Your roof is one of the most important components of a basic human need: shelter. And like any part of your home and property, roofs are susceptible to normal wear and tear, severe weather and natural disasters, material contraction and expansion, or even poor construction as well as maintenance.
Protecting this purposeful component will not only ensure yours and your family’s safety, but will save you money along the way. Regularly checking for minor problems will not only help you to avoid expensive roof repairs in the future, but dramatically cut replacement costs by nearly half, and possibly extend the life of your roof for decades.
For best results, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof twice a year.
For those who would like to perform their own preventative inspections, it is important to have a good understanding of what you are looking for.
The three objectives of roof inspection:
- Determine roof system functionality.
- Identifying any signs of deterioration, weakness, or hazards.
- Identifying necessary repairs.
Roofing safety tips:
Before you begin your roof inspection, it is imperative that you take appropriate safety precautions.
- Never perform a roof inspection under wet or icy conditions. Note that leaves and debris can also cause hazardous walking conditions; and high winds can literally blow you down off the roof.
- Have a friend or family member around. Just in case anything should happen, help is already there.
- Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, boots or shoes with good traction, and a harness. Your harness must be tied to something sturdy, so as to prevent falling off the roof should you slip.
- Set the ladder on a level surface that is solid. If the surface is grass or dirt, dig holes for the legs to stand solidly in place.
- If your home was recently exposed to severe weather or a natural disaster, do not attempt to inspect or repair it yourself. These conditions offer many dangerous variables, and should only be handled by a professional.
General roof inspection checklist:
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you have a good understanding of what repairs will be covered. Fortunately, many homeowner’s insurance policies cover roof repairs.
- Look for any visible damage indoors. Check ceilings and walls for any mold or mildew, as well as rot. Should you identify any of these, contact a roofer immediately as this may indicate structural damage in addition to urgent roof repair.
- Other common signs of trouble to look for include dark spots on the ceiling, water stains on pipes near the furnace or water heater, and damp spots near the fireplace.
- Don’t forget to inspect the attic for aforementioned signs of damage.
- Inspect outdoor structural components such as skylights, chimneys, vents, decking, fascia and drains. Determine if there is any visible damage and or any missing or damaged mechanisms.
- Be sure look under the overhangs for any peeling paint.
- Examine the roof itself. Detect any obvious visible damage such as deformations, standing water, any sort of debris, and clogged or broken gutters and down spouts.
- Note any missing, broken or buckling shingles.
- Investigate the caulking for any cracks or rust spots on the flashing.
- Look for cracks around vents.
Tips for roof types:
Determine if you have a sloped roof, or a flat roof.
- On sloped roofs, determine if you have asphalt, metal, wood shakes and shingles, tile or slate.
- Asphalt shingles in need of replacement will display granular loss, bending and curling.
- Metal roofs are susceptible to corrosion. Look for any visible damage, as well bent or loose panels. These panels should fit uniformly, and be water-tight.
- Inspect wood shakes for signs of warping, mold, mildew, moss, and rot. It is important to note that these signs can also cause the roof to be extremely slick and should not be walked on.
- Tiles and slates should be examined for breaks, chips and cracks. Ideally, tiles and slates should be smooth to the touch.
- When inspecting indoors, note that the location of the damage typically does not point to the origination of the leak on a sloped roof.
- Look for the most common problem with flat roofs, which is standing water.
- Identify any leaks.
- Inspect the surface for ponding, granular loss, holes and blisters.
- Identify and remove any blockages to down spouts.
- Inspect flashings and membrane seams for any corrosion and or fungus.
Preventative measures and things to be aware of with all roofs:
- Keep down spouts and gutters free of debris, otherwise water will accumulate and cause leaks, mold, mildew, and rot.
- Inspect trees around your home and remove any problematic branches.
- Research local wildlife; animals can wreak havoc on your roof. Squirrels, raccoons, mice, bats, and birds (especially wood peckers) can damage the roof when foraging for food or searching for shelter. For example, birds will hunt for insects under shingles.
Though this roof repair checklist is comprehensive, it can never replace the value of a professional roof inspection. Knowledgeable roofers can identify the tiniest of roof problems, which always lead to more expensive repairs if left unchecked. Furthermore, a qualified roofing professional is trained to identify potential or existing problems that are often missed by a lay person.
Below please find other helpful roofing related articles:
- 4 things to look for in a home improvement contractor
- 6 things that could go wrong if you don't replace your aging roof
- Avoid costly roof repairs with proactive roofing maintenance
At BRAX Roofing, we specialize in providing first-rate exterior home service to our valued customers. Contact us today for a free estimate, and learn more about how we can save you money and extend the life of your valuable roof.