Roof replacement is a landlord’s most significant expense and a cost most investors want to defer for as long as possible. This single project can set you back by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of roof on your building.
This is why; Blue Door Management Team advises that as a property investor focused on maximizing profits, you don’t want to replace your rental roof until you are ready to do it. But the way to make sure of this is by maintaining the property’s existing roof in the right way.
Some landlords think they can get away with paying minimal attention to the roof of their rental property. They assume that the structure only needs a little care because roofs are rugged by design. So, they need to be more intentional about roof maintenance.
This attitude is also enabled because the roof is not in the owner’s sight. Unlike the walls or flooring in the rental, you do not always see the issues with your roof. This makes it even easier to overlook the roof during routine maintenance.
But this mistake can cost you soon. The rental’s roof will deteriorate faster than it should, and you will be forced to replace it sooner. What are the important things you need to do to keep the roof on your rental functional and beautiful at all times?
Top Seven Rental Property Roof Maintenance Tips for Landlords
1. Inspect the roof on a schedule
Like every other structure and system of your building, the roof on your rental will benefit from scheduled inspections. The main reason roof problems cost so much is that they must be detected on time.
Many landlords wait until they see signs of trouble before paying attention to their property’s roof. But a half-yearly or yearly roof inspection program will help you cut your roof maintenance expense by as much as 50%.
2. Remove nearby tree branches
Mature trees in your yard make your rental property more appealing to renters, but those trees can also threaten the structures of your building. Tree branches should never be allowed to grow so close to a house that they serve as runways for rodents to get into the roof. During thunderstorms, overhanging tree branches can also brush the roof’s surface and damage the shingles. Annual tree trimming will help you avoid this problem.
3. Clean your roof
A clean roof looks pretty in pictures and real life; it is a great marketing tool for your property. But the real reason you want to keep your rental’s roof clean is not just because of the aesthetics. Dirty gutters encourage water infiltration into the inner structures of your roof.
Moss and algae can weaken the roof and make it more susceptible to leaks. Asphalt shingles are particularly vulnerable to algae because these organisms extract the substrate from the shingles.
4. Check roof flashing and re-caulk if necessary
This should be done with your seasonal inspections (wholesale inspections of a rental done to prepare it for an incoming season). Flashing is found at important locations on the roof – the base of chimneys, where the roof meets a wall, close to plumbing vents, and other areas where leaks are common. Flashing helps to keep water and rodents out of the roof. Making sure these important features are in place can save your roof.
5. Check roof insulation and ventilation
The roof is a vital part of your building envelope. It is a major factor in the efficiency of your HVAC and your rental’s energy costs. Damaged insulation will undermine the ability of your HVAC to heat or cool the building properly. Poor ventilation can lead to excessive moisture, which may cause mold in the attic or encourage wood rot in the roof structures.
6. Recruit your tenants as allies
Since your tenants are in constant contact with the building, they should be your eyes and ears to detect any issues with your rental property’s roof. You must educate tenants on their role in the maintenance of the rental and make this clear in the lease agreement.
If the processes for reporting problems are easy and you are responsive to tenants’ complaints, they will be happy to help you solve or even prevent most roof maintenance issues on your property.
7. Always use a licensed contractor
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” Always use a licensed contractor for major jobs. It is all right to want to save money on roof maintenance but never do it at the risk of the job not being done right.
The roof of a building is both sturdy and sensitive at the same time. Small mistakes and errors of judgment committed by an unqualified technician can haunt the roof for the duration of its lifetime. You don’t want that.
Lastly, remember that every roof will eventually need to be replaced, but proper maintenance will help you get the most out of the rental’s roof before that time comes.