Roofs receive the greatest amount of abuse from the elements, more than any other portion of your home. In the summer, the hot Arizona sun beats down on the roof and causes heat in excess of 120 degrees. Summer monsoons add to the problem and can cause massive leaks and damage. In the winter, low temperatures and heavy moisture can cause freeze fractures in the roofing materials. Proper care and biannual inspections are essential to ensure your roof's longevity.
If you want to maintain your home's value and keep it looking its best, you should maintain your roof just as you maintain your yard or any other part of your home. Unfortunately, because roofs are often out of sight, they tend to be out of mind. The most common roofs in Arizona are tile, foam, and shingle. Descriptions of each type of roof and the best way to ensure a long roof life are listed below.
Tile Roofing offers homeowners and architects a beautiful, high-quality, timeless appearance. It is an extremely durable and affordable option for homeowners. Roofing tiles come in a variety of types. Different options include:
Check for debris -It is really important to remove debris from your tile roof. Debris can decrease water flow and contribute to algae growth that will change the color of your bricks. At least once a year it's important to make a visual inspection of your roof. Climb carefully up on your roof (or hire someone) and use a broom to remove twigs, leaves, and other trash.
Use a Pressure Washer - If you notice algae, bird waste, or dirt, you can use a pressure washer to give your roof a nice scrub. A water bleach solution can be used for further effect.
Cut Nearby Tree Branches - During monsoon season, tree branches can sway fiercely in the wind and cause significant damage to your roof. Ensure that all nearby tree branches are trimmed.
Tile Roof Repair - You should almost always hire a Roofing Professional to repair loose or damaged tiles. Improperly secured tiles and underlayment can cause significant damage to not only your roof, but also to your home in general. Once the underlayment is deteriorated, it often means it's time to re-roof. Luckily a majority of the tiles can be saved and put back on the home after the underlayment and any damaged sub-roofing materials are replaced.
Foam Roofing - Foam roofs are topped with an elastomeric material that protects it from ultraviolet sunrays and can help the roof last for more than 25 years. As a result, it is important to recoat your foam roof every two to five years as the protective covering thins. In between coatings, there are several things you can to to ensure the longevity of your roof.
Keep The Roof Clean - At least once a year it's important to make a visual inspection of your roof. Climb carefully onto to your roof (or hire someone) and remove bird's nests, tree branches, leaves, and debris so there is no cause for the foam to decompose. An excellent time to schedule a cleaning would be soon after a monsoon when debris may have collected on your roof.
Get Yearly Inspections - A roofer will typically inspect your roof for free, and can tell when it's time to recoat your roof or if any holes need repairing. WIth foam roofs, it's important to have consistent inspections as the longevity of the roof is directly correlated to the health of the top reflective coating.
Look for Strange Foam Discolorations - When you are removing debris from your roof, look around and notice the texture of the roof. The texture of the roof should look a bit like an orange peel. If the texture resembles scrambled eggs or popcorn, the foam has been compromised. If foam is exposed or deteriorating, you are likely well past due for a roof re-coating. Coating a roof is similar to rolling paint on a wall and it could be a homeowner project. However, you might choose to have a professional roofer do the job. They will clean and prepare the roof properly, use the right materials, and ensure that the coat is even and thorough; plus they typically offer a no-leak warranty on the work.
Have a Roofer Inspect for Ponding - Ask your roofer to inspect for water ponding. If found, your roofer can engineer a system to prevent further water accumulation.
Shingle Roofing is the most popular roofing material. Part of the popularity is that shingle roofing comes in many different designs and patterns. In fact, you will not find such a wide range to choose from amongst the other options. This makes this type of roofing very appealing to homeowners.
Inspect for Algae and Moss - Moss and algae can cause significant corrosion to your roof's shingles. If you find moss or algae growth on your roof, take measures to remove it and control its growth. Visit your local hardware store to find zinc or iron solutions to prevent further outbreaks.
Clean Debris - Debris tends to collect on roofs over time. Inspect your roof for garbage, leaves, and other debris several times per year. Look under A/C units, near your chimney, and other areas such as protruding pipes.
Check Roof Flashings - Roof flashings are strips of galvanized steel that are placed over the joints in your roof to prevent leaking. Check the flashings for cracks or algae as needed. Roof flashings are one of the most common routes that water enters a house.
Check Shingles - Closely examine your shingles and look for loose tabs. Loose shingles need to be repaired immediately to prevent damage to your house. A small amount of cement applied to the underside of the shingle should securely fasten it.
Check for Overgrown Tree Branches - Overgrown tree branches can cause major damage to your shingle roofing. During storms with heavy winds, branches may crash against your roof, misplacing tiles and damaging others. Be sure to trim surrounding trees to avoid this issue.
Check the Gutters - Make sure that your gutters are clean so that water can freely flow away from your roof. Water accumulation can significantly decrease the life expectancy of your shingles.
There inevitably comes a time when the roof of the house needs to be replaced. Unfortunately Mother Nature will eventually take her toll on any type of roof. Keep in mind that poor roofing can lead to a great deal of water damage during the rainy and windy seasons. Keeping roofing tiles in tip top shape can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in the long run.
When considering your options and looking into hiring a roofing contractor, first get referrals from friends, family, neighbors, and your trusted REALTOR®; and make sure the company has an active contractor license. You can easily find that information from the AZ Registrar of Contractors website: https://roc.az.gov Also checking with your local Better Business Bureau is a great idea: https://www.bbb.org/bbb-locator .
For more information on Arizona roofs and maintenance, see the referenced articles below: