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5 min read

Shingle Roof Maintenance: Ensuring Durability?


5 min read

Shingle Roof Maintenance: Ensuring Durability?

RoofShingle Roof Maintenance: Ensuring Durability?

Regardless of the type of material used to cover your roof, with time and exposure to the elements, grime can quickly build up and compromise the roof's functionality. Therefore, it's essential to clean your roof regularly to prolong its durability and maintain adequate waterproofing. Below are some tips on how to maintain a shingle roof.

Why Is Shingle Roof Maintenance Important?

Source: Canva

Asphalt shingle roofs are very common in residential areas in Quebec, mainly because of their aesthetic value, superior weather resistance, and ability to conform to various building styles.

Shingles are an important investment for homeowners, so maintaining them regularly is essential to avoid any damage and maximize their durability. Moreover, reroofing can be very expensive, whereas regular roof clean-up is much cheaper and helps prevent future damage that could lead to major renovation work.

Aside from ensuring the comfort and safety of the home's residents, a well-maintained roof retains its thermal performance and increases the home’s value, which is especially advantageous when putting it up for sale.

What Causes Damage to Roof Shingles?

Throughout their operational time frame, shingle roofs can be damaged due to several factors:

  • Adverse weather conditions: Between exposure to sunlight, wind, rain, hail, and snow, roofs can easily deteriorate with time, which can cause insulation and ventilation problems that leave room for mould growth.

  • Vegetation: Algae, moss, and lichen growth, as well as plant and tree debris, create micro-fissures in the roof and leave the home with an unappealing appearance.

  • A poor installation technique can also cause damages, as well as inadequate maintenance or dispersal pattern.

Certain problem indicators may be visible, such as cracked or warped shingles, missing shingles, mould on the ceiling (as well as brown and yellowish stains), water leaks inside the house, etc.

How to Maintain a Shingle Roof?

Source: Canva

Shingle roof maintenance is a 4-step process, preferably done twice yearly. It's not advisable to carry out some of the maintenance work yourself; it's best to hire a qualified roofer who is more likely to detect problems and implement effective measures.

1- Roof maintenance

Regular roof cleaning is the first step in maintaining roof shingles. This includes cleaning the shingles and flashing, as well as any related parts of the roof such as gutters, skylights, downspouts, chimneys, vents, and solar panels.

We recommend that you:

  • Occasionally remove leaves and branches that coat the surface of the roof. Work from ground level or, if this isn't possible, use a leaf blower to remove the vegetative debris.

  • Trim the foliage directly above the roof and hire an arborist for hard-to-reach areas. Alternatively, you can spray anti-moss products that are available at hardware stores over the vegetation.

  • Clean out the leaves and other vegetation from the gutters with a trowel. This will help the water drain into the downspouts.

  • Prevent a build-up of debris in your gutters by installing gutter guards or wire mesh grates. Doing so also makes it easier to remove any debris. If you're not comfortable with heights, have your roofer tackle the job.

The Canadian Asphalt Shingle Manufacturer’s Association (CASMA) suggested a simple formula to eliminate rooftop vegetation:

  • ¼ cup trisodium phosphate (TSP, chemical cleaner);

  • ¼ gallon bleach;

  • ¾ gallon water.

Carefully mix all ingredients above-mentioned and put on safety gear before ascending the roof. Don’t use a pressure washer, as it could damage the shingles; rather opt for a soft bristle brush. The process is best undertaken under favourable weather conditions, i.e. clear skies.

2- Roof check

After thoroughly cleaning the roof, inspect it for any potential damage. Ideally, carry out this inspection twice yearly, preferably during spring and fall. 

To that end, hire an experienced roofer who'll be able to locate any potential problem, detect any cracks, and carry out small repairs before they exacerbate. They'll also be able to ensure that your ventilation system is working properly and that it doesn't need to be cleaned or unclogged.

3- Roof repairs

This step consists of repairing damaged areas noted during the inspection. It's important to carry out any repairs immediately once detected, no matter how insignificant a fissure may seem, because, over time, it may exacerbate and require costly repairs. Water leak damage, even if it isn't initially apparent, is often difficult to repair and can be hazardous to one’s health.

4- Log roof repairs 

Homeowners are advised to keep a roof inspection log wherein roofers record all potential problems and past repairs made to the roof. This will allow the roofer to identify potential problems during future inspections and make more effective and durable repairs. By using this memory aid, you'll be able to better plan your roof maintenance budget and provide evidence of regular roof maintenance to a future inspector or buyer.

Gutters: What to Look Out for During Maintenance

Source: Canva

Cleaning the gutters is an essential step in maintaining an asphalt shingle roof. And that’s why, according to Marc-André Martin of Toitures Horizon, "When it comes to roof maintenance, all homeowners should clean out their gutters every fall."

Cleaning keeps the roof leak-proof and the house in good working condition. A build-up of leaves and dirt can clog gutters, which may lead to issues such as cracks, sagging structures, water infiltration, etc.

Regularly cleaning your gutters helps to remove any accumulated debris and thus avoid rust and corrosion, which can damage the rainwater drainage system. Depending on the manufacturing material used, properly maintained gutters can last up to 50 years.

To effectively clean your gutters, first, climb up a ladder and remain adjacent to the area. Then, remove any debris from the gutter: bird nests, dead leaves, grit, dust, etc.

With a scrub brush, proceed by scrubbing the surface; note that anything sharp could damage the gutters. Repeat this process as many times as needed as you work your way around the perimeter of your gutters.

Using a garden hose, start rinsing from the top down, and simultaneously inspect your gutters. If there’s a water leak, then your gutter is probably punctured or cracked. It may also be that your fitting gaskets are worn and some hooks are damaged. Also, the presence of stagnant water in some areas is a tell-tale sign of a sagging gutter, which must be realigned. If water just isn't flowing, then, in all likelihood, your gutter is probably clogged up with debris or something else.

When to Clean a Shingle Roof?

The best time to clean an asphalt shingle roof is during dry seasons. Ideally, it shouldn't rain for 3 days following the maintenance work. We suggest avoiding rainy seasons, as rain results in a slippery roof.

For safety reasons, windy weather conditions are also excluded. High temperatures cause the roof to dry too fast or expose the roofer to potential heat stroke. Rain and cold weather will wash away products before they can even take effect. Heat also causes the products to evaporate. Thus, it's important to find a happy medium.

Furthermore, to ensure that your restoration project is as efficient as possible, only proceed with maintenance work when the trees around your roof and property have shed all their leaves.

Cover image source: Steve Johnson – Flickr

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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