Keeping trees trimmed away from your roof helps prevent damage during high winds. It also limits access for rodents like squirrels that gnaw on shingles and other roofing system components.


Documenting shingle damage with images and a spreadsheet is helpful when filing an insurance claim. This will help you avoid the stress of a costly repair and save you money in the long run. Visit to learn more.

The type of wood used to make a shake or shingle roof affects its durability. Wood species with high heartwood content, such as western red cedar (Thuja plicata), coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), have natural preservatives that resist degradation. But even these relatively durable species need planned maintenance to prolong their useful lives. The combination and severity of local factors influencing wood weathering and durability determines the type, frequency and extent of maintenance required.

The primary reason that wooden roofing fails is that water absorbs into the wood cells and deteriorates it from the inside. This deterioration is accelerated by warm, wet weather and by the slope of the roof. A wood roof exposed to the wet, warm coast of Hawaii might last only one-fourth as long as a similar roof in cooler, dry western Oregon.

Cedar shingles and shakes are naturally decay-resistant, but they do rot if their moisture level rises above 20 percent. This rot is caused by fungi that begin life as small spores that float in air currents and settle on the surface of a roof. As they grow, fungi absorb the organic materials that give wood its strength and attack the structural components of the shingle or shake.

In addition to fungi, moss and mildew are common problems on wooden roofs. These organisms thrive on a wet, warm roof and feed on the same chemicals that fungi do. Spots of white, gray, black or brown mold and mildew on a cedar roof are signs of a problem that requires immediate attention.

Several surface treatments are available to arrest wood decay and protect against fungi, moss, lichen and algae. Some contain chemicals that act as preservatives, while others contain fungicides and algicides that kill organisms and control their growth. Most of these products also have water-repellent qualities and ultraviolet light inhibitors that slow, but do not prevent, the deterioration that results from repeated wetting and drying.

A copper naphthenate preservative containing 8% copper metal has been recommended for use on wood shake and shingle roofs. It is applied as a liquid spray and can be tinted brown to blend in with the color of aged cedar. The product is mixed with water and applied to the surface of a roof using a pump sprayer. A gallon will typically treat 100-300 square feet of roof, depending on the condition of the wood.


Slate is a durable, natural roofing material that has been used for hundreds of years. It’s also very stylish and can add a unique look to your home. However, despite its durability, slate is not indestructible. Even with regular maintenance and inspections, a severe storm can cause significant damage to a slate roof. If your home has a slate roof, it’s important to hire a professional roofer to handle any repairs.

The first step in maintaining a slate roof is to clean the surface. A light blower or brush can be used to remove debris. Using a heavy broom can damage the surface and dislodge the slates, so be careful when cleaning. The next step is to inspect the roof for cracks, breaks, and other damage. This can be done during a general cleaning or by walking around the roof with binoculars after severe storms. A professional can spot any areas of concern and determine whether or not a repair is needed.

It’s also important to examine the flashings. These are the metal pieces that hold chimneys and other structures to the roof and help keep the roof watertight. These can also wear out over time, especially if your slate roof is older. Flashings are usually made of copper or galvanized steel and should be replaced as necessary.

If you have a slate roof, it’s also a good idea to inspect the chimney flashing for signs of corrosion and water leaks. The flashing may be installed by the roofing contractor or may have been installed as part of a renovation project on an existing home. If it’s not properly installed, the flashing can leak or become damaged, leading to costly damage to the interior of your home.

Unscrupulous roofing contractors who don’t specialize in slate will often take advantage of homeowners and convince them that their roof is beyond its service life and must be replaced with a space-age composite product. This is not only a waste of money, but it can also ruin the historic integrity and beauty of the building.


With their distinctive terracotta hues, clay roof tiles add a unique aesthetic to residential homes. They are durable in harsh weather conditions and can last more than half a century with the proper care and maintenance. But like all roofing materials, they need to be inspected and repaired regularly.

As a rule of thumb, a residential roof should be inspected annually before the wet season begins. This is when small problems, such as leaks and obstructed drainage paths, are easier to address. Using binoculars and standing back from the roof, inspect for cracked or broken tiles, dents, stains, or discoloration in the underlying layers of the roof. If you spot any issues, a professional roofer should be called for inspection and repair work.

Regular cleaning is essential for clay tile roofing, especially in humid climates. Algae, mildew, and other organisms love to settle on this type of roofing, so it is important to regularly clean the surface with a gentle power wash or rinse. This will not only remove the organic growth, but will also help prevent deterioration of the mortar that holds the tiles in place.

In addition, it is a good idea to periodically clear the roof of debris, especially in the valleys and gutters. A cluttered roof can interfere with the flow of rain water, which can degrade the mortar and cause leaks. It is also a good idea to check the flashings, which are located at the seams of the roof, to make sure they are intact and free from damage or deterioration.

Lastly, homeowners should be aware of the dangers associated with walking on clay roofs, since doing so can cause them to crack. The weight of the person stepping on the tiles can cause severe breakage and may even lead to the entire roof failing if not secured properly. This is why it is a good idea to hire a professional roofer to ensure that all the tiles are properly anchored to the roof before taking on the task yourself.

The proper care and maintenance of a clay roof can save homeowners money in the long run. A yearly inspection and a routine cleaning can keep this type of roof in tip top shape for years to come.


Metal roofing offers many advantages over other roof materials, including durability, energy efficiency and long lifespan. It isn’t immune to damage, however, and should be inspected and maintained regularly. Surface-level maintenance includes cleaning, surface re-painting and checking for leaks.

Regular cleaning removes dirt, dust, debris, mildew, algae and bird droppings from the metal panels. It can also improve the appearance, reflectivity and energy efficiency of the metal. It should be done on a dry day, preferably with overcast skies to avoid sun exposure and heat buildup.

The fasteners (rivets, screws or nails) that attach the metal panels should be checked periodically to ensure they aren’t loose, crooked, angled or missing altogether. This is especially important for metal roofing systems with exposed fasteners. Over time, these fasteners can back out due to thermal expansion and contraction and can result in a leak zone.

Flashing is strips of metal installed along the edges and joints on a metal roof to protect against leaks caused by the intersection of different materials and elements. These areas often include chimneys, vents, skylights and solar panels. Checking these areas for cracks, gaps or rust will prevent water intrusion that can cause interior damage and mold.

Leaks are often the result of flashing that is loosened, corroded or missing. A professional should examine the condition of these components and caulk any gaps or areas of deterioration.

Like all surfaces, metal can become oxidized and damaged from prolonged contact with air and moisture. It’s also subject to corrosion from chemical compounds and metals that aren’t the composition of the roof. During a roof inspection, homeowners and contractors should examine the condition of metal flashing and vents and make sure that they are free of insulation, rodent nests, insect hives and other obstructions. They should also ensure that all stored items, such as ladders and tarps, are positioned to not interfere with the ventilation system. In addition, any tree branches that are touching the roof should be trimmed to prevent damage to the roof and siding. This will also keep leaves and other plant matter from washing onto the roof, causing staining or scratching of the paint coatings that can’t be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.