General Roof Information

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Published: March 3, 2014 Last Updated: September 13, 2020
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Roofs are a major component of a home. Leaking roofs can generally be repaired at a very reasonable cost compared to the purchase price of the home, however if a roof needs replacement then you could be looking at a considerable expense. Having a good home inspector and roofer look at the roof may reveal issues that weren’t, or couldn’t be, observed by the buyer.

Maintaining Your Roof

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your roof checked every three or five years.

Roofs generally require maintenance over time, just as a car does. The better you care for it, the longer it will last. Therefore, remember a roof may need maintenance or a “tune-up” from time to time.

A roof “tune-up” generally consists of:

  • Patching or sealing small leaking areas
  • Replacing missing, slipped and/or damaged shingles or tiles
  • Replacing small areas of deteriorated tar-paper as needed
  • Resealing vent pipes and flashings

Check for good ventilation in the attic – it’s healthy for your roof

Attics that have good ventilation help extend the life of the roof. A Poorly ventilated attic will allow heat to build up on the bottom side of the roof, allowing excessive heat to reach the shingles, and thus shortening their life expectancy. Manufactures of some roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles (composition shingles), will not stand behind the warranty on their shingles unless the attic ventilation complies with the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Gable end vents, ventilators, soffit vents and continuous ridge vents can help increase airflow and cool the attic. In cold climates they help evacuate the warm, moist air that escapes from the living space below. This reduces damage to the underside wood sheeting from moisture accumulating on it. It also helps to prevent ice dams, which start to form when warm air in the attic melts the snow from beneath and causes a runoff on the higher portion of the roof, which then refreezes on the colder eave area.

Roof vent screens – get blocked at times

When looking at the eave area of a roof, you often see small vent screens. On older homes these screens get blocked sometimes when the owner adds new or additional insulation in the attic. If they are not careful in placing the insulation, some of it gets against the vent screens, which reduces the air flow through the screens. When this occurs, the insulation should be pulled or moved back away from the vent screens. This is a very easy and quick fix to do.

If these screens have holes in them or are missing, then rodents may enter the attic area. Therefore, it is a wise maintenance suggestion to check these screens on a regular basis.

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