No one who owns rental properties wants to have tenants calling up about leaking ceilings. After all, a roof should last you as long as 25 years, so you don’t expect to be getting calls about it failing on you.
The roof is the most vulnerable part of a building and subject to a lot of punishment, especially during hurricane season. Following some basic roof maintenance tips helps you keep it in good condition so you can get the full life out of it.
This not only makes good sense for your investment, but it also fulfills your obligations as a landlord to take care of the property.
What’s involved in taking care of the roof? It starts with conducting regular inspections and fixing problems while they’re still minor.
Let’s look at some basic roof maintenance chores you should be doing regularly to take care of the roof.
1. Trim Back Trees
Trees add value and appeal to your property, but if you aren’t careful, they can be a minus. Any that sit close to the property can hang over the roof, making them prime culprits for roof damage.
When the branches get long enough, they start to brush the surface and can scrape off granules or lift the edges of the shingles. High winds and heavy storms just increase the amount of abrasion as the branch flails about.
Trees also contribute to clogs in the gutters, especially pine needles since they carry sap with them and tend to stick.
Keep those tree branches trimmed back to avoid creating damage you’ll have to repair later.
2. Check the Gutters
Gutters protect your property by directing water and debris away from the roof and foundation. To do their job, they have to be kept clear of leaves, sticks, and other debris. The more trees you have close to the house, the more often you need to get up there to check and clean the gutters.
When obstructed, the gutters can overflow, which sends the water upward and puts your roof sheathing and even the rafters at risk of developing rot.
Along with cleaning, be on the lookout for sagging or broken gutters. These can happen due to the weight of the material that builds up in the gutter. It’s also a good time to be on the lookout for insects like carpenter ants that can be damaging the roof.
3. Clean Off Debris
Sticks, twigs, and branches can poke holes in your shingles, while leaves and pine needles can collect and hold water. Not everything that falls on the roof washes down to the gutter, so it’s necessary to clean the debris off once in a while.
Keeping the roof cleared can prevent the growth of moss or algae and remove places where water can pond. Most of it can be easily cleared with a rake or a leaf blower for spots that are hard to reach.
4. Replace Damaged Shingles
Part of your regular inspection schedule should be to take a look at the roof for missing or lifting shingles as well as any bald patches where granules are missing. If you keep the trees trimmed back, you’re less likely to have issues with any of these.
It’s relatively simple to do a single asphalt shingle replacement, which is why it’s a good idea to keep some extras on hand when you replace the roof. If you have a larger patch, it’s time to call in your roofer to make the fix.
5. Replace Cracking Caulking
The flashing around a chimney and the vent pipes keeps water from leaking in around the edges of the roof. Because it’s on the roof, it’s subject to a lot of sun and heat, which makes it prone to drying up and cracking.
Plan on replacing the caulking every year. It’s an easy maintenance chore that takes care of a potentially tough problem. Use a high-grade caulk to ensure it lasts the full year.
6. Check for Moss and Algae
Keep an eye on the color of your roof. Streaking changes in color are a sure sign you have moss or algae growing up there. Keeping those trees trimmed back and debris off the roof can keep these at bay.
Algae isn’t really that big of a deal, but it is unsightly, even on composition shingles. You can clean it off with water with a little bleach mixed in.
On the other hand, moss has more dimension to it so it can trap water. You probably can just sweep it off, but remove it when you can. If this is a persistent issue, ask your roofer about installing zinc strips along the ridge of the roof.
7. Unblock Ventilation
Your roof needs to be able to breathe. Otherwise, heat and moisture trapped in the attic can start to rot the wood supporting the roof. It just makes your overall roofing system ineffective.
Proper insulation can keep moisture from rising from the house into the attic. This includes a layer on the attic floor with a vapor retarder underneath.
Open vents that allow air to flow through are also important. Make sure your insulation isn’t blocking any of them in the eaves so they can let the air through.
Need Help Deploying These Roof Maintenance Tips?
Taking care of the roof on your rental property protects your investment and ensures your tenants have a comfortable home. Following these roof maintenance tips can help you cut off big problems early so you can avoid fixing leaks later. Routine maintenance also helps you get the full lifespan out of your roof and avoid an early roof replacement.
Find something concerning during your last roof inspection? Contact us to get a free quote on your repairs or to discuss our maintenance solutions.