Roof Maintenance

Keeping Your Roof in Shape: The Top Asphalt Roof Maintenance Tips

The Beatles’ 1967 song Fixing a Hole begins with the line: “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in…” The Fab Four understood the importance of keeping your roof in good shape, and so should you!

The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is about 15-20 years, but if you don’t perform proper roof maintenance, you could drastically shorten the lifespan of your roof. Roof replacement is not an expense that you want to pay for if you don’t have to.

We put together this handy list of some of the regular maintenance items you should perform to keep your roof in tip-top shape. Read on to learn what they are!

1. Trim Nearby Trees

It is very important to keep the trees around your house from getting out of hand. There are several issues that unkempt trees can cause for your roof.

Storms can cause large branches to fall from nearby trees which can do a lot of damage to your roof. Any trees whose branches extended over your house could potentially be an accident waiting to happen, so it’s important that you keep them trimmed. If you do have a tree fall on your roof, the resulting damage may not even be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if you neglected to trim your trees.

Even small trees or bushes that grow over your roof can be a problem. Trees that are not kept trimmed away from your siding and roof can become a sort of “bug highway” for invasive pests like carpenter ants and termites who can set up shop in your attic and spread to cause major damage throughout your home.

2. Clear Off Debris

Whenever there is a storm, it is also a good idea to check the roof for any fallen debris. Even if there was no damage to the roof itself, leaving debris to accumulate on your roof is not good for it.

Collected debris can affect the drainage on your roof and cause water to collect in places it should not, or to flow into areas that it shouldn’t. This can result in leaks and other damage. Even if there has not been a recent storm, it is still a good idea to check your roof periodically for debris and clear it off when you see it.

3. Clean Out Gutters

You should clean your gutters out at least twice a year. Generally once in the spring, and once in the fall when the leaves have fallen from the trees. Allowing your gutters to fill up with leaves and other debris can cause them to overflow back onto the roof and that can let water leak in behind the fascia boards and into your walls or attic.

When you clean out your gutters, take notice if you see a lot of small bits of asphalt in your gutters. Your asphalt shingles will shed a little over time, but if you start to see large quantities of asphalt in your gutters, that may be a sign that your shingles are at the end of their lifespan and that you need to replace them.

4. Remove Moss

If you live in a humid area, or part of your roof is in shade for a large portion of the day, you may be at risk of moss growth on your roof. In addition to the fact that the green splotches of moss can look unsightly on your roof, the moss can actually damage and break down your shingles over time. If you notice moss growing on your roof, you will want to remove it as soon as possible to prevent damage.

There are a variety of ways you can remove moss from your roof. You can physically remove the moss by scrubbing it with a long-handled brush. Just be careful not to scrub so hard that you remove the asphalt from your shingles.

You can also use a pressure washer to remove the moss, but again, be careful not to use too strong a spray and damage your shingles. Working from the peak of your roof down to the edge is best to prevent water from getting under your shingles.

You can also buy chemicals that are specifically marketed to treat roof moss. You can apply this as a spray to kill and remove the moss, and as a preventative treatment to keep it from coming back. You can also prevent moss by installing strips of copper or zinc along the roof ridge.

5. Check Flashings

When you are up on the roof to perform other routine maintenance, be sure to check the state of the flashings. Roof flashings are strips of aluminum or galvanized steel that fit over the roof joints to prevent water from getting into your home. These can get damaged during a storm or from ice and snow during the winter, so you’ll want to check them for cracks while you are up on the roof.

6. Check for Soft Spots

Soft spots are areas of the roof where a small sag or depression develops due to water leaking and soaking the roof layer under the shingles. This can cause the insides of your roof to rot leading to structural damage and leaks.

You may be able to identify the spots visually when inspecting your roof, or you may find that you feel them when walking around on the roof. If you suspect you may have some soft spots, you should have a professional come out and inspect your roof. Ignoring these spots will lead to large, more damaging leaks in the future.

