In Florida, shingle roof coverings are common however, due to our climate conditions and weather, there are several things you can do as a homeowner to ensure longevity. When we inspect roof coverings around the Gainesville area, we expect a 3-tab shingle roof to last approximately 15 years, and an architectural shingle roof to last approximately 20 years. There are to significant factors that can, over time, reduce the longevity of your shingle roof, and that is UV exposure, and moisture. UV exposure is difficult to control. Providing shade for the roof covering can lower it however, as we will discuss shortly, shading can create moisture problems. Typically, we’ve found the most common issues that results in early deterioration of a roof covering is moisture. Here are three things you can do, as a homeowner, to reduce the impacts of moisture on shingle roof coverings for your Gainesville, FL home.

  1. Remove any trees or vegetation that overhangs or comes into contact

Trees and vegetation that overhangs or comes into contact with a roof covering will shade the roof. While this may seem beneficial at first, the issue is that shading prevents quick drying of moisture. Moisture, such as morning dew, that does not quickly dry can degrade shingle roof coverings and promote the growth of vegetation and algae.

trees hanging over shingle roof in gainesville, florida

Having trees around the property (typically to the Southern side) can certain be of benefit, but should be kept a minimum of 50 feet away from the building foundation. If trees grow so large that they begin to overhang the roof, the limbs should be trimmed back to prevent debris from dropping on the roof. Similarly, large plants that grow over the roof should be trimmed or removed to prevent excessive shading or debris. When branches or vegetation is in direct contact with the shingle roof covering, water and moisture from the plants will come into contact with the roof further exasperating the impact of moisture.

2. Seasonal removal of debris that accumulates

When vegetation overhangs a roof covering, or wind blows falling leaves and debris into the air, material is commonly collected on roof covering in areas of low wind such as valleys and transitions. Debris the collects on roof coverings will not only shade areas but also hold a significant amount of water, pests, and dirt that will degrade a roof covering quickly. We’ve actually seen insurance companies deny coverage of roof coverings because of the amount of debris on them due to the impact the retained moisture can create. It is best to seasonally, remove debris from the roof covering using non-abrasive methods such as with a leaf blower. Yard maintenance companies will commonly provide this service seasonally for additional fees. Roofs are a dangerous place to be as is climbing a ladder if you are not experienced or comfortable. This may be a job best left for the professionals.

leaf debris on shingle roof covering reduces life

3. Softwashing to remove algal build-up

The granules of shingles are commonly embedded with zinc, which inhibits the growth of mildew and algae. These zinc coating are generally only warrantied for a period for 5 to 7 years. After that time, you may notice large areas of your roof covering turning darker colors. When wet, the roof coverings will feel slick. This is the presence of algae and mildew. Algae and mildew will hold moisture to the roof coverings and also provide a surface for the growth of other vegetative matter. We’ve seem lines of fungus, moss, and even grass and plants growing where algae has accumulated on roof coverings. Softwashing is a method to clean a roof covering which involves gentle spraying of a cleaning agent and washing off after a period of time. You absolutely never want to use an abrasive cleaning method such as scrubbing or powerwashing on a shingle roof as you will remove large areas of the granules and expose the underlying bitumen layer to UV light which will degrade them faster. There are many companies around the area which provide softwashing services for roof covering. An added advantage is, the removal of darkened algae and mildew can make your older roof covering look brand new again!

softwashing shingle roof covering
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Maintenance of your Gainesville home is highly important, and your shingle roof covering is only one area you should ensure get the care it needs to last it’s full lifespan. Implementing these tips will help you keep your roof clean and reduce the impacts of moisture. If you aren’t sure what the condition of your roof covering is, or want assistance to identify areas you can improve for the health of your roof covering, give us a call for a Roof Condition Assessment.

No matter where you are purchasing your new home, whether in Gainesville, or any of the surrounding areas, we’re here to help you ensure the home of your dreams doesn’t turn into a nightmare down the road by providing the most trusted and thorough inspection services.