When well-maintained, your roof should last you at least a decade, but there are many things that can shorten its lifespan by causing damage. Luckily, many of these causes are avoidable. Taking care of the trees on your property, proactively keeping pests out of your home, and keeping up with gutter maintenance can keep your home's roof in good shape for years to come.
Trees Touching Your House
Trees growing on your property can add a lot of aesthetic value to your home and yard, but if they aren't well taken care of and regularly trimmed, they can start to cause damage if their leaves and branches touch your house.
Branches and leaves that touch your house can rub back and forth, and over time this can cause plenty of damage to your roofing material. Weatherproof seals can be damaged and shingle materials can be scraped away, which can create an opening for water damage if the problem isn't addressed quickly.
Trees and plants, especially those at roof level, should be trimmed regularly to avoid this risk. If this has been an issue in the past, make sure your trees are trimmed, and call a residential roofing contractor for an inspection.
Pests of all sorts can damage your roof from both sides. Any creatures that walk on the outside of your roof or make nests can wear away at your roofing material much more quickly. Additionally, pests in your attic or otherwise on the underside of your roof can chew away at insulation and flashing or weaken the roof's structure by damaging the wood supports. Termites commonly do this, but you may also find carpenter ants, bark beetles, and other wood-boring insects.
Incidentally, pest control and tree trimming go hand in hand; if your trees are allowed to touch your house, this gives many pests easy access to your roof and a bridge to your house that helps them avoid any preventative pest treatment.
Having your roof and home inspected on a regular basis will not only help keep pests at bay but can also prevent your roof from being damaged. An inspection from a professional is important if your home has had prior pest infestations, especially in or around your attic.
Clogged Gutters and Downspouts
Gutter maintenance is necessary to keep your gutters and downspouts clear and draining smoothly. Beyond the convenience of well-kept gutters, this also helps protect your roof from water damage.
When gutters and downspouts get clogged and water has nowhere to go, it can start to back up and sit against your roof for long periods of time. While roofs are designed to be waterproof, they aren't supposed to be essentially submerged in water; if enough water backs up, it can get under shingles and into the wood and start to cause wood rot.
Some signs of water damage include a moldy smell, wood warping and bowing, peeling paint, or stains in the interior of your home. If you see any of these signs, have your home inspected for water damage, and make sure your roof is inspected as soon as possible.