The neglect of routine maintenance can dramatically reduce the lifespan of a flat roof. Asphalt roofs are coated with an ultraviolet protective sealant that should be checked for wear and replaced every three years. Aluminum roofs need to be repainted every thirty years. While this sounds like a lot of work, when you’re looking at paying for a new roof in ten or fifteen years, it’s worth it.
Urethane coatings, applied in two-to-three-year intervals, are also available. They can enhance the reflectivity and cooling capacity of your roof.
Winterize Your Flat Roof
When ice dams form on a roof’s steepest edge, they can cause moisture to enter your house through the attic, resulting in rotted wood and dry rot. To prevent this from happening, shovel snow from the edges of your flat roof down to the eaves. You should also keep water from pooling on it by diverting downspouts away when possible or running a 2″ rigid drain pipe along its center ridge.
Spring and Fall Roof Inspection
A spring inspection of your flat roof will ensure your roof is in good enough shape to last for at least another year. Asphalt shingles should be replaced if they have curled due to heat or if there are any water stains. You will also want to replace severely damaged shingles immediately. Shakes should also be removed if they are warped or curling up at the edges and cleaned with a stiff whisk broom. The underlayment, about 1″, should be scraped clean of moss, lichen, and dirt. If you can easily push your finger into the underlayment more than an inch, you need to re-coat it.
If you’re concerned about erosion at the bottom of your roof in the summer, you can put up a temporary shingle barrier. If the top of your roof is in good enough shape for an inspection, you should comb it thoroughly with a stiff whisk broom. A rake with a strong handle can be used to clear caked-on snow and ice from your roof. Once you’ve inspected your roof, leave some of it uncovered to allow sunlight to reach it.
Prevent Roof Erosion
You’re never really done with winter until fall. During the colder months, your roof is always at risk of snow or ice buildup. To prevent severe overburden from damaging your roof and possibly causing it to collapse, you should use a snow rake to remove any heavy accumulations.
Shingles come in two basic varieties: asphalt and synthetic. They’re both made with a substance known as mineral granules that cover the surface of your roof and act as an anchor for the protective coating of asphalt. Shingles come in three basic designs: dimensional, architectural, and cut-tab. Most homeowners opt for dimensional because they look professional and are available in various colors.
About the author:
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.