When people talk about having a place to live, they often use the phrase “a roof over your head.”
But why so much emphasis on the roof? Why not the walls that keep out the wind? Or doors that keep us safe? Because a roof was the first (and most important) structure our ancestors built to protect themselves from rain, trap in heat from the fire, and provide shade from the blazing sun. From ancient times to modern, a roof stands as one of the most significant (and expensive) aspects of any structure or home.
Now enough with the waxing poetic, let’s get down to business…
In this Ultimate Guide, we are going to share everything you should know about:
- Roof care
- Roof maintenance
- And roof inspection for your U.P. home or property
If you’re entering the real estate market (as a buyer OR seller), this guide is going to serve as an invaluable resource when determining the quality and longevity of your home’s roof.
Top 3 Roof Types Found in the Upper Peninsula
There are all types of roofs out there, with each kind having its own unique maintenance requirements. Often, homeowners think some types of roofs don’t need maintenance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s explore some of the most common roof types in the U.P., how to maintain them, and what we look out for during our inspections.
How to Maintain Metal Roofing
Metal roofs are generally long-lasting and low maintenance, but they do require a bit of upkeep to ensure a fresh appearance and longer lifespan.
Properly caring for a metal roof requires structural and surface maintenance. Let’s start with the surface care – which should be conducted at least once a year.
Surface Maintenance for Metal Roofs:
- Remove debris from drains, gutters, and valleys.
- Clear moss, lichen, and debris build-up off the roof’s surface (power washing works nicely for this).
- Clear out any branches or sticks that may be touching the roof to prevent stains, scratching, and build-up.
- Look for visible signs of wear and tear. If you find large instances of chalking, scuffing, and scratching, there may be a bigger problem brewing—and this is a good time to schedule an inspection to be sure what’s going on.
Now on to the structural maintenance associated with metal roofing. This type of care should be executed by a roofing professional – quick D.I.Y. fixes are NEVER a good idea for roofing as they can be ineffective, dangerous, and lead to more costly repairs down the line.
- Check fasteners, screws, rivets, and washers. Your inspector or roofing specialist will look for any loose, crooked, or missing parts.
- Check that flashings are well sealed to avoid roof leaks and subsequent water damage issues.
- Look for punctures in the metal (especially after hail, thunderstorms, or tornadoes).
- Assess sealant to be sure it is still water-tight. Sealants may need to be occasionally touched up.
- Check panel seams to be sure they’re even and tight. Heat and cold can cause expansion and contraction.
Remember, metal roofs have a long lifespan (anywhere from 40-70 years). With proper care, maintenance, and inspections, you can ensure your roof stays safe, strong, and effective for decades longer than one that is not correctly cared for.
How to Maintain Asphalt Roofs
Asphalt shingle roofs may be the most common roof type in the U.P. (and nationwide, for that matter). The most common problems I find with asphalt roofing during my inspections include missing shingles, a missing ridge vent, damaged boots around exhaust vents, and granular loss.
Your asphalt roof should be regularly maintained and visually inspected every year to ensure it is not damaged. Once again, I want to stress how important it is to hire a qualified contractor to conduct any repairs your roof may need. Cutting corners is never a good move when it comes to roofing.
Asphalt Roof Maintenance:
- Look for any overgrown tree branched that may be resting on the roof and trim them down. This will stop them from scraping your roof and eliminate the build-up of leaves and sticks.
- Check gutter and downspouts to ensure water is appropriately moving off and away from the roof.
- Look for loose, lost, or shabby shingles. Any loose shingles will need to be repaired with roofing cement. Severely damaged shingles will need to be replaced with new ones.
- Examine flashings to ensure they are placed over the joints to prevent water damage to your home.
- Inspect for moss, algae, and lichen build-up. In some cases, you can remove build-up with a special wash. In other cases, a zinc or lead control strip can inhibit the growth of formations.
For more information on identifying problems with your asphalt roof, please read our blog, Buying a Property? Look Out For These Top 4 Roofing Inspection Issues.
How to Maintain a Flat Roof
Flat roofs are typically made from either PVC, EPDM rubber, TPO, modified bitumen, or BUR and are designed to be relatively low-maintenance – lasting for up to 25 years with proper care. But the problem lies here: because flat roofs are hard to observe, you can’t really know if it’s leaking until inside damage has already taken place.
Flat roof maintenance:
- Look for split, cracked, torn, or worn areas that cause interior water damage.
- Search for large puddles (known as ponding) which can collect on your flat roof, causing subsequent damage. Look for signs of pooling and puddles to catch this problem before it gets out of hand.
- Direct sunlight can cause blistering when pockets of air cause your flat roof to wrinkle and ripple. If you see signs of blistering, it’s time to bring in the professionals.
Each year, you should schedule an inspection to have your flat roof examined for potential problems, and every 2-4 years, you should have your flat roof coated to protect the surface from mold, heat, and water damage.
To learn about five common roofing problems we find on our inspections (that homeowners often miss), read our blog, Top 5 Issues Your Professional Roof Inspector Will Catch (But You Might Not).
Preserve Your Roof With Regular Inspections
No matter what type of roof your home has, regular inspections and maintenance are two can’t -miss steps to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Call U.P. Home Inspection LLC., offering Marquette inspection services, roof inspection, and more today at (906) 360-3879.