It wasn’t that long ago that I was standing in line at my local grocery store, when the cover of a popular men’s health magazine caught my eye. It was touting the health benefits of “Superfoods”. You know, goji berries, salmon, kale, quinoa (yes, I pronounce it kwee-noh-ah). So, it got me thinking: what are the so-called “Superfoods” for your roof, or “Rooferfoods”?
Superfoods by definition – a definition most professionals in the health field admit is mostly a marketing ploy – are foods that are considered to be very good for your health (1). Now, it seems to me if there are things we all should be eating to keep our bodies healthy, there are probably things we should be DOING to keep our roofs healthy. Let’s take a look at a few:
1 – Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on your roof is one of the most important “Rooferfoods” you can do to preserve the integrity and extend the life of your roof. Depending upon the type of roof you have and its current condition, service and maintenance evaluations should be done regularly.
Generally, residential applications should be inspected twice yearly – spring and fall – to ensure the roof is free of leaks and/or missing shingles and is ready for the seasons ahead. In the spring, you would be looking to see if there are areas of water penetration from the long winter months and snow buildup on the roof. Is the decking solid? Are the gutters attached to the house still and free of ice damming? Are there any areas of loose or missing shingles, gaps in the flashings, holes in the soffits or eaves? If you had water penetration in the winter, you would inspect these areas to find the potential source of the leak. In the fall, you would be looking to see that the gutters are free of debris, and you would want to be proactively looking to identify any potential problem areas for the coming winter.
Commercial applications should be inspected more frequently due to the size and complexity of commercial roofs. Where residential applications rarely have mechanical units on the roof, this is a standard practice for commercial applications, which leaves the door open on additional possibilities for failure. Quarterly roof checks are suggested for commercial buildings in order to be proactive in the identification of potential problem areas in the overall goal to extend the life of the roof. The things your contractor would be looking for are the same as the residential checklist, with the addition of checking roof penetrations for gaps, roof drains for debris, areas of caulking and vents.
Remember, summer and winter are the harshest months on your roof. Mother Nature can be vicious, so it’s completely normal to expect that your roof would exhibit the same signs of wear and tear that you would expect on your car. Completing routine maintenance will help to ensure your roof keeps performing optimally for years to come.
2 – Gutter Cleaning
This is one of those “Rooferfoods” that should be done in conjunction with regularly scheduled maintenance. Think about it like your plumbing (since gutters are basically the plumbing for your roof): when your plumbing is clogged, nothing can drain and the potential for overflow exists. If the clog is never cleared, nothing is getting through and water is spewing out.
The same thing holds true for your gutters. If they are full of gunk and debris, they cannot properly drain the water off your roof and away from your building, opening the door for myriad number of possibilities, including a leaking roof, water buildup around your foundation, frozen gutters and more.
How do you avoid this? Simple: CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS. It’s a dirty job, but you have to do it. Better still, clean your gutters and then install Gutter Guards.
3 – Licensed, Professional Roofer
Obviously one of the “Rooferfoods” is a licensed, professional roofer. You should look for a roofer who:
- Is licensed by the IL Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (ILDFPR)
- Carries workers comp and liability insurance
- Has a valid office address
- Is certified by the leading manufacturers to install their products
- Warranties their work
- You can trust
Once you find a roofing contractor that fits all of these criteria, you can go about putting a “Rooferfoods” plan in place. This will set your roof up for success and will ensure maximum performance for the life of the investment, while offering you peace of mind knowing you did everything you could to ensure a healthy life for the largest surface keeping you covered.
So, just as “Superfoods” are supposed to keep our bodies healthy and working optimally, so too are these "Rooferfoods" designed to be good for the health of your roof. Give ‘em a try...what have you got to lose?