Asphalt shingles are a durable, long-lasting roofing material that can enhance your property’s aesthetic. If you take care of your roof regularly, it may last several decades before you need to think about replacing it. If you don’t know how old your roof is, you may want to inspect it for damage and make the necessary repairs to extend its life span. Use this shingle roof repair and maintenance guide to get started caring for your roof today.
The Basics of Roof Maintenance
Roof maintenance includes making sure your roof lasts as long as possible. These tips can help you with inspecting, cleaning, repairing and protecting the top of your house:
1. How Do You Maintain Roof Shingles?
Follow this shingle roof maintenance checklist to ensure you know how to maintain roof shingles:
- Inspection: It helps to check your roof’s components for damage so you can make the necessary repairs. Besides inspecting your shingles and the structural soundness of your roof, examine your gutter’s water flow and check for debris. You may also want to check your roof and attic’s ventilation to ensure heat and moisture don’t get trapped inside. Instead of inspecting your roof yourself, you can hire a reliable roofing specialist to give you a fair estimate and help you care for your shingle roof.
- Cleaning: To extend your roof’s life span, you can clean the shingles and the surrounding areas to prevent debris buildup. Trim the trees around your property and get rid of leaves on the shingles. You may want to use a trowel and some gloves to get the debris out of your gutters. If you use any water or soap, make sure it dries and doesn’t leave moisture on your roof.
- Repair: If you notice any missing or damaged shingles, you can contact a roofing specialist to replace them. You’ll want to save any paperwork or receipts from your professional roof services to keep track of what they did and when. If you feel comfortable repairing your roof, you can secure loose shingles back in place with roofing cement.
- Protection: When your roof is clean and intact, you may want to install some extra protection to maintain its integrity. Adding insulation to your attic can help control heat loss and provide proper airflow. You may also want to install gutter guards to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters.
2. Can You Power-Wash Roof Shingles?
Power-washing roof shingles can damage your roof and potentially void the warranty you may have with the manufacturer. Before you use a power washer, consider some of the problems that could happen:
- The adhesive or bonding between shingles could get weaker.
- The underlying fabric of your roof could tear and leave your shingles vulnerable to moisture damage.
- The ceramic granules on your asphalt shingles could fall off and land in your gutters.
- The pressure could spread moss or mold from one part of the roof throughout the whole structure.
- Water could weaken your roof and leak inside your home.
- Your roofing’s life span and durability could drastically decrease.
3. What’s the Best Way to Clean a Shingle Roof?
For best results, follow these shingle roof maintenance tips:
- Wipe away debris: Clean the shingle roof with a low-pressure garden hose while you’re on the ground. If you feel comfortable working on a ladder, you can brush the shingles with a soft brush or broom. You can also remove small debris from your roof with a leaf blower.
- Make homemade cleaner for stains: To get rid of stubborn algae stains, you can mix bleach, water and trisodium phosphate (TSP) in a garden hose sprayer. When working with bleach, make sure you wear gloves and goggles. You may want to clean your roof on a cloudy day so the cleaner doesn’t evaporate too quickly.
- Hire a professional: If you don’t feel comfortable climbing a ladder or mixing bleach, you can invest in professional roof cleaning services. The experienced specialists have all the equipment and cleaning materials necessary to remove debris and keep your roof in good condition.
4. How Often Should You Maintain Your Roof?
Aim to inspect your roof at least once in the spring or fall to prepare for the upcoming rise or drop in temperature. You may want to check your roof more often if you live in an area with many trees and frequent storms.
Consider the following situations for when you should inspect and care for your roof:
- Before you move into a new house, so you or the previous owner can repair it
- After a storm to make sure fallen tree branches, heavy winds or rain didn’t damage your shingles
- When your roof has been on your home for longer than a decade
Shingle Roof Longevity
Consider how long your roof could potentially last before you need to replace it.
1. How Long Does a Shingle Roof Typically Last?
The life span of your shingle roof depends on its material. Consider the most popular types of shingle roofing to find out how long yours may last:
- Three-tab asphalt shingles: Three-tab asphalt shingles can typically last about a couple of decades when you take care of them. Even though many manufacturers put a 30-year warranty on them, most 30-year shingles only last about half that time due to weather conditions, improper installation and lack of maintenance.
- Composite shingles: A composite shingle roof contains a fiberglass-reinforcing core with a coating of asphalt and minerals instead of pure asphalt. Local weather conditions and your maintenance routine affect your roof’s life span. In general, composite shingle roofs last a couple of decades.
- Architectural asphalt shingles: Architectural shingles are thicker and better than standard asphalt shingles, so they tend to last several decades or more.
- Premium asphalt shingles: You can install more upscale asphalt shingles that have the potential to last several decades, at least a few years longer than architectural shingles. This material tends to withstand heavy winds better than the standard asphalt shingle.
- Wood shingles and shakes: Even though wood roofing tends to be high maintenance, it can last several decades with the right treatment.
- Metal: This material is the longest-lasting roof shingle, with the potential to last more than half a century.
2. Is It OK to Put New Shingles Over Old?
Putting new shingles over your old ones can save you money, especially if you want to sell your house soon. However, most state regulations only allow you to have two or three layers of asphalt shingles on top of your roof, so if you already have several layers, you may need to replace your whole roof.