Even With Proper Roof Maintenance, There Comes an End

You can be the king of regular roof maintenance but sadly, even then, your roof will eventually need replacing. When that time comes, give us a call! We are a team of trained and experienced roofers who care about the quality of the work that we do.

We will work hard to make sure that your roof replacement goes great and that you are completely satisfied with your new roof! Contact us today for an estimate!

Westchase Roofing Prevent Roofing Problems

What is the Best Way to Prevent Roofing Problems?

In the Gulf Coast region of Tampa, roofs are subjected to intense sun, strong winds, and heavy rain on a regular basis. These weather conditions all take a toll on your roof. Without proper maintenance and regular inspections, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise the next time it rains. The key to preventing roof issues is detecting problems as early as possible and making sure any work you have done is done well. Here’s what you should know about preventing potentially costly problems with your Tampa roof.

What Type of Roof Do You Have?

In the Tampa area, three types of roofing materials dominate the residential roof landscape: asphalt shingles, clay tiles, and concrete tiles. Each material has a different lifespan and responds differently to the elements. You will also need to watch for different warning signs of trouble depending on whether you have a tile or shingle roof.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofs are the most popular option across the United States, including the Gulf Coast area. Asphalt shingles are the most affordable roofing material and are typically rated to withstand winds up to 130 mph, but they are still susceptible to damage from wind, hail, sun, and fallen debris. The extreme heat in Florida tends to wear down asphalt shingles by causing the fiberglass to shed. When this happens, the shingles and roof become vulnerable to water damage.

We find that asphalt roofing is one of the best materials for the area. In fact, we only install asphalt roofing.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are a classic choice for the Florida coast, and they come in many styles or shapes including the popular Spanish style tile roof. Clay tile roofs offer an excellent lifespan of up to 50 years, and they work well in Florida because they withstand heat very well. Clay tiles do have vulnerabilities you should keep in mind. A clay roof can be vulnerable to rain, and the tiles need to be removed during a hurricane when winds will exceed 90 mph.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles are more popular in Tampa than clay tiles because they’re more affordable and easier to customize in terms of appearance. Concrete tile roofs offer very good resistance to hurricane-strength winds because they are heavier than clay. In fact, a concrete tile roof can withstand all categories of rain and wind.

How to Prevent Issues With Your Roof

Now that you understand the unique vulnerabilities of your roof, you can take the steps necessary to prevent serious problems. Here are some important ways to protect your roof.

Schedule an Annual Inspection

Your roof may look fine from the ground, but pinhole leaks hidden from view can cause extensive water damage over time. Your roof may have other signs of damage that you can’t easily recognize like granule loss or asphalt shingles that have lost adhesion due to wind damage.

An annual roof inspection is an affordable and smart way to catch and address problems with your roof as early as possible. The best time to have your roof inspected in Florida is during the winter when hurricane season is over, temperatures are milder, and conditions are dry.

Take Action Quickly

When a visual or professional inspection of your roof turns up a problem, don’t delay in getting it fixed. Putting off a problem like cracked tiles, missing shingles, or a tiny leak will only lead to more significant damage as water infiltrates your roof deck and home. By delaying repairs by even a few weeks during the summer, you may transform a small problem that would cost a few hundred dollars into thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

Don’t Ignore Mold and Algae

The humid, warm weather in the Tampa area offers the perfect environment for moss, mold, and algae to grow on your roof. Aside from being an eyesore, these dark spots on your roof absorb more heat and make your roof hotter which can damage your shingles and make the inside of your home uncomfortable. Algae and mold can also accelerate damage to asphalt shingles by eating away at the minerals.

Algae, mold, and moss shouldn’t be pressure-washed off your roof as this can cause extensive damage to the roofing materials. Instead, a solution of bleach and water can be sprayed on the roof to kill the algae and mold. To stop them from coming back, copper or zinc strips can be installed under the shingles closest to the peak of the roof. When it rains, metal molecules are washed over the surface of the roof to kill moss and algae.

