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7 Common Roof Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

homeowner makes roof maintenance mistakes when failing to clear trees and debris

The average asphalt shingle roof should last around 25 years with proper maintenance. 

Different roofing materials have different life expectancies and maintenance requirements. No matter what type of roof you have, a roof maintenance routine will help you avoid major damage and prolong its lifespan. The first step in understanding roof maintenance is knowing what not to do.

At O’Donnell Roofing, we’ve seen plenty of roof maintenance mistakes during our 100 years as a business. Today, we’re going to tell you 7 of the most common mistakes so that you can avoid them at all costs. 

It’s easy to forget about your roof – it’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing. Without proper maintenance, you’ll have to replace your roof sooner than you’d like.

1. Not Performing Regular Inspections

The importance of regular roof inspections can’t be understated. When you live in a place like Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, with warm, humid summers and frigid winters, your roof goes through a lot. It’s your first line of defense against this weather and all of its side effects, so it takes a big beating.

homeowner has contractor inspect roof to avoid roof maintenance mistakes

A surefire way to prolong your roof’s lifespan is to inspect it professionally once or twice per year. Seasoned roofing professionals can quickly assess your roof and inspect it for common issues, whether it’s damaged or missing shingles, algae, or a buildup of ice.

Detecting issues quickly and repairing roof damage are the keys to a healthy, sturdy roof. To learn more about seasonal roof inspections, check this post out.

2. Ignoring Your Gutters

Your gutters and roof are inextricably linked. If you value the health of your roof, then you need to make sure you clean your gutters on a seasonal basis. This is a simple process that you can do yourself with a few affordable tools, but you can also hire a professional to do it.

In an ideal world, everything that lands on your roof – sticks, seeds, leaves, rain, etc. – falls into your gutters. If you fail to clean them, they’ll become clogged, and you’ll start to have serious drainage problems. 

One of the big issues is overflowing gutters, which can affect both your roof and your home’s foundation. In terms of your roof, the backflow can cause water damage and prompt the growth of moss and algae. 

3. Leaving Moss and Algae

Having greenery growing on your roof might make it look like a forest cabin, but it’s harboring moisture that creates big problems for your roof. Moisture can deteriorate the components of your roof, which will eventually lead to leaks.

Moss can also work its way under your shingles, which lifts them up. This is another way that it can create leaks, but it also weakens the shingles, so they come off easily. Part of your roof maintenance routine should be cleaning moss and algae off, but there’s a particular way to do it.

4. Pressure Washing

Many homeowners think the best way to get rid of moss and algae is to use brute force. Using a pressure washer will certainly make it easy to get everything off of your roof, but there’s a good chance that it’s going to damage your asphalt shingles along the way.

homeowner makes roof maintenance mistakes when pressure washing rooftop

If you have a slate or tile roof, pressuring washing could be an option, but it’s best to consult a professional roofer to know for sure. The other option is to get on your roof with a cleaning solution and soft-bristled brush. Scrubbing the moss off is easier than you might realize.

5. Neglecting Leaks

Neglecting a leaky roof can end in disaster. The more water that’s able to breach your roof and enter your home, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with mold and mildew in your attic. It’ll also start working away at the structure of your roof to the point where you may have to have it replaced.

Leaks aren’t always going to be easy to detect. You won’t necessarily see a huge puddle on the floor of your attic. You have to look for wet spots and discoloration on the ceiling or musty smells in the attic, which indicates mold.

Repairing roof damage like this can be affordable. If you leave it to get worse, then you’re going to run into untenable roof maintenance costs.

6. Ignoring Overhanging Branches

Having tall trees in your yard is every homeowner’s dream, but these need to be looked after if you’re going to preserve your roof. One of the most costly maintenance mistakes that we see is neglected trees where the branches fall off and damage the roof.

During the fall and winter months, your trees cut off resources to dying branches, which then become extremely weak and vulnerable. When snow and wind come, these branches buckle under the weight and pressure, then land on your roof.

Obviously, this poses a big danger to your roof, as asphalt shingles can easily be punctured by a sharp branch. Call an arborist to have overhanging branches trimmed to avoid major roof damage.

7. Mismatching Materials

If you’ve got a DIY streak, you may be tempted to save a bit of money and deal with roof maintenance on your own. Patching up and replacing shingles should only be done by experienced roofers and replacement roof materials should always match your existing ones.

It might be tricky to find exact replicas of your roof shingles, but it’s worth the effort. Mismatching them can lead to leaks and further roof damage. If you’re unsure of how to replace roof materials, it’s always best to call a professional rather than try and figure it out yourself.

One Surefire Way to Avoid Roof Maintenance Mistakes…

There’s one obvious way to avoid these common roof maintenance mistakes: contact a professional roofing company. Professionals know how to diagnose roof damage and fix it in the most suitable and cost-effective manner.

At O’Donnell Roofing, we’ve been installing, repairing, and maintaining Philadelphia roofs for almost 100 years. Roofing is in our DNA, so there’s no better company to contact to help develop a roofing maintenance schedule.

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