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Tips to Make Your Roof Last as Long as Possible

Whether your roof is brand-new or years old, here’s what you need to do to keep it in the best possible shape for the longest possible time.

A new roof is an expensive proposition — $18,800 on average for composition shingles, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report, and as much as $36,000 for high-end materials. Once you’ve made that kind of investment, you’ll want to protect it.

And even if your roof is years old, maintaining it in good shape will prolong its life and keep you from having to replace it prematurely. Here’s what you need to do to get the most from your roof.

Clean the Gutters

Ruined paint on siding and a wet basement are typical problems caused by clogged gutters, but it might surprise you to learn that the overflow can also go upward. When leaves pile too deeply in gutters, water can wick into roof sheathing and rot it, or even rot roof rafters. 

Fixing that kind of damage could run into the thousands of dollars, but you can avoid it by cleaning your gutters each fall and spring. Do it yourself in a few hours if you’re comfortable working on a ladder, or hire a pro for $50-$250, depending on house size. 

Remove Leaves 

If you have a simple peaked roof surrounded by low landscaping, your roof probably stays clear of leaves on its own. But if the roof is more complicated or if towering trees are nearby, piles of leaves probably collect in roof valleys or near chimneys. If you don’t remove them, they will trap moisture and gradually decompose, allowing moisture to accumulate in your roof — or worse, create fertile ground for weeds to grow.

If you have a low-slope roof and a one-story house, you may be able to pull the leaves down with a soft car-washing brush on a telescoping pole. Or you can use a specialty tool like a roof leaf rake, which costs about $20. A leaf blower gets the job done too, especially on dry leaves, but you or a pro needs to go up on the roof to use it.

If leaves are too wet or too deep, you might need to wash them off with a garden hose. Don’t use a pressure washer, which can force water up under the shingles.

Get Rid of Moss

In much of the country, composition roofs often become covered with black algae. Although unsightly, this filmy growth doesn’t hurt the roof. A little chlorine bleach or detergent mixed with water will kill it, but it’s safer for both you and the roof to just leave it alone.

If you live in the Northwest, you’re likely to find moss growing on your roof, particularly on wood or composition shingles. Moss, which looks more three-dimensional than algae, needs to go because it traps water. If you tackle it early enough, you can just sweep it off.

If there’s a lot of buildup, you may need to kill the moss first. The Washington Toxics Coalition recommends using products based on potassium salts of fatty acids rather than more toxic formulas with zinc sulfate. Even so, apply the soap only where moss is growing, and try to keep the wash water from getting into storm drains.

Once the roof is clean and free of moss, consider investing in zinc strips to keep it from coming back. For about $300, a roofer will install strips near the top of the roof. When it rains, the runoff from the strips inhibits the growth of moss. It’s effective and more environmentally friendly than treating the entire roof with pesticide, as long as you don’t live near a stream or a lake where the runoff can harm aquatic life.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/roofing-gutters-siding/prolong-lifespan-your-roof/#ixzz3QKLNQmiI 


#1 By Deanna R. Jones at 2/5/2015 0:19 PM

These seem like really great tips to help homeowners know how to take care of their roofs. I had to have my roof replaced after I moved into this house, so it's really helpful to have a few tips to help make sure that my roof will last for a long time. I really appreciate your tips about getting rid of moss. That's actually why I had to replace my roof. I'll be sure to use detergent and water to get rid of any algae growing on my roof. Thanks for the tips!

#2 By Seth at 2/11/2015 7:57 AM

I didn't know that you didn't have to clean off the moss on your roof. Now I can tell my wife that it might 'damage' the roof. Still I would much rather do it yourself and get it done.

#3 By gary birtles at 2/11/2015 -2:23 PM

It has been a while since I've cleaned my gutters. I usually do it at the beginning of summer, but I've really neglected it this year. Hopefully I don't have any of the damage this article talked about as a result. I need to make it more of a priority.

