Asphalt shingles are a common roofing option due to their attractive appearance, low cost, and durability. A little bit of maintenance can further extend the life of the roof, so it pays to be aware of the most common causes of shingle damage.
Debris on the roof can be a big problem. Not only is it unattractive, the debris can damage shingles or trap water and cause leaks to develop. Debris includes leaf litter, branches, and garbage that blows up on the roof. You can minimize debris buildup by trimming back tree branches so they don't overhang the roof, as well as by removing old leaves and debris from the yard so it doesn't blow up on the roof. If debris does get on your roof, have it removed before damages can occur.
Moss may not have roots that can penetrate shingles, but it can still cause damages. Moss, like debris, can trap moisture against the shingles and increase the chances of decay and rot. Even worse, moss can begin growing underneath the edges of the shingles. When this occurs, the moss lifts the shingles up and allows moisture to sip underneath and into your attic. Lifted shingles are also more like to break or blow off in a huge storm.
Water and dew needs to drain off your roof, otherwise the likelihood of leaky shingles increases. A good gutter system that is properly maintained ensures that water drains properly. Opt for seamless gutters, preferably with gutter screens installed over the top, to help prevent them from becoming clogged. Gutters must also be cleaned, particularly before winter. A clogged gutter in winter can't properly drain snow melt away from the roof, so the water flow back up and under the shingles near the eaves and creates an ice dam.
You should never walk on your roof unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Walking on the roof dislodges the protective granules on the shingles. It can also compress shingles or cause them to crack and curl. If you need to get on your roof regularly, such as to service a rooftop air conditioner, then hire a roofer to install a service pad on the roof. These pads protect the shingles when you are doing necessary chores. When hanging holiday lights or other items, use a ladder and only attach the lights to the eaves.
Contact a contractor that specializes in shingle roofing, like Bay Area Roofing or a similar company, for more information.