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Roofing Resources

Roofing Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Your new home is so much more than just another place to rest your head at night. It’s the place where you’ll spend the majority of your time during the coming years, creating lasting memories and shaping the future of your family along the way.

The elation you felt when you were first handed the keys to your new home is a hard feeling to beat. The truth is, though, it takes a great deal of work to keep a home running smoothly. Major expenses for home repairs can be costly. According to Rocket Mortgage, homeowners can expect to pay between 1% and 3% of their home’s value in repairs annually. But thankfully repairs can often be avoided with good maintenance habits.

Modernize created this guide to help first-time homeowners learn more about roofing maintenance, and how to recognize signs that your roofing is damaged and requires repair or replacement. We will even help you build a long-lasting relationship with a local professional in your area that will help keep your roof in tip top shape.

Table of Contents

3 Signs Your Roofing is in a State of Disrepair

Damaged roofing can be obvious or subtle. Water does not have to come pouring through the ceiling for there to be enough damage that you need a roofing replacement. When it comes to roofing, the sooner you identify and correct any issues the better.

roof damage

Here are three signs your roofing may be in a state of disrepair, or needs to be inspected by a professional at the very least.

1. Aged roofing materials

Take a look at your roof to determine what type of roofing you have and whether it has been replaced since the home was first constructed. You likely can determine the age of your roof just by figuring out when your home was constructed.

Asphalt shingles typically last between 20 and 30 years under normal wear conditions, while wood shakes and shingles can last between 20 and 40 years. Tile and slate roofing, meanwhile, can last 50 years or more depending on wear factors and maintenance.

Exposure to sunlight, high winds, rain, snow and excessive heat can shorten the lifespan of even the most durable roofing material. It is fairly easy to tell when asphalt shingles are deteriorating. You will notice a lot of loose granules in your gutters and around your property. Wood roofing products will show excessive lifting and curling, and they also will take damage from prolonged exposure to leaves or moss. Denser roofing materials such as tile are more or less weather-beaters, but they still can take damage from huge hailstones and fallen tree limbs.

2. Storm damage

We have all seen the television footage of hurricanes slamming the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico each hurricane season. Storm winds can strip asphalt and wood shingles from a roof in seconds, but even subtle storm damage can wreak havoc on your roofing.

A few missing shingles or tiles will allow water to penetrate your residence. Once inside, water damage can travel far from the point of penetration. Inspect your roof (or have it done by your local professional) after every big storm for missing, cracked or damaged roofing materials.

3. Water stains in the attic or on the ceiling

There is no clearer sign your roofing is compromised than interior water stains. You do not have to have a large area of missing tiles or shingles on your exterior roofing. Water will penetrate in the smallest of gaps or any deficiencies in coverage.

You will want to act quickly and call a professional roofing contractor to avoid additional water damage to your home’s sheetrock, insulation and anything else water comes in contact with.

Other obvious signs you may have serious issues with your roofing include broken or missing tiles and sagging. Roof lines are typically straight and uniform across hips, valleys, ridges and the like. Any variations to these visual guides could suggest a serious problem.

Roofing Maintenance: How to Care for Your Roof

Homeowners can perform routine roofing maintenance, but is not a DIY job suited for everyone.

new roofing costs

If you are comfortable walking on your roof, then you can perform routine inspections on key areas. However, self-inspections may not be the smartest choice for homeowners who are not at ease with climbing ladders, have homes with steep roof lines, or have tile or slate roofing that can break if you place your weight in the wrong spot.

Always exercise caution when working at heights and use sound judgment. Most of the time, roofing maintenance is a job best left for the professionals.

If you do choose to perform routine roofing maintenance, here are some key issues to be aware of:

  • Inspect and replace any loose roofing materials. Roofing materials must stack underneath each upper layer. You will likely have to strip off a few of the surrounding materials to properly complete the job. If you cannot get it done right, hire a pro.
  • Inspect all flashing. Flashing is the thin metal that guides water away from walls, valleys, chimneys and penetration points such as laundry and furnace exhaust pipes. Look for rust and damage, as well as damage to surrounding shingles or tiles. Flashing replacement is best left to a licensed roofing contractor since it requires removing large swaths of roofing material.
  • Remove debris. Never allow detritus such as leaves or moss to collect on your roof. It will hold water, as well as degrade the integrity of roofing materials like asphalt and wood shingles and shakes over time. Built-up debris in valleys also can prevent water from running off your roof and lead to unnecessary water damage.
  • Clear your gutters. Cleaning gutters and downspouts is a must after leaves drop in the fall. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up, leading to ice damming and other serious water issues.
  • Trim your trees. Cut back overhanging limbs so they are not continually dropping leaves and debris onto your roof. It also keeps squirrels and other animals from accessing your home via the branches of your trees.

How to Find a Licensed Roofing Contractor in Your Area

If all the signs are pointing to a new roof, Modernize helps help homeowners narrow down the search for licensed and reliable contractors. Roofing contractors can help you proceed with your replacement or shore up any weak points in your roofing. New roofing may not be the fanciest home upgrade investment, but it is definitely among the safest and most important.

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