#4 By Sophie Green at 2/18/2015 9:40 AM

My husband and I just moved into an older home, and one of the things we've noticed is that the roof isn't in the best condition. It never occurred to me that removing leaves from the roof could prolong its life. We'll definitely take your suggestion about using a leaf blower to keep the roof cleared, to avoid future wear and tear.

#5 By Nora Moore at 2/19/2015 8:49 AM

If some maintenance tricks can help my roof last longer, I'm all for it. Repairs are less expensive than putting in a new roof. I wonder if there is any moss on my roof. While I don't know a lot about that stuff, it makes sense that you don't want moisture trapped up there by those little plants.

#6 By Eugene Dean at 2/20/2015 7:54 AM

I really need to take your advice about cleaning my gutters. This is something that I always neglect to do. By the time I get around to it, the gutters are completely clogged. I probably wouldn't procrastinate so long if I wasn't afraid of heights. In a few years, I can force my son to do it.

#7 By Grant Harper at 2/26/2015 2:39 PM

I wish I had known these tips a few years ago when I first moved into my home! Right now, my roof is in really bad condition, and I am sure that it is because I didn't take very good care of it. I need to get it replaced soon, but then afterward I will be sure to remember these things. I'll be sure that my roof is cleaned off frequently so that it is free of any moss or leaves that could damage it. Thanks for your awesome suggestions!

#8 By Julie Myers at 3/6/2015 3:59 PM

It is really important to me that my roof lasts a long time. I think you bring up some excellent points about making it last longer, especially in keeping it clean. This applies mostly to flat roofs, since it can be really difficult to keep leaves off of it. I think I should also probably look for moss to make sure that I don't get any damage to my roof because of that.

#9 By Haley Bennett at 3/12/2015 7:41 AM

I had no idea zinc strips were available for your roof. Do you know how long the zinc strips last, and can commercial roofing companies install the strips? I am thinking about moving to Washington state and I've heard that people have to clear their roof often, so thank you for posting these tips; I'll be sure to check my gutters frequently.

#10 By Kristen Dockery at 3/12/2015 8:58 AM

I hope that I will be able to remember these tips mentioned in this article. I recently got my roof replaced because I had neglected it and it became really damaged. I want this roof to last as long as possible so I hope that I can apply these tips and my roof will last for a long time. Is there anything else that I can do to keep my roof strong and free of damage?

#11 By Ronald Swanson at 3/13/2015 7:33 AM

I had no idea that algae and moss could grow on my roof! My house is located in a very humid area, so I can see it being extremely easy for these guys to make my roof home to them. I'll have to go up and make sure that no moss has built up, and is weighing my roof down with their water weight. Hopefully it isn't too late to just clean it off myself, and then be done with it.

#12 By Johnny Shih at 3/16/2015 -1:52 PM

Removing leaves is a great idea. I guess I never viewed the roof as a place that needed cleaning. Our family replaced our homes roof a little over a year ago and I try not to get on the roof so I don't wear it out from being up there all the time. But removing leaves and doing a little cleaning is probably something I could do while cleaning the gutters twice a year.

#13 By Eric Keck at 3/24/2015 1:23 PM

This article is great for people that don't know or take precautionary measures for secure their roof.

#14 By Stephan Bashkir at 4/15/2015 4:51 PM

I never thought that the gutters could have such an affect on the longevity of my roof. Clogged gutters are annoying to deal with, but if it causes overflow to get sucked up into my roofing, I can see how it would cause some damage. I'll have to go out and make sure I'm keeping them clean to avoid any further problems.

#15 By Nora Moore at 4/16/2015 -2:48 PM

That is a good point that the gutters need to be maintained. I would hate to have water damage or roofing problems because I forgot about cleaning them out. At least I don't have to worry about moss growing on my roof where I live. It's not moist enough for that.

#16 By sean at 4/24/2015 9:40 AM

Thank you for the advice to get rid of leaves. I would have never thought to make sure my roof stayed clear of leaves. However, as you said, if you don't get these taken care of it will increase the moisture that gets absorbed by your roof. Luckily the leaves only really fall once a year, so you don't have to be up there everyday clearing things off.

