Roof maintenance tips for preventing leaks and damage
Basic maintenance can help extend the quality and lifespan of your roof.
When was the last time you examined your roof? Most homeowners rarely think about it unless there’s clear damage or it begins to leak. Keeping your roof well maintained can help prevent water, wind and snow damage, and prevents damage to your roof deck and attic from slow leaks. Stay on top of maintenance and your asphalt shingle roof is more likely to last its full lifespan of 15 to 20 years*.
Here are several roof maintenance tips to ensure your roof does its job for as long as possible:
- Avoid walking on your roof as much as possible. Use a ladder to access gutters and eaves.
- Leave roof vents open, even in the winter, to allow ventilation. Good ventilation also prevents buildup of damaging heat and moisture in the summer months.
- Trim your trees so they don’t rub against the roof and leave debris behind.
- Clean out your gutters regularly. Leaves, twigs and litter that become trapped on the roof and in valleys, gutters and downspouts can cause serious damage.
Monitor for damage to combat extreme weather
Climate change brings more frequent, intense weather events – like hail and wind storms – that can damage and tear off shingles. Poorly maintained roofs are more susceptible to storm damage.
Use binoculars to check the condition of your roof. Look for:
- lifting, curling or cracked shingles
- wear around chimneys and vents
- leaking or damaged gutters
- missing shingles (you may spot these on the ground around your home)
These signs indicate your roof may need repairs or to be replaced.
Watch out for ice damming in winter
Periods of fluctuating melting and freezing can cause ice dams to form at the edge of your roof and prevent drainage. Unless they’re removed, trapped water can leak into your home and cause extensive damage.
Consider these steps to prevent ice damming:
- Look for sagging or collapsed ice-filled gutters, water-damaged ceilings, peeling paint, damaged plaster and wet insulation.
- Don’t use common ice melters like salt, potassium, calcium, sodium or magnesium. They’re highly corrosive to shingles, gutters, downspouts and flashings.
- Removing an ice dam can be dangerous. Consider having a licensed contractor remove snow and ice from your roof, overhangs, eaves and gutters.
If your roof needs repairing or replacing
Hire a certified professional. Contact two or three qualified roofing contractors and ask for a detailed, written estimate that offers:
- Material quality and lifespan estimates
- Labour charges
- Estimated start and completion dates
- References and certificates of insurance
If you’re concerned about extreme weather events, ask about roofing materials that are more resistant to wind and hail storms. You can also consider having your shingles hand-sealed. This process involves adding extra adhesive under each shingle tab to improve the roof’s durability during wind storms.
If you replace your roof and have home insurance with us, let us know so we can keep your file up to date.
*Roofing materials have a defined lifespan and their replacement is part of the routine maintenance required with home ownership. To ensure that our insurance programs are sustainable and that our premiums remain affordable, depreciation factors apply to roofing material installed 10 or more years prior to the date of loss.