To keep your roof in the best possible shape and avoid problems that require expensive roof repair, it is important to schedule periodic inspections with a roof company every few years. Between these visits, you can do your own inspections, as long as you know what to look for.
Make regular inspections a part of your normal roof maintenance schedule so that you can discover problems as they develop and get them repaired right away.
Start Roof Inspections Inside the House
Before you climb a ladder to look at the exterior of your house, go up into the attic and begin your roof maintenance inspection there. This is where you are most likely to see evidence of the following problems that may be affecting your structure and may require repair:
- Evidence of Leaks - Look for water stains in the attic and on the ceiling of the upper floor of your home. Even though you may not see an active leak, evidence of water stains, damage to the sheet rock, wet or moldy insulation and other signs of water mean two things: either water is getting in from somewhere or there is a ventilation problem causing condensation.
- Damp or Rotting Beams - Inspect the trusses, rafters, and decking. Look for water stains and damp wood. Check for wood rot by putting the end of a screwdriver into suspect areas. If the wood is soft or pieces break off, the beam may be rotting due to the presence of moisture. Call a roof company immediately to come inspect the problem and determine the cause and extent of the damage.
- Daylight Shining Through - Turn off all lights in the attic and look for areas where the sunlight shines through from the outside. Any perforations in external materials make the entire roof, both inside and out, susceptible to leaks and the extensive damage they can cause. Arrange for a roof repair as soon as possible if you see light from inside your attic.
Continue Roof Inspection Outside the House
After going through the attic, go outside with a ladder and a pair of binoculars and begin your search for external concerns by looking for the following:
- Missing or Damaged Shingles/Panels - Thoroughly inspect the surface of your roof looking for missing, broken, curled, or bubbled shingles. If you have a metal installation, look for places where the fasteners may be loosened or the seams are damaged or not sealed. Pay attention to any area that looks out of the ordinary and where materials do not lie flat and close as they should.
- Missing or Damaged Flashing or Gutters - While you are inspecting the roofing material, look at all flashing and seals around vents, skylights, and other protrusions. If flashing looks loose or is missing, a call to your roof company is necessary so it can be replaced or repaired. Missing or damaged flashing is a prime cause of damaging leaks that can go undiscovered for a long time. Finish by inspecting the gutters to ensure they are in good condition, clean, and functioning properly.
- Moss, Algae, and Mold - Look for moss, mold, and other growth on your roof. If you notice mold and other vegetative growth, make periodic cleaning a part of your roof maintenance to prevent the decomposition of shingles.
The key to ensuring a full service life from your roof is providing all necessary roof maintenance and performing routine inspections to look for problems. While it is still suggested that you hire a professional roof company for some inspections, you can easily perform your own in-between inspections if you know what to look for. In doing so, you will be alert to new problems as they appear so you can schedule a roof repair right away!