Work with a Local Expert

While you certainly don’t want to pay more than you need to for roof repairs or replacement, price alone should never be your only consideration. A roofing company that seems to offer a bargain may be far from it: subpar work performed by unlicensed contractors who may not be using the right materials can cost you much more in the long run. Poor installation or repairs can make your roof more vulnerable to leaks, improper drainage, wind damage, and other problems.

Rather than focusing on price, first make sure the roofing company has the experience and expertise you need. It’s always a good idea to choose a local roofing company with extensive experience dealing with the unique weather conditions in the Tampa area because they will best recognize early signs of roof problems and know the appropriate steps to prevent further damage.

Always Check Roofing Credentials

For your protection, always verify the credentials of any roofing company or contractor your hire. Unfortunately, there are always those who are willing to take advantage of property owners—especially after a hurricane or major storm. An established roofing company should have plenty of customers who can testify to the company’s professionalism and quality of work. You can also check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Absolutely ask to see the company’s documentation and call to verify they are licensed to work in Florida and have workers’ compensation coverage.

Get a Guarantee

Be wary of fly-by-night roofing companies or companies that offer no guarantee as to the quality of their work. The last thing you want is to be left dealing with even worse roof damage or water damage in your home after paying for sub-par work. Make sure you receive some type of guarantee from the roofing company to make sure you have some recourse if there are problems.

Contact Your Tampa Roofing Experts

Concerned about possible problems with your roof? If you think it may be time for a replacement roof, contact Westchase Roofing for a quote on a quality Owens Corning asphalt shingle roof.

Westchase Roofing Signs of Roof Damage after High Winds

Check for These Signs of Roof Damage After High Winds

Don’t make the mistake of assuming it takes a major storm with lightning and hail to damage your roof. Wind is actually the leading cost of home insurance claims, beating out hail and fire in terms of claim numbers but not cost. According to the Travelers Companies Inc., exterior wind damage was responsible for 25% of all home losses between 2009 and 2015.

Even a storm without hail or rain can cause extensive damage to your roof. High winds may create stress points that can weaken and compromise your roof over time. Wind may also tear off shingles and tiles. With the roof system compromised, you will face even more serious damage during the next rainfall.

Your roof can easily withstand moderate winds as long as it was installed properly. Still, it’s always a good idea to steps outside and inspect your roof carefully for signs of wind damage. Here’s what you should be looking for.

How High Wind Damages a Roof

Wind damages your roof in several ways. As the wind moves over the surface of the roof, it isn’t uniform. The perimeter and corners of your roof are subjected to higher wind pressures than the center of the roof. The National Roofing Contractors Association finds that wind damage usually begins on the edge of your roof.

Once wind weakens the edge, it causes the sealant strips on an asphalt roof to lose adhesion. Now partially unsealed, the shingles are at a greater risk of wind uplift.

Wind will catch and move under any loose areas on your roofing system. As the wind gets below the shingles or tiles, it pushes them up and gives the wind more to grab the next time it blows.

High winds also move debris that can find its way onto your roof. This includes large tree branches, shards of glass, and more that may damage your roof more than the wind.

How to Check Your Roof for Wind Damage

After strong winds, walk around the perimeter of your home and inspect your roof carefully. You should check your roof from the ground and from a ladder, as long as it’s safe to do so. Here are the signs you should look for.

Loose or Clogged Gutters

High winds can carry a lot of debris that ends up in your gutters. Clogged gutters can spell disaster for your roof and foundation. As water has nowhere left to go, it begins to spill over the sides of the gutter system, puddling at the ground by your foundation. It may also wick up the fascia boards and damage your roof deck over time. Strong winds can even knock your gutters loose.

Damage to your gutters may be fixable. Clogged gutters are certainly easy to clean out and even loose gutters can be reattached. Sometimes damage from debris is too extensive and your gutters should just be replaced.

Damage to Solar Tubes and Skylights

Skylights and solar tubes are even more susceptible to damage from wind, hail, and debris than your roof. Solar tubes and skylights may be damaged after strong winds if they are hit by debris like fallen tree limbs. You may notice cracks in a skylight from inside but you probably can’t tell a solar tube is damaged without viewing it from above.

