How to Maintain and Repair Asphalt and Composition Roofs
Keep your attic as cool as possible
While it may seem like a daunting task, there are some fairly simple preventative things you can do to prolong the life of your roof. It may not be something you give a tremendous amount of thought to, but your house’s roof is, perhaps, the most important part of the building and taking care of it can add several years to its life saving you a bunch of money in the long run. Here are some helpful tips and things to consider when it comes to maintaining and repairing your composition roof.
First, keep your attic as cool as possible without sending your energy bill through the roof (pun intended). This will help prevent heat from building up under the shingles, which causes oils in the asphalt to dry, shortening their lifespan the lifespan of the shingles.
A simple, cost effective way to increase the ventilation is by adding turbine vents near the ridgeline of the roof. Turbine vents are heat driven, so when warm air rises from the attic, the turbine spin and releases the hot air. They are very low maintenance and don’t require electricity to work. Installing an industrial fan in the attic will also work but fans obviously require electricity to work.
Is a new roof needed?
Paying attention to your roof will prevent costlier repairs in the future. One of the things that you should do, especially if you just bought your house or it has been a while since the roof has been replaced, is give it an inspection to see if a new roof is needed.
This can be done relatively easily. On the sunniest side of your roof, bend a corner of several shingles. If they break rather than flex, or are gray and bloated, your roof will probably need replacement soon. Also, if you are seeing a lot of mineral granules washing off the shingles into the gutters or at the base of downspouts, the protective surface of the asphalt is wearing away and also indicates that the roof is nearing the end of its life.
If you decide that the roof doesn’t need to be repaired, but a few shingles need to be replaced, you can either do this yourself or find a qualified roofing professional like Life Time Exteriors, LLC. One of the challenges in replacing shingles is finding replacement shingles that match your roof. Professional roofing companies usually have a good selection of shingles to use. If not, they are in the position to find shingles that match easier than you might be.
That said, if you decided to do it yourself and you don’t have a bundle of extra shingles saved from the roof installation, check with your local hardware store to find one that is similar in size, weight and color. Asphalt shingles are manufactured in long strips and are notched so they look like individual shingles. When repairing damaged asphalt shingles, it is not necessary to replace the entire strip.
Repairing shingles is not the best way to go about adding life to your roof but it may be necessary from time to time. In this case, it is recommended that you find a roofer who can do it safely and properly. If you decide to do it yourself, follow these instructions:
Apply a layer of roofing cement to the back of the damaged shingle, and press into place. Weigh the shingle down with a brick while it sets, or tack the edge with roofing nails. It isn’t usually pretty, but it does the job for short period of time. It is probably best to replace the shingle altogether in the near future.
Again, it is recommended that any serious repair be completed by a professional. While replacing shingles may seem like an easy thing to do, many things can go wrong that may lead to injury or damage to your roof. Here are some things to consider if you decide to do it yourself.
First, lift the line of shingles above the one to be replaced with a pry bar. Be careful doing this because you do not want to damage the shingles. Along the edge of the damaged shingle, slide a pry bar along its length to break the black self-sealing strip that holds them in place.
Secondly, extract the nails out of the bad shingle and remove it. If you don’t want or need to replace the entire strip, use heavy scissors to cut the shingle from the strip. Measure the area and cut a new shingle to fit. Slip the new shingle under the layer above.
If possible, drive the new roofing nails into the original holes. If that isn’t possible, seal the old holes with roofing cement. When you hammer in new nails, place the flat end of a pry bar over the nail and hammer the pry bar. This will help prevent damage from the hammer. Coat the nail heads with roofing cement and press the overlaying shingle back into place.
Repairing Shingles on Ridges
It is best to leave damaged ridge shingles and hip shingles in place. Make your repairs by applying a second shingle over the first. Coat the bottom of the new shingle with roofing cement, and place it over the old shingle, securing with roofing nails. Finally, coat the nail heads with roofing cement.
As you can see, making repairs to a roof is a lengthy process requiring many tools and supplies. If you have these tools and supplies on hand, it may be more cost effective to do the repair yourself. If, on the other hand, you are like most people and would have to buy all the things needed to repair your roof, you should get a quote from a professional roofing company first. You may be surprised at how little it cost to have a professional do the job right.