#17 By Addie Ross at 4/29/2015 9:47 AM

I have never really looked at my roof, but now that I think about it, there is quite a bit of moss up there. I didn't know that it traps water, and could cause damage to your roof. That is something I need to have taken care of.

#18 By Dave Thompson at 5/22/2015 0:52 PM

If all I have to do is clean the gutters to make my roof last longer then count me in. I'd rather spend a few hours a month cleaning out gutters than spend a whole bunch of money on a new roof. Haven't cleaned them I a while, so I better get out there this weekend and get it done. Thanks for the awesome roof advice.

#19 By Brandon Roberts at 5/27/2015 4:48 PM

Cleaning out the gutters has always been a struggle for me to do. I just get so busy with other things that I forget to do it. But I would never have guessed that not cleaning out the gutters could help make my roof last longer. Thanks a ton for the tips. They are really going to help my roof last a lot longer.

#20 By Dream at 5/27/2015 6:00 PM

Paying attention to the small details (such as those pesky leaves) can really help homeowners save big bucks. It only takes a little work and a lot of consistency but in the long run, it's all really worth it.

#21 By Addie Ross at 6/8/2015 5:16 AM

I just moved into a very humid area, and apparently I need to watch out for moss on my roof. Before this, I never knew that was a problem! It's good to know that I will need to keep up on it, before it causes serious damage to my roof.

#22 By Dave Thompson at 6/9/2015 0:27 PM

I'll have to use some of these great tips to help improve the life span of my roof. It is only a few years old, but I'd like it to last for a long time to come. Getting rid of moss and leaves seems like a great way to keep your roof in tip top shape, so I'll have to give that a try and see how it works.

#23 By Sam Hall at 6/15/2015 3:24 PM

The roof is a huge part of your home's structure. There's a reason it's so expensive to replace it. Keeping it clear and making sure it's holding against water will prevent costly repair or replacement.

#24 By Liza at 6/18/2015 10:34 PM

Superb post! Replacement is a chic step cannot take simply on every occasion. Repair will do a lot of it had been through with sensible quality sealant Liquid EPDM Rubber

#25 By Aiden at 6/19/2015 -1:57 PM

It is surprising how easy it is for most people to forget to do these three simple things. It isn't that hard to remove leaves and moss or to clean the gutters, unless you don't do it regularly. Your roof will be much less prone to leaks and water damage if it is well-maintained.

#26 By Fred Summers at 6/22/2015 7:59 AM

I liked the advice on the moss clean up. The advice to apply the zinc strips seems really helpful. Moss can damage a roof and be a pain. How long do the strips last?

#27 By Sergio at 6/23/2015 9:51 AM

I think you're right: getting roofs cleaned on a regular basis is an important part of being a homeowner. Letting the roof accumulate debris can be a very costly mistake. Even just cleaning the gutters yourself is better than letting everything pile up. Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

#28 By Rose Henderson at 6/24/2015 7:27 AM

All of these tips seems relatively simple. A lot of people just tend to overlook their roofs though. I'm glad I ran into this article so I can keep all of these things in mind. I wouldn't have given much thought to the gutters before since they don't directly touch the roof! I hope I can make my roof last as long a possible.

#29 By Rodney Winerson at 6/29/2015 -1:59 PM

I had no idea that moss could actually grow on your roof. I'll have to get up on my roof this weekend and see if I have any that I need to get rid of. Last thing I need is moss ruining my roof during the hot summer, and me having to get up there and fix it. Thanks for the great article.

#30 By Blakeley Southern at 6/30/2015 2:50 PM

Thank you for your insightful tips on how to make your roof last longer, specifically how to get rid of the black algae and moss that grow. I am currently working on re-roofing my home and am going to take these tips into consideration. You're right about a roof costing a lot, so it's important to do it right and give the proper maintenance.