Look for Debris

One of the most common causes of wind-related damage to your roof? Blowing debris, not the wind itself. Check for visible debris on your roof like glass shards, tree branches, trash, and metal. This debris may have damaged your roof by scratching or gouging the roofing materials.

Check for Damaged Shingles

Most asphalt shingles are rated to withstand 90mph winds but some can withstand up to 150mph winds. Still, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that shingles can begin to suffer light structural damage beginning at wind speeds of just 50mph.

This damage may be visible in many ways. You may see shingles that are lifted or even broken. Upon close inspection, the shingles may be curling, have missing granules, or seem like they aren’t lying flat. It may be possible to spot loose nails as well.

Check for Missing Shingles

The most obvious sign of wind damage to your roof is, of course, shingles that have been blown off. You may only see one or two shingles missing or an entire area may be gone. A few missing shingles can usually be replaced. However, a roof shouldn’t be patched or repaired if shingles have gone missing from the valleys of the roof. The valleys are the most vulnerable area and susceptible to water damage. It’s always recommended to replace your roof once the valleys are damaged.

Look for Loose Vents and Ridge Caps

The ridge and hip caps along the roof seams as well as your roof vents can become stressed and damaged over time. Wind can cause the edges of vents and caps to lift and allow moisture to enter. These elements of your roof may even be blown off completely.

Check for Missing or Damaged Flashing

Roof flashing works like a sealer between your roof’s joints to keep out water. Flashing, which is usually made from galvanized sheet metal, is used at the base of your chimney, along the perimeter of the roof, in the valleys, and around openings like skylights and vents.

High winds can loosen your flashing or even tear it away completely. Look for signs that the flashing is compromised.

Not All Wind Damage Is Obvious

Unfortunately, you can’t always tell just by looking that your shingles are wind damaged or wind-lifted. Shingles that no longer have adequate adhesion are considered wind damaged and they pose a threat to your home because they no longer offer enough protection. These damaged shingles are at a high risk of blowing away and they can allow water to penetrate your roof deck. If you aren’t sure if your roof has been seriously damaged, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your roof.

Depending on the extent of the damage to your roof, repairs may be possible. Roof repair is only recommended if the damage is localized to a fairly small area. This may be the case if the damage is mostly caused by a falling tree limb, for example, rather than widespread damage to the valleys and edges of your roof.

Don’t ignore wind damage to your roof. After all, your home is only as strong and secure as your roof. After serious wind damage, roof replacement may be your best bet to restore your roof’s function and safety.

Think you may need to replace your roof? Contact the experts at Westchase Roofing for a free quote!

Westchase Roofing Roof Leak

Top 8 Causes of Roof Leaks You Should Know About

Small roof leaks might not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to bigger (and more expensive) problems like mold, roof and ceiling damage, and even rotted framing. Finding the exact cause of a roof leak isn’t always easy, especially for an untrained eye. Keep this list of the 8 most common causes of roof leaks handy so that you can narrow down the culprits and patch up the problem before it gets out of hand.

Broken/Missing Shingles

One of the most common causes of roof leaks is broken or missing shingles. You might find shingles in your yard after a heavy storm or notice patches of discoloration on your roof where they’ve fallen off. Cracked shingles are trickier to spot, and may require a professional roof inspection.

How to Prevent This: Stay on top of roof maintenance. Replace any shingles that are missing or cracked before they can cause a leak.

Poor Attic Ventilation

If you notice that your ceiling starts to drip when the temperature changes, not when it rains, then your roof may not be damaged at all — the problem might be coming from your attic. Nestled right between the warm outside air and cool indoor temperatures, condensation can build up quickly in a poorly ventilated attic.

How to Prevent This: Make sure your attic is well-ventilated so that moist air can escape. It should also be well-insulated to prevent cool air from leaking in.

