We often get calls from our customers about various aspects of roof care, so, to answer your most pressing questions, we’ve put together this guide to roof care. Its very difficult to give exact answers to some questions that we get asked – for instance the first question we address (How often should I expect to need to replace my roof?) is very difficult to answer without knowing a lot about the individual roof. In this FAQ, we hope to give you some guidelines that you can use. Hopefully you’ll learn not only how to maintain your roof, but also how often you should expect to replace it and when to call in the experts to help you address various roofing issues.

Q: How often should I expect to need to replace my roof?

A: Today’s roofing systems are designed to last a very long time, so you can expect your roof to have a lifespan from about 20 to 50 years. Why such a big range? How long your roof lasts before it needs replacing depends largely on the type and quality of material used (check out our post on different types of roofing materials here) as well as how well you maintain your roof during its lifetime. Another extraordinarily important factor that affects your roof’s lifespan? The quality of the installation. If you hire an inexperienced or fly-by-night roofing company, or even an experienced company that nonetheless has little knowledge of how to work with the material you’ve chosen—you could be headed for serious trouble. Roofing systems that are improperly installed are prone to leaks, ice damming, sagging, shingle damage, rotted decking, poor aesthetic quality, premature roof failure, and even structural damage and basement flooding.

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my roof in the winter?

A: In the wintertime, one of the biggest problems you might encounter comes in the form of icicles. While you may think they look pretty and you may have fond memories of breaking them off and enjoying these “popsicles” as a kid, the truth is they can present a serious problem. Large icicles present a very real physical danger if they break off and fall on you, a family member, or a pet who stands unwittingly down below. You will want to ensure you carefully remove small icicles that hang within easy reach. For larger icicles, you should call in a pro, because removing them improperly could cause your gutters to be pulled down in the process. If you frequently notice very large icicles forming on your home, give us a call to have us evaluate your roofing system. Icicles can sometimes indicate the presence of a serious roofing issue, such as the formation of an ice dam.

In general, you shouldn’t need to worry about removing snow from your roof, as here in New Jersey we rarely get so much snow that it weighs down your roof too much. If you get a foot or more of snow on your roof and are concerned about structural damage, call us and we can help with snow removal.

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my roof in the spring and summer?

A: During the spring and summer seasons, you should keep an eye out for debris, such as tree limbs, that fall on your roof, and remove them promptly (or call in someone to do so if you can’t manage the task safely on your own). At least once at the start of each season, you’ll also want to do a thorough visual inspection of your roof, checking for any blown-off or damaged shingles or other signs of roof damage. Depending on your own comfort level as well as on the type of roofing material you have, it may or may not be appropriate for you to get up on your roof to perform this inspection. If it isn’t safe for you to tread on your roof, use a pair of binoculars to inspect areas of your roof that can’t easily see from a ladder. You should also go up to your attic and inspect the underside of your roof, looking for signs of leaks, sags, or rotted decking. If you notice a couple of missing or damaged shingles, before you start trying to repair these yourself give us a call to discuss your options.

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my roof in the fall?

A: In the fall, you’ll again want to perform the same type of maintenance you did in the spring and summer, but with a couple of important additions. First, it’s critical that you clean out your gutters after the leaves have fallen from trees. Clogged downspouts can cause roof leaks and gutter overflows that lead to basement flooding. In the winter months, gutters that don’t flow freely can prevent snow from melting and draining safely away from your roof, causing ice dams to build up and damage your roofing system. Be sure to check out our post on cleaning your gutters for tips on tackling this job safely and effectively.

Q: What should I do if I have a problem with my roof?

This guide to roof maintenance is meant to be a general overview. As roofing experts, we can help you understand what’s going on with your roof, specifically, and identify the best course of action. Give us call with any concerns you have about your current roof or with any questions you have about installing a new roof. We’re always happy to answer your queries regarding how to maintain and care for your roof!

No matter what kind of roof you have or how long you’ve had it, remember: a roof is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your home—take good care of it and choose your materials and installer wisely! If you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 973-927-0963.