#31 By Rodney Winerson at 7/1/2015 1:47 PM

Like you mention cleaning out the gutters is a simple yet effective way to keep your roof going for a long time. Cleaning them out every so often helps prevent leaks and rust on your roof. Damage done by not cleaning out the gutters can cost as much as a few thousand dollars, so it is way better to just clean them out before any of that happens.

#32 By Rodney Winerson at 7/8/2015 2:49 PM

These are all great tips to help make your roof last as long as possible. I like your advice to get rid of moss as soon as possible. Moss can do more damage to your roof than you think it can. It is best to be rid of it as soon as you see your roof has moss on it.

#33 By roofing portland at 7/24/2015 1:06 AM

Thank you very much for this information. My roof is leaking, and I have no idea why. What you said really stood out to me. There was a heavy rain That's probably what is causing the leak. I'll be sure to have those roof replaced right away.

#34 By Emily at 7/29/2015 7:55 AM

My husband and I are replacing our roof this month. We want to know how to get this one to last for a long time. The tip about having a roofer put strips near the top of the roof seems like a good idea. We will have to keep that in mind.

#35 By Gaston Parizeau at 7/29/2015 -2:21 PM

I absolutely agree that keeping gutters clear and clean is one of the most essential steps to protecting a roof, as the article explains. The gutters are one part of the house that can be easily forgotten and neglected, since you don't generally see inside them without making an effort to do so. Because of this, it is important to have a regular schedule for checking and clearing them.

#36 By roofing portland at 8/4/2015 0:32 AM

I just found out that clogged gutters could result in moisture building up under shingles. This results in mold and leaks. I need to give more emphasis on keeping them clean.

#37 By Rodney Winerson at 8/4/2015 1:00 PM

These are all great tips for helping your roof last as long as possible, so thank you for posting them. I'll have to make sure that I start to clean out the gutters more often. The last thing I need it the gutters to over flow and start flooding into the attic and causing a ton of damage. Thank you again for the great advice.

#38 By Ethel at 8/25/2015 3:23 PM

Who knew leaves could do so much damage to a roof? These tips are very helpful coming up on Fall. Using a pressure washer or hose to remove leaves is an easy to way to keep your roof clean, thanks for the help!

#39 By Carter Michaelson at 8/28/2015 7:52 PM

My wife and I recently moved to a new home and we have been having a lot of issues with our roof. After a recent storm, we had to break out as many buckets and pots as we could. There were so many leaks! We are calling the roofers this week before another storm hits. We will definitely use these tips in the future with our new roof. Thank you for the information!

#40 By Drew at 9/2/2015 8:45 AM

You never want wet leaves sitting on your roof fo too long. Great advice to have them removed as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing.

#41 By Nora Moore at 9/9/2015 8:47 AM

That makes sense that you would want to clean the gutters regularly. I hadn't made that connection between clogged gutters and moisture going into the roofing before. The next thing on my to-do list on our new house is to check out the gutters. It would be best if my roof lasts as long as possible.

#42 By ashley at 9/16/2015 -1:17 PM

We're thinking about getting a new roof, and I want to make it last longer. I'd love to take care of it better, so we don't have to keep replacing it. Thanks for all the great information about keeping my roof looking good!

#43 By Cheryl Smith at 9/24/2015 1:15 PM

I always try to make sure my gutters are clean. I know that the water can flow back up underneath the shingles and cause a lot of damage. I try to do all the maintenance I can in order to save myself from future problems.

#44 By Bryce Trout at 9/30/2015 8:19 PM

Repairing and re shingling a roof is such a hassle. For that reason, I really enjoyed the tips about making your roof last longer. I didn't know that cleaning out your gutters actually made your roof last longer. Thank you for the article.

#45 By Jessy Shaw at 10/7/2015 6:11 PM

Roof maintenance is probably one of the more overlooked aspects of the home. Many people don't know that there is a problem with their roof until it's leaking or there are shingles falling off. If you every find any sort of issue with your roof, consulting with roofing contractors should probably be your next step. Getting those things fixed as soon as possible can end up saving you a lot of money.

