How to Waterproof and Weatherproof Your Roof

Replacing a roof doesn't rank high on the list of priorities for upgrades for most homeowners until the darned thing starts to leak. After all, it's way more fun to overhaul the kitchen or bathroom, spaces that you see and use each day, than to drop a ton of dough on the roof, which you rarely think of unless it stops doing its job. In fact, the minute the roof starts malfunctioning, the savvy homeowner starts to see dollars going down the drain. But there are ways that you can protect your roof from the ill effects of the elements without blowing the major amounts of dough required for roof replacement. All you have to do is work on waterproofing and weatherproofing the hat on your house.

But hold up a second; aren't most roofs waterproof by design anyway? Whether you have a tile or shingle roof, chances are it was made to protect your interior spaces from all manner of weather. But if you happen to live in a climate with frequent rain, sleet, snow and other extreme or frequent bad weather, you might need some extra protection to get the maximum life and efficiency from your home's crowning glory. And there are a couple of good ways to ensure that your roof holds up to its end of the bargain when it comes to keeping out the elements.

Slate roof dormer

If it is already too late to save the roof you currently have, replacement at least offers you the opportunity to start things on the right foot. One of the best ways to make sure that water and other weather concerns don't invade your home through the roof is to add protective material under the shingles or tiles. Tarpaper is probably the most common addition, and roofing felt is another often used substance. But modern advances have yielded yet another option in the form of breathable thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). You might think that a breathable (read: permeable) membrane is somewhat counterintuitive, but this technology will actually help to draw condensation out of your attic space.

Of course, your roof may still be serviceable, in which case you can merely add a weatherproofing compound onto the shingles themselves. The first step is to carefully inspect your roof in order to ensure that it is undamaged. Replace any tiles or shingles that have been compromised in any way before you begin the sealing process. From there you'll have to decide if you prefer an oil-based substance (which is likely to last a bit longer) or a water-based sealant (which is better for the environment). Then all you have to do is apply it (usually by spraying or brushing it over the surface). This should add to the longevity of your roof, especially if you repeat it regularly. Just as a note, though, this method is not entirely foolproof, especially where water is concerned, so it behooves you to have waterproofing material under shingles, as well.

While replacing your roof certainly constitutes a major expense, it may become necessary at some point, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions. However, you can spare yourself some expense in the long run by taking steps to ensure that your roof remains waterproof and weatherproof longer. Even if you've been hunting at while preparing to sell your home, a few small preventive steps on behalf of your roof could spare you (and future homeowners) from major expense down the line.