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tips for maintaining wood shingle roofs

Do you know you how much a new roof costs?

As much as $120,000, and that number can go up depending on the roofing contractor you choose.

With this kind of investment, you’ll want to do all you can to avoid replacing your roof prematurely. This is especially necessary with wood shingle roofs whose lifespan is shorter than other roofing materials.

Moisture build-up under the shingles is the main problem with wood roofs. It causes rotting, which weakens the whole roof structure. If left unattended, it can make your roof collapse. As such, regular roof maintenance measures need to focus on keeping your roofing material dry and ventilated.

Here are five ways to make your wood shingle roof last longer:

Clear The Gutters

Usually, you’d expect clogged rain gutters to only ruin your siding paint or flood your basement. What you may not know, however, is that the overflow also goes upward. When debris piles up in your gutters, rainwater wicks into your roof sheathing and rafters, where it causes rotting.

A rotting roof will eventually cave in unless you repair or replace it—both of which are costly.

To avoid this, clean your gutters every fall and spring when the weather is friendly. You can do it yourself if you have the necessary skills and time. Otherwise, it’s recommended to hire roofing professionals.

Remove Moss From Your Roof

In most wet regions, moss growth on the roof is a common sight. Besides being unsightly, moss also traps rainwater. This allows it to seep underneath the wood shingles, where it causes rotting.

You can get rid of moss on your roof mechanically or chemically.

The mechanical method involves sweeping the moss off your roof. But before you do this, assess your roof’s condition. If it’s too fragile to hold your weight, find a professional.

Also, if the moss infestation is too heavy, sweeping it off the roof may not work. In such a case, the chemical method is more appropriate.

The chemical method involves applying pesticides to actively growing moss. To make pesticides more effective, apply water to dried moss before application.
Once you wet the moss, apply one of the following pesticides as prescribed:

Zinc Sulfate (Monohydrate)

Add three pounds of Zinc Sulfate powder to 9 gallons of water and stir until you get an even mixture.

Next, use a pump sprayer to apply this solution on 200-1000 square feet of wood shingle roof depending on the intensity of the infestation.

Avoid using this treatment if parts of your roof are made of copper because Zinc Sulfate corrodes copper. Also, Zinc Sulfate is toxic, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s application directions and wear protective clothing to avoid chemical poisoning.

Potassium Salts Of Fatty Acids

Soap-based Potassium salts of fatty acids are less toxic compared to Zinc Sulfate solutions. They’re biodegradable, and most importantly, effective in killing moss.

Once applied, they penetrate the cell walls of the moss, breaking their membranes. When this happens, the moss cells can no longer retain enough water for the plant to stay alive.

If you accidentally spray this solution onto your outdoor plants, rinse them with a lot of water as soon as possible.

Keep Fungi Under Control

Although mild fungal infestation may not cause significant damage, excessive fungi growth causes wood to decay, which reduces the lifespan of wood shingle roofs.

Fungi tend to grow deep inside the shingles, so it’s quite difficult to completely get rid of them. But, applying surface treatments to your roof on a regular basis can keep fungi under control and stop wood decay.

Surface treatments come in the form of wood preservatives and they’re more effective on roofs with less weathering and decay. As such, it’s recommended that you begin applying these treatments shortly after installing a new roof to keep it in good condition.

You can apply surface treatments by spraying, rolling, or brushing them onto the roof. Spraying is the most effective method of application due to the uneven nature of wood shingle roofs. However, you should never do it during windy days.

When spraying, ensure there’s a uniform coating on the whole roof. Don’t leave any exposed ends, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

If your roof is made of cedar, apply at least two coats of the treatment because this type of wood is more resistant to fluid uptake. Be sure to allow the first coat to dry before applying the second.

You can use the following preservatives to keep fungi under control: Copper Naphthenate, Copper-8-Quinolinolate (oxine copper), 3-iodo-propynyul butyl carbamate (IPBC), Tributyltin Oxide (TBTO), Zinc or Copper Strips, and oil treatments.

Before you use any of these chemicals, ensure that they’re certified by the necessary bodies. Uncertified fungi treatments can harm plants and animals if absorbed or ingested.

Repair Cracked Shingles Immediately

Regular roof maintenance stops a small problem from escalating into costly repairs, and the same goes for cracked shingles.

It’s easier and cheaper to repair small cracks on shingles than replacing the whole thing. To fix shingle cracks that are less than one inch, follow the steps below:

  • Detach loose splinters.
  • Nail larger pieces together, making sure you don’t force nail heads into the surface of your shingles.
  • Secure the broken shingle in its place with roofing cement and allow it to dry.

For larger cracks, it’s recommended to call a professional for help.

Trim Overhanging Branches

Overhanging tree branches dump twigs, leaves, and other debris on your roof, which absorb and retain rainwater. Moisture retention leads to rotting, which can reduce the life of your roof. Additionally, the shade caused by overhanging branches delays drying after roof repairs.

If you can’t cut trees around your home, make an effort to trim overhanging branches on a regular basis.

Professional Repair And Maintenance For Wood Shingle Roofs

Wood shingle roofs can be hectic to maintain and repair. If you don’t want to add that to your to-do list, Pacifica Coast Roofing has got you covered. We have the expertise and experience needed to help you get the most out of your roof’s lifespan.

Contact us today for quality roofing services.