House Roof Asphalt Shingles Maintenance Tips

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Asphalt shingles maintenance


Roof asphalt shingles maintenance - your roof may be leakingHouse roof asphalt shingles maintenance process can be divided into three steps and performed twice a year – fall, and spring (unless you notice something alarming in between the roof maintenance checkups). This will give you a more complete picture of the asphalt shingles roof condition, even if it is a brand new roof – trust me.

Put this task on top of your house maintenance exterior schedule, as soon as you spot a problem, don’t delay any repairs – do it before you start remodeling interior of your property.

Step 1 – Asphalt shingles roof exterior evaluation
Step 2 – Asphalt shingles roof decking / house ceiling and attic evaluation
Step 3 – Asphalt shingles roof repairs and replacement

Amount of the required house roof asphalt shingles maintenance depends on the property surroundings, roof shape, shingle colors, quality of the workmanship, attic or cathedral ceiling ventilation, your geographical location, etc.

Step 1 – House asphalt shingles maintenance – roof exterior evaluation

If you have a single story home, the safest (but limited) method of inspecting asphalt shingle roof surface would be from the ground, preferably with a pair of binoculars .

Inspecting asphalt shingle roof from the ground has significant limitations / because of the angle you’ll be looking at the roof surface, and detailed evaluation will not be possible. However, before you climb up the roof or start making any repairs, try to visually memorize any “out of ordinary” areas observed from the ground, continue to Step 2 to ensure that there’s a solid decking beneath the shingles, and come back outside to compare your observations.

While performing asphalt shingles maintenance look for:

  • broken / cracked shingles
  • displaced shingles
  • missing shingles
  • curling asphalt shingles edges
  • washed out protective granules from the shingle surface
  • nails penetrating the asphalt shingle surface
  • uneven house asphalt shingle roof surface – significantly sagging or buckling areas
  • debris accumulating on surface
  • discoloration of shingle roof surface
  • loose, displaced, contaminated, corroded, leaking gutters

or anything that simply put – doesn’t look right.

If you think that there is no more room for asphalt shingles maintenance, consider new roof – if you’re from IL, click the link to get Illinois replacement roof cost using my calculator.

Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - leaf contaminated valley shingles deteriorate much fasterPay special attention to the valleys on your asphalt shingle roof because they tend to deteriorate much faster than open / flat surfaces. Especially if you let debris and leafs accumulate and decompose for a few seasons inside the asphalt shingle roof valley.


Also, carefully inspect flashing around the roof penetrations – this includes the chimney, plumbing vents, skylights, and anything that is attached to the roof or penetrates the roof asphalt shingle roof surface. There should not be any cracks / separations along the seams. Follow the roof edges looking for loose / displaced pieces of trim, rotten soffit, and fascia.

If you have a tall house and / or low pitch roof, it might not be possible to get a good observation angle even with the binoculars. In such case, you’ll need a professional roofing contractor to perform this evaluation, and if necessary, proceed with asphalt shingle roof maintenance / repairs… unless you feel 100% capable of doing it yourself.

Ladder safety first - before you climb up the roofIf you decide to climb up the ladder to perform asphalt shingles maintenance;

1. make sure you’ve already followed Step 2 / attic evaluation – it’s very important to perform this 2nd step because it might save you from falling through your roof while working on its surface


2. check Ladder safety guidelines. It’s sometimes very painful not to follow the basics of safety.
Some important tips on using the ladder:

  • Check your ladder for any damage before climbing, make sure it can support your weight
  • Make sure it stands on a solid, flat surface to prevent it from tipping over – don’t use any small objects (stones, bricks, etc.) to level it
  • Never lean the ladder against the chimney unless you’re are absolutely sure it can support it
  • Avoid windy days
  • Secure the ladder if possible to prevent if from sliding away from the roof when unattended
  • read the Ladder safety guidelines again!

Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - step on shingles with caution, some might be loose and slide from under your foot Some of the asphalt shingles might be loose, improperly secured, and even if they look OK, might slide out from under your foot – be extremely careful / watch your step – feel the area before you fully shift your body weight onto your  foot.

Loose shingles are common on multi-layer asphalt shingle roofs where the installer used shorter than required roofing nails – they need to penetrate old shingles layer(s) and the roof decking.
Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - never step on cables while evaluating roof surfaceNever step on cables / wires left on the roof surface, they will roll under your foot and you may loose your balance. If your asphalt shingle roof looks suspicious / uneven, heavily deteriorated, it is wet, frost / ice / snow covered, or appears too steep – don’t step on it!

Stay away from the roof edges, especially along the gutters – decking surface might be rotten and won’t support your body weight.

So, you’ve noticed some problems on your asphalt shingle roof surface, checked the attic / house ceilings for water damage, and learned the ladder safety abc’s.

Now it’s time to perform repairs if necessary and put a check-mark next to your house roof asphalt shingles maintenance entry.

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This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki

I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local

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