Five Ways to Help Your Roof Last Longer

1. Avoid Power-Washing Shingles
Concentrated spray can loosen the granules from the products’ top coating—and ensuing damage might not be covered by the warranty. Rather, have a professional roofer use a broom or leaf blower, or manually remove dirt and moss. And do not do it personally. “We advocate homeowners use a professional for safety reasons,” says Don Huber, CR’s director of product safety.

2. Check the Ventilation
Deficient or poorly located attic soffits and vents can cause condensation on the plywood decking that supports your roof shingles, which can lead to rot. A poorly placed exhaust fan can do the same.

3. Clean Gutters Regularly
“By doing so, you’ll prevent a buildup of liquid that could lead to leaks,” says Bobby Fischer, vice president of contractor programs at GAF, a shingle manufacturer. Fischer also recommends cutting back heavy shrub limbs that might brush against and erode roofing materials.

4. Insulate Attics and Cathedral Ceilings Properly
That will help prevent ice dams, which can contribute to costly leaks, especially in areas where roof covering planes meet. Lighting can have an impact, too.

Usually, when the number one layer of snow melts on your roof, it drips off. “But if the recessed lighting in your cathedral roof is poorly insulated, the heat can melt snow and ice from underneath; if trapped, that moisture can seep through nail holes and destroy the roof’s decking,” Eiseman says.

To counteract the effect, a roofer are able install a self-adhesive membrane layer to protect against ice and water on select areas of the roof.

5. Strengthen the Roof
In areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorm-related winds, consider investing extra for this three-stage treatment when you get a new roof. First, installers seal decking with special tape or sealant. Next, they use ring-shank nails, with ribbing that resists wind uplift. Third, they lock down the roof’s edges with metal flashing.

Discover a certified expert through the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. The improvement adds about $700 to $1,200 to the cost of roof covering a 1,500-square-foot home or about $1,500 to $2,000 additional for a 3,000-square-foot home, estimates Ian Giammanco, IBHS senior director of product design and lead research meteorologist. Your home insurance may give a discount for such fortified roofs, somewhat offsetting the cost.