Contributed by Stacy Mellete
When you think about your roof, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the material it’s composed of, such as asphalt shingles or metal. After all, these materials make up your roof’s largest and most visible area. While they play a large role, the most visible components of your roofing alone aren’t enough to keep your home dry and damage-free. Your roofing system isn’t just made up of the shingles or the metal panels–it consists of a number of vital components working together to deliver exceptional weather protection.
These essentials include your gutters, soffits, fascia and flashing. Make sure to focus on these components as you carry out this season’s home-maintenance program. By making sure each of these essential components remains in good shape, you can expect top-notch performance from your roofing system, and that it stays lovely and healthy all year round.
They are often unobtrusive so as to be overlooked, but your gutters contribute greatly toward protecting your home from water damage. Gutters play a critical role: they catch the rainwater flowing down from your roof and direct it away from your home. This helps:
- Keep your home’s structure intact. Because gutters prevent rainwater from seeping into your walls and foundation, they help maintain your home’s structural integrity. At the same time, this prevents the formation of mold and mildew within your home, allowing for sturdier, safer and healthier living spaces.
- Prevent damage to your landscaping. Without gutters to channel it away, rainwater will most likely rush down to the ground, eroding the soil and damaging nearby greenery. You don’t want water running unchecked around your landscaping and splashing onto your home’s exterior if you’re aiming to improve its curb appeal. To keep your turf intact, make sure your gutters are in good condition, or that you have new gutters installed by a local roofing contractor.
- Save money. A healthy gutter system prevents extensive water damage to your home and property, allowing you avoid costly repairs and restoration.
GUTTERS THAT BEST SUIT YOUR HOME. Keep material and style in mind when planning to replace your existing gutter system.
If your existing gutter system is already old and failing, or your home doesn’t actually have one, why not consider hiring a reliable contractor and having one installed? Here’s what to consider:
- Gutter Material. This factor directly affects the longevity and performance of your new gutters, so make sure to choose wisely. Some of the more popular materials include:
- Aluminum, which is lightweight, rust-resistant and easy to install and maintain.
- Steel, which is competitively priced and sturdier than aluminum.
- Copper, which instantly adds a striking look to your home while providing great draining performance.
- Gutter Type. You can choose from either sectional or seamless gutters. If you want a traditional option, sectional gutters fit the bill. They’re made of multiple pieces of metal strung together along your roof’s length. While more cost-effective, sectional gutters are prone to leaks and other damage. Seamless gutters which consist of a single, continuous piece of metal, on the other hand, are a lot more ideal design-wise as they eliminate this problem. Their design helps minimize the potential for leaks, allowing for better overall draining performance
Soffit and Fascia
As with your gutters, other smaller components of your roofing system should never be taken for granted. Take your soffit and fascia, for instance.The soffit refers to the exposed siding below the rafter tails, while the fascia is the horizontal board you see directly above the soffit. Together, these architectural elements provide a finished look to your home. Visual interest, however, is not the only thing they’re good for.
Why are soffit and fascia important?
The soffit allows for greater ventilation by helping keep a steady airflow between your attic and roofing system. By preventing excessive heat buildup inside the attic space, there’s less possibility for premature wear-and-tear on the roofing materials above. This also stops mold formation and its accompanying structural and health risks. If you live in a region prone to high winds, the soffit helps keep water and moisture from blowing into your home. Additionally, it offers a clean and attractive way to disguise your home’s ventilation.
AESTHETIC AND FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS. Aside from providing a finishing touch to your home, the soffit and fascia protect your roof from water and moisture.
The fascia, meanwhile, provides support for the lower edge of the bottom row of roofing materials. It’s what you install your gutters onto, so it’s crucial that your fascia is always in good condition. Without it, there’s nothing to hold up your gutters during a rainstorm.
Keeping your soffit and fascia in tip-top shape
Make sure to check periodically for peeling paint, cracks, holes and other damage. Be especially wary of mold or mildew on your soffit. Because the soffit and fascia can allow for pooling water, make sure they’re properly sealed and caulked. You can turn to a premier roofing company in your area to handle the job
This vital component covers the more vulnerable areas of your roofing system, where leaks are mostly likely to form. These include the areas around your chimneys, skylights, dormers, roof valleys
and vents. Without flashing, it’s easy for rainwater to find its way into the roof deck, and ultimately, inside your home. Make sure your flashing retains durable seals to effectively direct the flow of water around your roof’s openings. This way, you can prevent structural damage to both your roofing and home.
What Flashing Is Made Of
Flashing comes in a variety of materials, from sheet metal to plastic, and even composite. The most durable option is sheet metal, but it’s also costlier than the other available options. There’s copper or stainless steel, which likewise offer great protection. For homeowners on a budget, plastic or PVC-based flashing will do the trick, but the material does tend to wear down quicker than do the others when exposed to direct sunlight.
EASY LEAK PREVENTION. Keeping a leak-free roof starts with a durable, properly sealed flashing.
When experiencing problems with your gutters, soffit,fascia or flashing, make sure to turn to a reliable roofing contractor for the necessary solutions.
The Importance of Hiring a Roofing Professional
Taking the DIY route may be tempting, but working on something large and complex like your roofing system will require a pro. Here’s why:
- Pros have the necessary experience. A pro will already have worked on a large number of roofing projects. This means they’ll be able to work on your gutters, soffit, or flashing safely and will be able to accomplish the task right the first time. Besides having the right tools for the job, they’ll certainly know how to use them properly. By contrast, an untrained homeowner may unwittingly cause damage to their own roof when going the DIY route. With a roofing professional, you can expect a smoother repair process from start to finish.
- Proshelp save money. DIY projects are rife with possible errors, which may actually cause costs to balloon– making your project much more expensive over the long run. Hiring a roofing pro, whether for roof repairs or gutter installation, eliminates the possibility of such mistakes. This saves you from incurring additional expenses resulting from having failed projects redone.
Don’t sweat the smaller components when aiming to maintain a well-performing roof. By promptly dealing with the noticeable issues you may have with your gutters, soffit, fascia or flashing, you can make the most of your system’s service life. Of course, working only with a trusted roofing company can also help with this, and can ensure that the repair and maintenance process you undertake remains stress-free.
Stacy works at Affordable Roofing Systems, a family-owned and operated company, where she is in charge of Administrative Operations. Stacy is originally from northeast Florida, but now lives in the Lutz, FL, area. You can connect with her by following the Affordable Roofing Twitter.