Walking On Your Roof Incorrectly

Your roof is more fragile than it looks. Stepping in the wrong place can break a brittle seal or damage asphalt shingles, both of which can leave your roof vulnerable to leaks.

How to Prevent This: If you can help it, don’t walk on your roof at all. If your son’s rocket toy gets stuck up there, try knocking it down with a long pole or stick before you try to walk over to it. If you need something fixed, call a professional roofer to come do it for you.

Debris

You really can’t miss a giant tree limb or patio chair on your roof, but debris damage isn’t always that obvious. Leaves, twigs, and pine needles that fall from nearby trees can also cause roof leaks by clogging your gutters and causing water to build up on your roof.

How to Prevent This: If you have tree branches hanging over your house, have them trimmed by a professional arborist. If you know that a major storm is on the way, move your outdoor furniture into the garage so that it can’t do any damage to your property.

Damaged Flashing

This is one of the hardest causes to spot, so if none of the other items on this list match your situation, you might be looking at damaged flashing.

Flashing, typically made from sheet metal, is used to create a watertight seal between your roof and your chimney, skylights, or any other fixtures. But if your flashing wasn’t properly installed or damaged by severe weather, that seal can break. Even the smallest opening can let in a great deal of water over time.

How to Prevent This: Have your roof inspected annually. If you replace your shingles, it’s a good idea to have your flashing replaced at the same time.

Improperly Installed Skylights

If the leak is coming from your skylight, there’s a good chance that it wasn’t properly installed. Especially if the leaking skylight is brand new, chances are it wasn’t fitted correctly or poor flashing techniques were used.

But before you climb up on the roof to look for damage, make sure that the problem isn’t actually condensation. If you have a skylight in your bathroom or kitchen, the steam from a hot shower or a boiling stove pot will condense and form water droplets when it reaches the cool glass of the skylight.

How to Prevent This: Make sure your skylights are installed by a professional roofing contractor. If condensation is the problem, make sure the room is well-ventilated and consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.

Severe Weather

When strong winds and heavy rain roll in, it can take a serious toll on your home. Not only can severe weather lead to many of the problems listed above (missing shingles, debris, and damaged flashing), but the storm itself can be a direct cause of roof leaks. The wind can lift your shingles just enough so that the rain can slip underneath and into your home.

How to Prevent This: You can’t stop mother nature, but you can prepare for her. Before storm season starts, have your roof inspected and repair any problems so that they aren’t made worse by bad weather.

Old Age

No roof lasts forever. Eventually, your roof will become old and worn. Most shingles will start to crack and curl at the edges after a few decades. If your old roof is leaking, it’s time to invest in a replacement.

How to Prevent This: There’s not much you can do to prolong the life of your roof aside from staying up to date on repairs. However, if you’re building a new home or replacing your current roof, you have the opportunity to significantly increase its lifespan by picking a durable roofing material from the start.

Long-Lasting Asphalt Shingle Roofs in Tampa, FL

By keeping up with maintenance tasks and being able to spot the source of roof leaks, you can extend the life of your roof and save money on major home repairs. But when it is time to say goodbye to your old roof, investing in a new asphalt shingle roof will provide your home with the protection it needs for many years to come.

The experienced technicians at Westchase Roofing in Tampa, FL, install your roof right the first time so that you don’t have to worry about fixing leaks and other problems. We install the best asphalt shingle roofing systems available and customize it to complement your home. Call us today to request a quote!

 

Westchase Roofing Signs of Storm Damage

Top 7 Signs of Storm Damage to Your Roof

Your roof is designed to protect your home from rain and wind, but even the best roof will be vulnerable to storm damage eventually. Especially in states like Florida with stormy summers and devastating hurricane seasons, it’s important to be able to spot signs of storm damage to your roof so that you can make repairs as quickly as possible.

When Should I Inspect My Roof for Storm Damage?

No one’s saying that you need to inspect your roof every time that it rains. However, it’s a good idea to check for damage after a hurricane, once before storm season starts in early June, and again after the storm season ends in late November. The sooner you fix minor problems, the less likely they are to become major issues later on.

