.
  • Clay Shingles: These shingles are made from earthen clay that can be created in any shape and dried until they harden. You’ll see clay shingles in homes throughout the Southwest since they evoke a Spanish look and match well with this architectural style. Clay tiles and shingles are incredibly long-lasting and do a fantastic job of keeping your home cool since the material serves as an excellent insulator against heat.
  • Stone Shingles: If you want a high-end roof, stone shingles are the way to go. Most stone shingles are made of slate and require special skills when it comes to their installation. While stone shingles are beautiful to look at, the cost of materials and installation is quite high. The upfront cost can be well worth it since these shingles can last up to 100 years.

Weather

Another key factor to consider when choosing a new roof is the climate where you live. Not all roofing material works well in certain types of weather, and it could end up costing you quite a bit of money on maintenance and repair. Clay tile or clay shingles can crack when they’re exposed to extremely cold climates. Wood roofs tend to accumulate mold, mildew and can rot if they’re installed in areas where there’s a lot of rain or high humidity levels. A metal roof is excellent for protecting a home against snow, but it could also make it hotter indoors if you live in a warmer part of the country. Explore the different materials available and consider the weather where you live, including all four seasons and how that plays into making your decision.

Budget

No matter how you slice it, getting a new roof is expensive, no matter which option you choose. If you’re on a tight budget, asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable options on the market today. Prices for roofing materials vary, with slate being one of the costliest options. If you’re thinking of getting a metal roof, the shakes or shingles tend to cost less than the standing seam metal panels. Ask about durability, design styles, warranty options, and what’s recommended for your climate, so you know you’re getting a good price for your investment.

Visual Impact

A roof can play a big role in how your home looks overall. When thinking about visual appeal, make sure your roof comes in a color that coordinates with the rest of your home. Clay tile roofs are beautiful to look at, but they might not work on every style home. A metal roof tends to be monochromatic, but it also offers your home a seamless, cohesive look. If you prefer variety, consider asphalt shingles since they’re available in a wide range of colors to match your home. Ask your local roofer for samples so you can compare how different materials look against your home and in natural light.

Installation

The cost of a new roof will vary depending on your location, the materials you choose, and the installation itself. Professional roofers may charge by the hour, or they may charge depending on the square footage of your home. The larger your home and the higher number of square footage you have, the higher the cost will be for both installation and materials. A new roof takes time to complete, so prepare to pay more if your home is big or if you have a lot of gables and complicated features. In addition to the size, you’ll pay for the additional materials that need to be installed underneath the shingles. This may include new plywood, waterproof underlayment, and other waterproofing materials, along with the cost to staple felt paper to the roof. Make sure you get a detailed estimate that includes all material costs before you agree on a contractor.

Taking Care of Your Roof

Replacing a roof isn’t cheap, but your roof will last longer with regular maintenance and care. Replacing shingles here and there is easy, but replacing a roof will cost a lot more. Here are some tips to help you take good care of your roof:

  • Inspect your roof on a regular basis, including from the inside. Go up into your attic and look for signs of rot, leaks, or holes to stop any problems before they get out of hand. Listen for strange sounds that may indicate you have a roof-related problem. Check the outside of your roof for signs of mold, moss, or shingle damage.
  • Clean your gutters regularly to extend the lifespan of your roof. Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof and may cause rot, mildew, and even structural damage inside your home. You can replace a damaged section of a gutter for much less than if you needed to hire someone to perform roof repair.
  • Cut away dead branches, so they don’t land on top of your roof. Be aware of days with strong winds so you can look out for any debris that may end up on top of your roof after a storm.
  • Always look for signs of leaks so you can spot them before things get worse. The sooner you address leaks on the roof, the safer you’ll be. Fixing a leak can prevent extreme flooding inside your home during a storm. A leaking roof can collapse, which may cause serious injury and will be extremely expensive to correct later.
  • Check with your homeowner’s insurance company to find out what they cover if your roof gets damaged. Depending on the situation, most insurance companies will allow you to file a claim so you can get your roof repaired or replaced for just the cost of your deductible.
  • When inspecting your roof, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Climbing a ladder can be dangerous and you could end up falling and hurting yourself if you’re not extremely careful. When in doubt, it’s always best to hire a professional.

With the right materials and a bit of regular roof maintenance, your roof should last for many years to come. Always ensure that you’re choosing the best material for your specific location and climate and remember to have fun choosing your favorite colors and design. Enlist the help of professional roofers if you’re in need of repair, so you know the job will be done right. Inspect the attic and outside of your roof regularly so your home will be safe and dry through any type of weather or storm that comes your way.

Originally posted on Porch.com

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