All the Bells and Whistles: Roofing Add-Ons That Can Make Your Life Easier and Your Roof Last Longer
Roofs are supposed to be durable and reliable enough to protect your home against the outdoor elements. Roof materials are made to last and, with proper installation, are likely to perform exactly as intended. The truth is, however, that after installation, your roof’s life and health will depend largely on how you take care of it.
There are three valuable roofing add-ons that you should consider investing in if you want to make your life easier and your roof last longer. Read on as I share with you the basics of attic ventilation, insulation and gutters.
Adequate Attic Ventilation
Poor attic ventilation can lead to a multitude of roof problems, including but not limited to premature roof aging and significant damage to its components.
An attic ventilation system requires the efficient intake of air through the eaves, soffits and fascias, with hot air exiting the home via the roof ridge. Ideally, attic ventilation lets in cool, fresh air and at the same time, allows hot, moist air to escape.
LET YOUR ROOF BREATHE: Attic ventilation lets fresh air in and stale air out.
When there is not enough ventilation, heat and moisture can easily build up in the attic. Excessive heat and moisture can damage roof shingles as well as the roof’s wood framing. In essence, roof components will fry under terribly hot conditions.
Furthermore, in summer, without adequate and proper airflow, temperatures in an attic can reach up to 160 degrees. When air gets this hot, it can penetrate insulation and warm up indoor living spaces. It can also damage wallpaper and cause paint to blister and peel.
Things are no better In the winter, when moisture won’t be able to escape, and will instead collect and cling to attic insulation. Attic insulation that’s soaked with moisture will be less effective.
Improving Attic Ventilation
The U.S. Federal Housing Administration recommends a minimum of one square foot of attic ventilation, to be split evenly between intake and exhaust, for a 300 square-foot area. Take note, however, that too much ventilation isn’t ideal, or recommended either.
To make sure that your attic and roof are well ventilated, consult a roofing professional who can also design and install a reliable attic ventilation system.
Sufficient Attic Insulation
Attic insulation is directly linked to ventilation. When talking about insulation, many would automatically think about the foam-like materials placed on walls, crawl spaces and attics to prevent heat and noise transfer. While this is one of the primary purposes of insulation, it does more than that.
HEAT BARRIER: Attic insulation serves as the heat barrier that keeps your attic and roof cool.
Insulation is necessary for keeping structural components in good condition. This, in turn, helps ensure that the home or building’s stability and integrity are maintained.
As mentioned earlier, attic temperatures can climb as high as 160 degrees during the hottest months of the year. Insulation reduces heat transfer and reflects radiant heat back outside. This process, combined with adequate ventilation, keeps the attic and the roof assembly from getting too hot.
Improving Attic Insulation
The first step to improving attic insulation is, of course, installing and applying adequate insulation in the first place. Once you have your attic insulation in place, do make an effort to check on it every once in a while to note the condition of the insulation. Look out for signs of moisture buildup and material degradation, as well as pest infestation.
If you notice your indoor living spaces getting warmer than usual, you might want to have a roofing professional come over to check on your attic. Your insulation and ventilation should be inspected regularly to see if upgrades or replacements are called for.
Well-Designed and Clean Gutters
Not a lot of homeowners think about their gutters or about the role they play in your home’s overall health, but they actually help keep your roof and home protected from water and moisture damage. Gutters are meant to catch water from the roof. When sloped properly, gutters direct water to the downspout, toward the drainage, away from the home.
WHAT YOUR GUTTERS SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE: Sectional, clogged gutters are a big no-no if you want your roof to last long.
An improperly designed and installed gutter system will not be able to effectively direct water away from the roof and home. Worse, when your gutters get clogged by waste and debris such as leaves, nests and animals, water cannot flow properly, causing it to back up. Water that backs up and overflows will find its way into your roofing structure and, over time, will lead to the rotting and deterioration of wooden parts; other components will likewise become weak and will eventually succumb to damage.
Seamless gutters are far superior to traditional, sectional gutters. Seamless gutters are made up of continuous gutter material that is cut to the roof’s length. The only joints are at the corners. They minimize the possibility of leaks and water back up. If you still have sectional gutters installed in the home, consider having them replaced with seamless gutters this time around.
It’s also important that the gutter system is designed and installed properly. The right slope should be observed to allow smooth water flow. Furthermore, installing gutter guards or leaf protection systems will ensure that your gutters won’y clog up, and should make gutter cleaning easier than ever.
Last, But Not the Least: Regular Maintenance
The ultimate way to ensure your roof’s longevity is to schedule regular, professional inspection and maintenance. These essential roofing jobs let you catch potential problems before they get worse and require more extensive repairs — or even total replacement.
Through inspection, your roofer can take note of problem areas that may need immediate repair or which must be closely monitored. When small signs of damage are addressed promptly, it’s less likely that they’ll continue being a problem. Aside from keeping your roof in good condition, your home’s foundation, interiors and other components will also protected from water and moisture damage that typically stems from roof leaks.
By ensuring that your roof gets the three crucial add-ons listed above, you can keep your roof healthy. As a result, it will last longer and serve you longer. Regular maintenance performed by an experienced and knowledgeable roofing professional will also ensure that issues won’t grow big enough to wreak havoc on your roof.
About the Author
Chad Williams grew up in a local military family in Northern Virginia. While attending college in Texas 23 years ago, he started his journey in the home remodeling industry. He returned to Virginia in 1995, and has since then happily raised five children and a grandson.