Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
Your roof protects your home and everything in it. He usually does a great job, regardless of the fact that he rarely receives the appreciation and attention he deserves. Here are some things you need to know about your roof and how to take care of it.
Compare quotes from top local roofing contractors
Select a State to start with your free, no-obligation estimate
Find a local roofing contractor
A: As with any building material, the best of everything usually depends on location and climate. Metal roofing ticks all the boxes for almost anywhere. Its appeal and functionality in all settings and in all weather puts it at the top of my list of favorites.
Q: We know that roofs “breathe”, but what does this mean in terms of maintenance?
A: Attic ventilation allows moisture and extremely hot or cold air to escape before it enters the living space of your home. Keeping few or no boxes and other items in your attic is the only maintenance required. Objects in the attic can obstruct air circulation and make the ventilation system unnecessary.
If you must put items in your attic, place them as close to the center of the house and as low as possible to minimize interference with air movement. Avoid blocking vents or damaging insulation.
Q: What’s the best way to clean your roof?
A: A roof works in most situations without ever needing to be cleaned. If your roof is prone to moss or other growth, it will need infrequent cleaning. Mix bleach and water in a garden sprayer and apply the mixture to the affected areas as they arise. Rinse with a garden hose. Rinsing from the top will prevent water from seeping under the shingles. Be extremely careful as the roof can become slippery when wet. Never use a pressure washer on any type of roof. Brushing is usually not a good idea either.
Q: How do you know if your roof has been installed correctly?
A: Do a thorough inspection after the roof is finished. Your favorite roofer should have replaced all vents and rubber boots around the penetrations. All flashings around chimneys and in valleys must be new. The roof, visually, should be of a uniform color and generally appear to have straight, crisp lines on every part.
Q: How long do roofs typically last and what are the impacts on service life?
A: A completely ignored asphalt shingle roof will last about 15 years. Maybe 10 to 15 years older in mild climates. More durable roofing materials, like metal or slate, can last 50 years or more.
The weather is the most important factor affecting lifespan. Wind and sun can wreak havoc on a roof, even if the installation has been done perfectly. Trees can provide shade protection or cause extensive damage. Do not let tree branches touch the roof and remove dead branches before they fall on it.
Q: What are the new roofing trends that you are noticing?
A: Metal roofs are becoming popular everywhere I look. It’s just far superior to any other type of roofing material available today.
Q: Where are the typical weak points of a roof of an average two-story house?
A: No matter what type of roof you have, anything protruding from the roof plane creates a potential weak point. Flashings around chimneys and where the roof meets dormer walls are extremely vulnerable.
Q: Can your insurance increase depending on the roof type material you choose, and why?
A: I am not in the insurance business. But I do know that metal roofs get fewer complaints for damage after storms. Insurance companies may prefer metal over weaker asphalt shingles.
Wood shingles, like cedar shingles, can cause problems with insurance premiums because they are not fire retardant.
Q: How often should you have your roof inspected?
A: Average homeowners can visually inspect their roof from the ground at any time. The recommendation is once in the spring and once in the fall. I prefer to check my roof about once a month and immediately after a storm because I have several trees on my roof that have caused damage.
If you notice anything that doesn’t seem out of place or if you see damage, call a trusted roofing company for a professional inspection.
Compare quotes from the best local roofers
Free and non-binding estimates