#46 By Jonathan Pound at 10/8/2015 1:51 PM

Growing up in Oregon, moss on the roof was a major concern for many homeowners, as you mentioned. Moss can severely damage your roof and even structural components over time. However, be careful not to damage your roof while attempting to remove moss at the same time. Don't use high pressure with washers or air guns.

#47 By Beddard Roofing at 10/28/2015 8:55 AM

Great post, thanks for sharing!
Many people don't realise you have to remove leaves.

#48 By Aspen Bowen at 11/5/2015 9:50 PM

I like what you said about cleaning the gutters. It makes sense that if the gutters aren't clean they could overflow and cause damage on the roof. I will remember to keep my gutters clean from now on.

#49 By Owen Williams at 11/26/2015 5:16 AM

Do you know to what extent the zinc strips last, and can business material organizations introduce the strips? I am considering moving to Washington state and I've heard that individuals need to clear their rooftop regularly, so thank you for posting these tips; I'll make certain to check my drains as often as possible.

#50 By Anita Mas at 12/2/2015 8:22 AM

That makes sense that you want to clean your gutters regularly. If water gets backed up until it's overflowing onto the roof or even just touches it, it can cause a lot of damage. No one wants their rafters to rot. I'll have to make sure to have working gutters and make sure I clean them often. How often should you clean them out?

#51 By Jayden Thomas at 12/7/2015 5:32 AM

That is a decent point that the canals should be kept up. I would prefer not to have water harm or material issues on the grounds that I disregarded wiping them out. At any rate I don't need to stress over greenery developing on my rooftop where I live. It's not sufficiently sodden for that.

#52 By Anita Mas at 12/9/2015 8:35 AM

It sounds like cleaning my gutters is more important than I'd thought. I do not want to ruin my paint or have water damage in my basement or attic. We will have to clean them out, then. It's been a while since it's been done. Maybe we should have a professional do it this first time. It will be really bad since the debris has been piling up.

#53 By Anna Menzel at 1/25/2016 6:16 PM

My husband and I just moved into our current house a few years ago. To date we have done a fairly good job at performing the tasks you described. Do you know of any chemical additives that we could get from roofing service providers that make our roof last longer? I just want to make sure that our roof lasts for as long as possible.

#54 By Jon at 1/26/2016 4:20 AM

Regular cleaning and maintenance is really needed in order for roofs to last long. These things are time consuming but they will keep you from spending a big amount of money for a new roof. :)

#55 By Aria Wellington at 3/23/2016 8:21 PM

Cleaning out the gutters is definitely a smart thing to do! My husband and I have been wanting to redo our roofing because the previous owners weren't very diligent with taking care of their roof. I think that these tips will really help us save money in the future. Thank you for sharing!

#56 By Wayne at 4/26/2016 4:14 AM

Thank you for this wonderful article - really appreciate it!

#57 By Joel at 9/27/2016 5:00 AM

Beware of the roofing contractor that offers to take care of or eat your insurance deductible. Talk directly to your insurance company to ensure that any deal is legitimate and not insurance fraud.

<a href="http://www.bestaceroofing.net">http://www.bestaceroofing.net</a>;

#58 By Alexander at 11/16/2016 8:48 AM

I think these things are very important for making roof long lasting Clean the Gutters, Remove Leaves, Get Rid of Moss, Trim Overhanging Branches , Prevent Ice Dams.

#59 By JOhn Mahoney at 11/21/2016 7:08 PM

I have had my house for a few years now and I think it might be time to change the roof. I didn't know that if you use a pressure washer it can force water up under the shingles, it is something I will look for since I don't want to damage the actual roof. I think it is important to also look for professionals in case I can't fix it on my own.

#60 By Claw Roofing at 12/14/2016 -1:35 PM

A good quality roof ain't cheap. So we better take good care of it with only 3 simple steps:

*Clean the Gutters
*Remove Leaves
*Get rid of Moss

That's easy peasy.

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