Your house is only as strong as its roof. Your roof protects everything in your home—the structure, walls and floors, the furnishings—and you.
When was the last time you checked on the one thing standing between you and the rest of the outside world?
We’re not talking about climbing a ladder and making sure all the shingles are still there (although you should). The check-up we’re discussing today is the professional roof inspection.
Read our guide to what you should know about roof inspections. Afterward, you’ll know whether you’re due to schedule an appointment with a roof inspector.
Warning Signs of a Roof in Need
Your home can provide clues about the condition of your roof. Some clues come from inside, others are noticeable from the outside.
Water leaking from a ceiling on the top level of your home is one clue. Another is dark stains on your ceiling. You may not see or feel water in those areas but streaks and stains on ceilings often indicate a leaky roof.
When you feel unexplained drafts in your home, the culprit is sometimes the roof. A faulty roof can interfere with ventilation and air circulation causing a cool draft in the colder months.
The more obvious signs of a roof in need of attention come from outside.
Loose, missing, buckling or curling shingles. Rusty or loose flashing. Moss growing in large areas on the roof.
You may not notice any clues because some roof issues aren’t easily seen by the untrained eye. That’s why it’s necessary to schedule a routine roof inspection.
Two Types of Roof Inspections
A professional roofing inspection includes an interior and exterior inspection of your roofing system. An exterior inspection includes:
- Condition of Shingles
- Damaged Flashing
- Cracked Caulk
- Evidence of Leaks
When your roof inspector looks on the inside of your home, they take note of any evidence of leaks, starting in the attic. They identify openings in the roof by looking for light coming in where it shouldn’t. Part of the interior inspection also includes a check of the insulation, ventilation, and presence of mold and moisture.
Next, we’ll identify issues often found during inspections and what they could indicate about the condition of your roof.
Condition of Your Shingles
One of the most common materials used to cover the roof deck or sheathing is asphalt shingles.
Shingles are prone to several issues that if ignored can cause the roof deck and structure to suffer damage. An inspection includes making note of missing, loose, or rotting shingles. Shingle problems are often one of the first things noticed by homeowners.
Missing shingles and broken shingles interfere with water drainage. Instead of draining into gutters, water either pools on the roof or runs down the sides of the house.
Missing shingles also expose the felt or tar paper underneath, leaving an opening for water and other elements to get in and damage the roof decking.
In hot climates, you may notice brittle shingles. They break off and sometimes warp or develop curled edges. This not only interferes with drainage, but it also makes the shingle more vulnerable to wind damage.
I Have a Metal Roof
When you have a roof inspection for your metal roof, the inspector still looks for evidence of leaks. They also check for the unique issues of this type of roofing material.
The inspector will check for loose fasteners. Fasteners may loosen over time, especially around the edges of the roof. If not replaced, loose fasteners allow wind to get under the metal, leading to serious damage.
The inspection should also include a check of the plumbing and vent boots. Exposure to heat and sun can cause the silicone sealants to degrade. In addition to the boots already mentioned, you’ll also find vulnerable areas around chimneys and skylights.
The Roof Inspection and Water Damage
Anywhere water can seep in, is an area prone to roof damage. Roof inspectors look specifically for signs of water damage on or around the roof.
Water drainage issues are often due to clogged gutters. Homeowners often forget about the gutter system until they notice water pouring off the side of the house, rather than through a downspout. Your inspector will note visible issues with gutters since they impact the roof.
Water damage is also caused by damaged or missing flashing. One area where an inspector often finds damaged flashing is around the chimney. Damaged chimney flashing can cause water damage to the roof deck and structure.
Mold growing either inside on your attic insulation, or outside around the chimney or directly on the roofing materials is a sign of extreme water damage. If you have mold growing in large patches on your roof, it’s often a clue of serious damage underneath the roofing materials.
What Happens After the Inspection?
After the inspection, the roofing contractor discusses their findings with you.
If they find areas in need of repair, they’ll prepare an estimate. The estimate should include the cost of materials and labor. They may recommend a total roof replacement dependent on the level of damage to the roof.
Once you have a chance to review the findings and any estimate for repairs, you should get on the roofing contractor’s schedule as soon as possible.
Looking for a Qualified Roofing Inspector Near You?
Now that you know what to expect during a roof inspection, it’s a great time to go ahead and schedule one. Most roofing experts recommend an inspection each year. In some climates, you may want an inspection two times a year.
In this climate, your roof bears the brunt of the sun’s heat and UV rays, along with heavy rain and hail. Don’t wait too long to get a look at what’s going on on top of your home.
If you’re ready to have your roof professionally inspected contact us today and we’ll get you on our schedule for an inspection as soon as possible.