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Expert Roof Maintenance Tips (2024)

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Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 04/01/2024

Roof maintenance isn’t just about avoiding problems—it adds value to your home and saves you money in the long run. A well-maintained roof will always outlast a neglected roofing system, making it less likely to rot or develop leaks.

Read on for 11 roofing maintenance tips to keep your roof in tip-top shape.

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Roof shingles with garret house on top of the house among a lot of trees. dark asphalt tiles on the roof background
Asphalt Shingle Roofing

The cost of asphalt shingle roof installation can range from $5,994–$9,791.

Man working on a flat roof
Roof Repair

Typically, the average cost of roof repair ranges between $379 and $1,755

House With a Metal Roof
Metal Roofing

A new metal roof costs an average of $9,150–$16,743.


1. Inspect Your Roof and Attic Regularly

All roof types require regular inspections. Start with your attic and ceiling, as they can provide early warning signs of roof issues. If you spot any signs of water damage, especially around skylights, your roof may have a leak that requires roof leak repair.

Conducting frequent roof inspections can help you identify minor issues before they escalate, saving you from unnecessary roof repair costs. Each season, examine roof shingles for damage, excessive wear, and other signs of deterioration. Call a roofing contractor if you notice missing roof shingles.

Even a quick visual inspection of your attic and roof can reveal potential problems, though we recommend scheduling a professional roof inspection at least once a year.

2. Keep Your Roof and Gutters Clean

Removing leaves, tree branches, and other debris from your roof is essential. Built-up debris can trap moisture, leading to rot, mold growth, and premature deterioration. To clean your roof, you can carefully use a leaf blower or broom to remove loose debris, then rinse with a garden hose and apply a gentle roof cleaning solution. Alternatively, you can pay about $300–$600* for a professional roof cleaning.

Don’t neglect gutter maintenance, either. Clogged gutters can allow moisture to seep into your fascia boards, under your shingles, and into the roof deck.

To unclog your gutters, remove leaves, sticks, and other debris. Cleaning your gutters once a year may be sufficient to prevent clogs in a new system, but you should increase the frequency as your roof and gutters age. Aim to inspect and clean your gutters at least twice yearly or every three months if trees are nearby. Consider installing gutter guards as well.

*Cost data sourced from contractor estimates used by Angi.

3. Treat Plant Growth on Your Roof

Moss, algae, and lichen can grow on a roof in damp or shaded areas. If not addressed, they can trap moisture and lead to serious roof damage.

If you notice plant growth on your roof, hire a professional roof washer to remove it and apply preventative products containing zinc and copper to inhibit regrowth. You can also handle this task yourself—just be sure to practice good ladder safety when removing moss from your roof.

4. Maintain Trees and Plants

Maintaining the landscaping around your home can also aid in roof maintenance. Trim trees and plants close to your home to prevent debris accumulation. Ensure tree limbs are at least 10 feet from your roof to prevent damage during storms and high winds. Removing overhanging branches will also minimize shade and moisture on your roof, which helps prevent rot and moss growth.

Check out this video with landscape contractor Roger Cook and certified arborist Matt Fot for a visual demonstration of how to trim tree branches. We recommend consulting a professional to remove large branches or dead trees.

5. Don’t Wait To Make Repairs

Address any roof damage as soon as you notice it, no matter how minor it may seem. Even small issues can escalate into leaks and structural damage over time. The sooner you take care of an issue, the lower your roof repair costs will be.

Promptly repair or replace missing, curled, or damaged shingles. Your shingles are the first line of defense against rain and storm damage. Don’t hesitate to call a roofing professional for any repairs you aren’t sure how to handle.

6. Make the Most of Coatings and Sealants

Hire a roofing company to apply protective coatings and sealants to your roof. Coatings and sealants add an extra layer of defense against UV damage, water intrusion, and weathering, extending your roof’s lifespan. Even the best roofing materials, especially slate, tile, and metal roofs, can benefit from an additional protective layer.