Roof Safety

If you choose to inspect your roof yourself, you’ll need to take the proper safety precautions to reduce your risk of injury.

  • Never conduct a roof inspection alone.
  • Never walk on a wet roof.
  • Never leave a ladder unattended.
  • Keep at least 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times.
  • If the storm damage includes hazards like downed power lines, do not attempt to access the area.

Don’t walk on the roof at all if you can help it. Instead, stay on the ladder and inspect the shingles from there. Not only is walking up there dangerous, but you may also do unnecessary damage to your shingles.

Assessing the Damage

The next time you inspect your roof, look for these 7 signs of storm damage so that you can save money on repairs and protect your home.

1. Damaged/Missing Shingles 

High winds can cause your shingles to curl, crack, or fall off completely, creating gaps where water can get in and damage your home. The shingles on the edges and ridge lines of your roof are the most vulnerable to this type of damage, so these are the areas you’ll want to check first.

Wind can cause damage in other ways, too. Flying debris like tree branches and outdoor furniture can destroy shingles and put holes in your roof. However, not all shingle damage is this obvious. Something as small as a few loose nails in your shingles may lead to costly repairs down the road. This is why it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected professionally every few years.

2. Hail Damage

The sound of hail hitting your roof is hard to ignore, but the damage it causes can also be hard to spot. Hail damage can appear as round dimples in your shingles, or it can be as subtle as a few patches of missing granules. If shingles cracked by hail aren’t fixed, water can start to seep in through these small gaps.

3. Problems in the Attic

If you can’t climb up to your roof, the next best thing is to check your attic for signs of storm damage. Here, you’ll want to look for light shining through holes, water stains, and wet insulation.

Before you call a roofer, make sure that the water in your attic isn’t actually coming from your pipes. If that’s the case, you’ll want to call a plumber instead.

4. Water Damage on Walls & Ceilings 

Discoloration on your walls and ceilings is a common sign of water damage caused by a leaky roof. If you notice a musty smell in your home the first few days after a storm, this could be a sign that mold has developed as well.

While you may be tempted to treat any stains or mold right away, the best thing to do is treat the source of the leak first. If you try to remove a stain before you fix the roof, it will just come back and all of your work will be for nothing.

5. Leaky/Clogged Gutters

Another good way to check for roof problems without having to touch a ladder is to inspect your gutters. It only takes a quick look to identify leaks, dents, rust, and bending.

The next time it rains, observe your gutter to make sure it’s not clogged. A clogged gutter may seem like a minor inconvenience, but it can cause serious roof damage over time. After all, the purpose of a gutter is to direct water away from your roof – one clogged with debris after a storm can’t do that effectively. Water that’s left to sit on your roof will cause your shingles to sag, weaken, and crack.

6. Chimney Damage

Chimneys aren’t as common here in Florida as they are up north, but if you do have one, there are signs of damage you’ll want to check for after a major storm.

Start your inspection indoors by checking the moulding around your fireplace for water stains. Then, inspect the chimney itself. Can you see a gap between the chimney and the roof? This gap is allowing water to enter your home. To fix it, you’ll likely need to replace the flashing, which is what seals the joint.

7. High Energy Bills

If you don’t notice physical damage, you might notice the damage a roof problem does to your wallet. Cracks and holes in your roof can cause air to seep out, making your AC or heat work harder than it needs to. Fixing it can help lower your energy costs and keep your home more comfortable year round.

Protect Your Home with a Brand New Roof

Don’t want to be worrying about the condition of your roof every time lightning strikes? When repairs aren’t enough, you need a brand new roofing system installed by the skilled contractors at Westchase Roofing in Tampa, Florida.

The strong asphalt shingle roofing systems we install are guaranteed to protect your home from the unpredictable Florida weather for many years to come. And with a wide variety of shingle styles and colors available, your home is guaranteed to look great, too! Contact Westchase Roofing today to learn more about our installation and replacement services and to request a free quote.