Are you a first-time homeowner? Congratulations! Buying a first home is one of the most exciting times in your life. If you’ve been previously living in an apartment, renting a home, or living with roommates, owning a home offers you some unique rewards and challenges. In the past, you’ve probably been used to someone else taking care of home repairs, but that task is now yours. One of the most important parts of your new home you need to keep an eye on is your roof. Here are some tips that will help you keep this crucial part of your house in top shape.

Pay attention to it

This might seem like a silly piece of advice, but it can be easy to ignore your roof as it’s not front and center in your line of sight every day. Make a point to examine it on a regular basis – especially after heavy storms. Getting on the roof isn’t necessary (and could be dangerous), so just get a nice ladder that’s tall enough so you can lean it against the home, climb it, and eyeball your roof’s condition. Keep an eye out for missing or damaged shingles, damage to skylights or chimneys, or any other noticeable wear and tear. Also take a look regularly around your home’s interior. If you see water stains on the ceiling, bubbling paint, or moss and algae anywhere on or in your home, it could be a sign of trouble.

Schedule annual inspections

As a new homeowner, it’s very easy for you to miss signs of roof damage. Some signs will be nearly invisible and only apparent to an experienced roof inspector. That’s why it’s important to get annual roof inspections to prevent costly repairs or replacements. A professional estimator can identify small problems before they become large ones and save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run.

Find a reputable contractor to work with

Your roof inspector should either work for or be associated with a reputable, reliable contractor. Do your best to form a relationship with this contractor so you have someone trustworthy to go to when you need repairs. A good contractor will give you peace of mind that any work done will be done well, at a fair price, and that the professional will stand behind any work they do.

Understand your roof won’t last forever

No matter how well you take care of your roof, it won’t last forever. Depending on how old the roof was when you bought the house, you could be looking at a new roof in anywhere from one to ten years. The average roof lasts around 20 years, so unless your roof was brand new when you moved in, you’ll likely need to replace it at some point. This is where that strong relationship with a contractor comes in. They can let you know when your roof has reached the end of its life and the options available for a new one.

Keep up on routine maintenance

There are some regular tasks that will keep your roof looking and performing well. First, keep any loose debris, including branches and leaves, off your roof. You should also keep an eye on your shingles to see if any moss or algae has formed. If it has, a professional roof cleaning is likely in order. Maintaining your gutter system is also key to your roof health. If you don’t keep it free of debris, you’ll get clogs that can pool and cause leaks. Cracked or clogged gutters can also lead to foundation damage if water is allowed to gather on the ground instead of being shuttled away from your foundation via downspouts.

It’s exciting to be a first-time homeowner, but it can also be very daunting. Knowing what to look for when it comes to your roof and working with a reputable contractor can help give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your new home without all the stress.