Some people may be able to save time and money on a new roof by keeping their old shingles. Tearing off the old roof can be challenging and expensive, so if your roofing structure is relatively new, you may not have to spend a lot of money on getting a brand-new look for your house. The ability to cover old shingles will likely depend on multiple factors, including your unique roof structure. You might want to consult a roofing specialist to find out if you can put new shingles over the old ones.
Consider some potential drawbacks of placing new shingles over your old roof:
- Since shingles work best on flat surfaces, they may not last as long if you install them on top of irregular shingles.
- The additional weight of the new shingles can put a burden on your roofing structure.
- You won’t be able to inspect or repair the roof sheathing and underlayment underneath your old shingles, so you have to be sure these components can last at least another decade.
- If the roof underlayment isn’t in excellent condition, moisture can get trapped underneath the shingles and damage your roof’s structure.
- Putting new shingles over your old ones could void your warranty.
- If you’re trying to get a new roof before you sell your house, you might turn away potential homebuyers who don’t want to pay to tear off both layers of shingles.
3. Can You Put Roof Coating on Shingles?
You may be able to find a sealant for your shingles that prevents leaks and limits the spread of mold and mildew. A coat of white reflecting paint also has the potential to keep your home cooler in the summer instead of absorbing heat.
Even though these roof coatings seem like practical ways to extend the life span of your roof, they might not work for your property if your roof already has bad leaks or damaged shingles. Since the sealant can only prevent leaks, it won’t fix the gaps or cracks you already have on your shingles. You’d also need to make sure your roof is spotless before installing the sealant, which is challenging without using a pressure washer or getting it cleaned by a professional.
If you invest in a high-quality sealant, it may add a few more years to your roof. It may be better to replace your roof if you want to get the expected results of a roof coating. A roofing contractor can help you find a high-quality shingle that can last for several decades.
4. How Do You Make Roof Shingles Last Longer?
Taking care of your asphalt shingle roof can help make it last longer. Follow these shingle roof safety tips to make your roof shingles last as long as possible:
- Avoid power washing shingles: The pressure from the spray can remove the granules from the asphalt coating. Instead of using a power washer to clean your shingles, you can hire a professional to remove the dirt and moss on your property with a broom or leaf blower. You can stay safer and prolong your roof’s life span if you hire a professional instead of doing it yourself.
- Ensure proper ventilation: If your roof doesn’t have adequate airflow, moisture could build up in the structure underneath your roof shingles, resulting in wood rot and mold. Instead, you can hire a contractor to check your ventilation system and make the necessary changes.
- Clean your gutters: Debris can get stuck in your gutters and cause water to build up near your roof. Instead of climbing onto a ladder and removing leaves and dirt by hand, you might want to hire a professional to clean out your gutters. A roofing contractor might also be able to install gutter guards to prevent debris buildup in the future.
- Insulate your attic: Proper insulation can prolong your shingles’ life span and prevent ice dams that cause costly leaks near your roof. Consult a roofing specialist about how much insulation you should add to your attic to protect your roof from damage.
5. How Often Do You Need to Replace a Shingle Roof?
A shingle roof can last for several decades before you need to replace it. However, if you’re unsure of your roof’s age, consider these factors to know how often you should change your roof shingles:
- Damaged or missing shingles: Inspect your roof for missing or worn roofing components. Even though you can easily replace a few worn-out shingles, they may point to a more significant issue. If you see a large patch of missing or broken shingles, you may have problems with your roofing structure, and you may need to invest in a brand-new roof.
- Curling shingles: Your roof’s shingles might curl because of moisture, improper installation or old age. As a result, water can leak into your roof’s wooden structure and cause it to rot. If the shingles and roofing components get damaged, you’d likely need to replace the whole roof.
- Moss or dark spots: Your roof could develop moss, mold or mildew in areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight. These organic materials retain moisture and can cause it to spread throughout your roof. You may be able to repair it by cleaning up the moss, algae or mildew, but if there’s extensive damage, you’ll have to replace the whole top of your house.
- Sunlight coming inside: Inspect your attic for spots of sunlight coming through the roof boards. In this case, you’d likely need a new roof to fill in the gaps of both your shingles and the underlayment.
- Rising energy costs: If you haven’t increased your heating or air conditioning usage, but your energy bills are rising, you might have a problem with your roof. Air leaks from gaps in your roof could influence your indoor air temperature and put more wear and tear on your HVAC system. You might want to have the roof replaced to lower your monthly utility expenses.
- Granules in your gutters: When the granules fall off, the shingles lose their ability to withstand moisture damage. If you notice small black pieces in your gutters, you’ll probably have to replace your roof shingles.
- Sagging roof: All the components of your roof should be strong and rigid to support your home and the valuables you have inside. If the roof sags and snow or debris accumulates on top, it could collapse and damage your interior property.
- Moisture damage: If your roof has missing shingles or damaged underlayment, water could leak into your attic. You may see dark stains or mold growth on your walls and ceiling if moisture has gotten through your roof. You may need to replace your roof before your house gets worse.
Contact Us to Replace Your Roof
At RoofClaim.com, we offer high-quality Atlas and Owens Corning asphalt shingles that each come with protective coatings and various color options. We collaborate with a network of experienced roofing contractors who can give you tips for how to care for asphalt shingle roofs, including when you’ll need a roof replacement. Contact us online or call 855-560-3765 to schedule a roof inspection today.