Your roof was or will be an expensive investment. So, it makes sense that you want to do everything you can to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many roofs fail to reach their maximum lifespan in the 30-plus years I’ve been in the roofing industry. I don’t want this happening to you.
That’s why you need to know what you can do to help your roof last longer on your end, before and after buying a new roof.
At Bill Ragan Roofing Company, we provide unbiased roofing information to help homeowners get what they deserve out of their roof investment. But there’s only so much we can do without doing the work ourselves.
In this article, you’ll learn the 6 ways to help your roof last longer to ensure it reaches the maximum lifespan.
1. Hire a reputable roofing contractor
The roofing contractor you hire has the biggest impact on all aspects of your roof in the present and future. That’s why the first and most important way to help your roof last longer is by hiring a reputable roofing contractor.
If you find a reputable roofing company, your roof should last as long as the materials hold up. On the other hand, your roof has no chance of reaching its full lifespan if you hire a contractor that doesn’t use correct roofing techniques.
(Improperly installed roof)
This could be because of poor workmanship, inadequate attic ventilation, improper nailing, and poor weather conditions during the installation process. Unfortunately, all of this culminates in a roof that either needs repairs throughout its life or prematurely fails.
You may think your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty protects you if this happens and will fix the problem at no cost to you. But if you hired a roofing contractor that installed your roof wrong in the first place, there’s a good chance they won’t stand behind their work.
It’s a simple fact that a new roof is an expensive purchase. So, it’s understandable that a low price may drive your decisions.
However, it’s crucial to invest in quality roofing materials and components to help your roof last longer. The quality of your roofing materials and components significantly impacts your roof’s lifespan.
That’s why I don’t recommend looking for the cheapest roofing options available. If you decide to go with the cheapest roof, you'll get the cheapest roofing materials and the cheapest labor to install them.
Paying for this cheap labor and materials shows in the finished quality of your roof. Unfortunately, this leads to your roof not lasting as long as it should.
I’m not saying you have to break the bank and find the most expensive roof possible. No matter how tight your budget is, invest in quality from the beginning to ensure your roof investment lasts as long as possible.
3. Make sure your attic is adequately ventilated
Your attic’s ventilation system allows your home and roof to breathe properly. This alone makes it important, but it also has a huge impact on a roof’s lifespan.
That’s why making sure your attic is adequately ventilated is a way to help your roof last longer. Just know that this is one of the first things a roofing contractor does during an inspection.
As long as you hire a good one, you should have the right amount of vents to ensure the attic is vented properly. But without proper attic ventilation, damage from trapped hot and cold air drastically shortens your roof’s life.
In the summer, heat builds up in your attic and leads to the hot air burning your roof if your ventilation system isn't working properly. This causes the adhesives in the decking to deteriorate and your shingles to crack or curl.
In the winter, heat and moisture from your home’s interior travel into the cold attic, causing condensation. This condensation becomes trapped and leads to your roof decking swelling and becoming wavy.
The decking will also lose its ability to hold the nails, lose its load-bearing capacity, and cause mold/mildew, which can lead to serious health issues. No matter if it’s cold or hot air, your roof will not last as long as it should if your attic isn’t properly ventilated.
4. Have your roof maintained yearly
Like your car needs maintenance to run smoothly, so does your roof. Getting roof maintenance actually plays an essential role in a roof’s lifespan and is one of the best ways to help your roof last longer.
Whether it’s once or twice a year, maintenance ensures you get the most out of your roof investment. It’s a chance to catch any potential problems with your roofing materials and prevent future leaks before they can start.
Without maintenance, a small problem snowballs and turns into an expensive repair when the damage gets bad enough. Roof maintenance is also the perfect chance to clear your roof of debris in problem areas like valleys.
(Debris sitting in a roof valley)
Allowing wet debris to sit on your roof shortens the lifespan of your roofing materials. Because of all this, I recommend getting your roof checked out at least once a year.
Luckily, roofing contractors usually offer a maintenance program with perks to help you keep track of your yearly inspections.
5. Regularly clean out your gutters
Our next way won’t necessarily impact your entire roof system, but it’s important enough to warrant its own section. The next way to help your roof last longer is by keeping your gutters clear.
The main job of your gutters is to control where the water goes after it leaves your roof. But water has nowhere to go with a dam of debris blocking it and can lead to a variety of problems.
If the debris is so built up that water is overflowing the sides of the gutters, it washes out the area around your foundation and eventually causes cracks. Depending on the amount of debris, the weight could cause your gutters to pull away from your home.
This causes a gap for water to saturate your exterior walls and enter the interior of your home. For a roof specifically, overflowing gutters can lead to rotting on the edges of your roof decking.
These are just a few of the problems caused by overflowing gutters. Maintaining your gutters isn’t only crucial to your roof but to your home as well.
6. Trim back any trees that hang over your roof
The last way to help your roof last longer is to trim back any close or overhanging trees. The first thing you have to worry about with tree limbs over your roof is bird droppings.
Bird droppings are highly acidic and can eat away most roofing components, especially tar-based ones. It’s also been proven that constant bird droppings can shorten a roof’s lifespan.
The next thing you have to worry about is the actual tree itself. Overhanging tree limbs can erode your roof’s protective top layer by allowing water to drip continuously after every rainstorm.
Back to lack of maintenance, fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris also hinder water drainage down your roof. This sends water where it’s not supposed to go until it finds the path of least resistance and starts leaking through your roof.
The last thing you have to worry about is fallen tree limbs. Fallen limbs will damage your roof and can cause serious structural damage if large enough.
I’m not saying you have to remove the tree, even though that’s the easiest way. The best way to avoid this is to simply keep your tree branches trimmed back as much as possible.
How long will your roof actually last?
Now you know 6 ways to help your roof last longer. If you do what this article mentions, you should get the most out of your roof investment.
But how long will your roof investment last after installation? This is a common question homeowners ask, and, honestly, it’s one of the most important questions.
That’s why I wrote another article breaking down how long a roof lasts based on the roofing material you have or choose.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. You can count on our workmanship to maximize your roof’s lifespan.
Check out How Long a Roof Lasts to learn the lifespan of your roof and when you’ll have to replace it in the future.