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How to Keep Your Roof in Good Shape

A man standing on a ladder inspects his roof.

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home, as it protects the structure of your house and everything inside against the elements. It's also a big-ticket item that requires a significant investment to replace. In fact, according to HomeAdvisor, homeowners spend an average of $6,600 on a new roof. Fortunately, depending on what material it's made of, a roof can last anywhere between 15 and 150 years as long as it's well maintained. The following checklist can help you keep your roof in good shape.

  • Perform a visual inspection of your attic. As SFGate explains, darkened water stains or mold on ceilings could indicate water seepage.
  • Trim back overhanging tree limbs. Overhanging branches can be a hazard, since they can break off and damage your roof.
  • Observe good safety practices when getting on the roof. Use a sturdy ladder and if possible, have somebody hold it steady for you. Make sure to wear footwear with slip-resistant soles so you don’t slip on any slick surfaces.
  • Remove any leaves, moss, lichen and other debris from the roof, gutters and downspouts. The buildup of debris can prevent water from running off properly. This can cause water to pool, which in turn can lead to mold and serious water damage.
  • Check the exterior of your roof. With the debris removed, you can see what shape your roof is in. If you noticed any tell-tale signs of moisture seepage in your attic, you should be able to see what caused it — as well as any other indications of damage. Note that different types of roofing materials wear in different ways. HouseLogic recommends paying attention to any curls, cracks or tears. Check the condition of flashing in any joins and around the chimney.
  • Clean the soffits and fascia. Carefully wipe away any dirt, moss or lichen buildup from the boards that run along the sides and lower edges of your roof. Inspect the wood for signs of rot and other types of damage.
  • Make repairs as needed. Whether you perform repairs yourself or have them done professionally, make sure they're done properly and in a timely manner. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that a small problem becomes a big one.

Of course, even a well-maintained roof will need replacing sooner or later. If you're facing this kind of investment, make sure to hire a reputable contractor with proven experience in the type of roofing you have. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) provides a handy tool that can help you find a qualified contractor in your area.

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ECC Monitor: OK