Homeowners across the U.S. must constantly face the prospect of roof damage.  Some of this damage is more or less unavoidable, since even the toughest roofing materials will eventually break down and expose your home to the elements. However, you can take a number of important steps to maximize the life of your roof and steer clear of the unnecessary expense of avoidable damage. Here are four crucial tips that can help you keep your roof in good working order for as long as possible.

1) Inspect Your Roof Regularly

No matter what type of roofing material you have installed, undetected damage can lead to big problems, even if it starts out as a seemingly minor issue. The list of common issues includes missing or torn shingles on pitched roofs, missing or broken tiles on pitched roofs and missing gravel on flat roofs. It can be dangerous to check for damage close-up, especially if you have a steeply sloped roof. Instead of climbing a ladder, you can perform a safe, accurate inspection from ground-level with a good pair of binoculars. In addition, many roofing companies provide comprehensive ground- and roof-level inspections at a relatively low cost.

2) Keep Nearby Trees Trimmed at All Times

Falling branches are one of the major potential sources of roof damage for the typical homeowner. A heavy branch dropping from several feet or more can break through even the toughest roof covering. And in extreme cases, a fallen limb can even damage the main roofing materials that sit below your shingles, tiles or other outer coverings. Smaller limbs may not directly damage your roof. However, they can create dams or barriers that lead to water buildup and leaking during storms. You can keep all of these problems at bay by periodically trimming all of the trees near your house and immediately removing any dead branches.

3) Make Sure Your Roof Is Properly Ventilated

Proper ventilation is vital for any home with an attic. In warmer months, the airflow provided by this ventilation will greatly reduce your risks for problems such as: mold and/or mildew accumulation, sagging plywood or other roof decking materials, and prematurely degrading roofing materials. In colder months adequate roof ventilation can save you from any damage caused by ice buildups or frost. Potential options for ensuring adequate roof airflow include installing individual attic vents and installing ridge vents that run along the entire length of a roof peak.

4) Seek Advice from a Qualified Roofing Expert

Qualified roofing experts are an unequaled resource for crucial advice on how to avoid roof damage. Experts in your area will have deep familiarity with your climate and general weather conditions. This means that they’ll be familiar with the roofing issues most likely to occur and know how to help you avoid those issues. A locally based specialist can also look for specific details of your roof design that may increase your risks for certain forms of damage. In addition, your local expert can show you how to establish a comprehensive maintenance plan that helps you keep your roof in top shape throughout the year. Depending on your preferences, you can carry out this plan yourself or leave it in the hands of your service provider.