The roof is an important architectural feature of a house. It protects the house from wind, hail, water, dirt and pests while providing thermal insulation in the process. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect to maintain their roof, resulting in damage that’s both difficult and expensive to repair. Homeowners can avoid such problems, however, by following these basic roof maintenance tips.


Inspect the Shingles


Homeowners should begin by inspecting their roof’s shingles for damage. Whether they are made of slate, flagstone, cement fiber or asphalt, all shingles are responsible for safely guiding water off the roof. When it rains, gravity will pull the water down the side of the house as it travels over the shingles and into the gutters. If the shingles are broken, cracked, buckling or otherwise damaged, though, water may accumulate on the roof and seep into the house.


Clean the Gutters


Another maintenance tip to prevent costly roof repairs is to clean the gutters. When leaves, pine straw and other debris clog the gutters, water won’t be able to flow off the roof. And the next time it rains, water may accumulate on the roof where it soaks past the shingles and into the house. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), homeowners should clean their gutters twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall.


Trim Overhanging Tree Branches


A strong storm can snap overhanging tree branches, causing them to fall and damage the roof below. Therefore, homeowners should remove all medium- and large-sized branches overhanging their roof. Using a ladder and cutting tool, homeowners can easily remove problematic tree branches.


Look for Leaks


A leaking roof can cause serious structural damage to the house. As water enters the house, it contributes to mold and mildew. Homeowners and their family may experience more frequent upper respiratory infections and allergy attacks due to the presence of mold. Furthermore, water inside the house can cause wooden structures, such as floors and framing studs, to rot. There’s no quick fix for rotted wood; the only solution is to remove and replace it with a new piece of wood. To prevent this from happening, homeowners should inspect their roof and attic for signs of a leak.


A damaged roof isn’t just expensive to fix; it also disturbs the occupants’ lives. If the damage is severe, the homeowner and his or her family members may be forced to find temporary housing until it’s repaired. By following these steps, however, homeowners can prevent costly roof repairs.