Inspect the caulking around your roof flashing during your seasonal roof checks. Replace any cracked or deteriorated caulk to prevent water from seeping into these vulnerable areas around your chimney, vents, and roof valleys.

7. Prepare Your Roof for Winter

When snow on the warmer part of your roof melts and then refreezes near the colder eaves, it creates a barrier called an ice dam that prevents melted snow from draining. Getting rid of ice dams isn’t just about aesthetics; it protects your home’s structural integrity and helps you avoid costly repairs.

To prepare your roof for winter and prevent ice dams that can lead to water damage and leaks, ensure your attic is insulated. Throughout the winter, remove heavy snow from your roof using a roof rake to avoid ice buildup.

8. Don’t Forget Your Chimney

Include your chimney in your regular roof inspections, looking for cracks, missing bits of mortar, or a damaged cap. Address any issues promptly to prevent water infiltration.

For more complex chimney repairs, consult a qualified professional. Chimneys often require specialized maintenance. However, you may be able to handle some common chimney repairs yourself. Be sure to clean your chimney (or have it cleaned) regularly, too.

9. Prioritize Ventilation

Good attic ventilation is essential year-round. In the summer, it helps prevent heat damage and mold growth while reducing the strain on your HVAC system and lowering your cooling costs. In the winter, it combats ice dam formation. Attic ventilation can take several forms, including ridge vents, gable vents, and soffit vents.

If your attic feels stuffy or excessively hot in the summer, consider installing ridge and soffit vents to create a natural ventilation system with balanced airflow. If your roof already has these features, check them for damage or obstructions. Lingering problems can indicate a need for more or better ventilation.

10. Tailor Your Maintenance to Your Local Sun Exposure

How much sun does your roof get? Excessive sunlight can accelerate material degradation. UV-resistant roof coatings, shingles, and paints can help protect your roof from UV-related damage. 

Conversely, insufficient sunlight can promote moss and algae growth. Contractors recommend inspecting your roof for signs of growth, cleaning your gutters frequently, and using roof-friendly moss and algae control products.

11. Upgrade Your Roof When You Can

An average roof lasts 25–50 years, depending on the type of roofing material. Slate tiles can last well over 50 years, while you may need to replace asphalt shingles after 15 years. You should replace your roof within its life span as soon as your budget allows.

Think about long-term solutions. For example, opting for a fortified impact-resistant roof can add protection against the elements and is ideal if you live in an area prone to extreme weather.

Our Conclusion

The cost of a new roof is no small investment. Incorporating these tips into your home maintenance routine can help extend your roof’s life span while reducing repair expenses and boosting your home’s value.

Regular inspections and thorough cleanings are part of proper roof care. While they take time and resources to complete, they’re critical to roof maintenance.

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FAQ About Roofing Maintenance

What kind of maintenance does a roof need?

Roofs need regular cleaning, inspection, and minor repairs to maintain their watertight integrity and extend their life span. This regular maintenance includes removing debris, trimming overhanging branches, addressing any damage promptly, and ensuring proper ventilation.

How do you maintain roof shingles?

You maintain roof shingles by regularly inspecting them for damage and promptly replacing cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Keep your roof clean of debris that can trap moisture, and trim overhanging branches to minimize shade and potential damage. Consider applying a specialized treatment for moss or algae growth.

What is the best way to clean a roof?

The best way to clean a roof depends on the issue you want to address. Homeowners can clean gutters or remove simple roof debris with a ladder. We recommend hiring professionals with the proper equipment and materials for moss, algae, and lichen growth.

What are some safety precautions when working on a roof?

Some safety precautions to remember when working on a roof include using proper safety gear and never trusting a ladder that isn’t secure. Work in pairs whenever possible and avoid working in extreme weather conditions.

What are the most common roofing problems?

Common roofing problems include leaks, damaged shingles or tiles, moss or algae growth, and structural issues such as sagging or rot. Regular maintenance can help prevent these issues.

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