Performing a regular roof inspection can help you find problems and can prevent a roof leak. A worn-out roof can lead to safety issues, expensive water damage, poor insulation, and many other issues that will cause more problems (and money!) down the road. That’s why it’s important to regularly inspect your roof, especially after you’ve been affected by any storms or other major weather events.
The US government recommends routine roof inspections twice a year. Here is a simple guide on how to perform a roof inspection. Just remember that your safety always comes first, and it’s always best to leave repairs (or more intensive inspections) to the experts.
Do a walkthrough before your roof inspection
Before you start your roof inspection this article will help you better understand the areas of the roof that usually are problematic and know why my roof only leaks sometimes. Walk around the exterior of your property, to see if you can find any damage from the ground. Some things to look out for are sagging, water stains and other discoloration, cracks, and other signs of breakage, etc.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to spot water damage by other signs: patches of moss and algae indicate high moisture content in the walls, while washed-out soil or piles of leaves can indicate damaged gutters. Even if it’s not a sign of roof problems, these should be fixed right away to prevent other problems like leaks or cracks.
While you won’t see all the damage, this cursory inspection can let you know of any problem areas that need to be checked as soon as possible.
Check the shingles
Broken shingles are the biggest cause of major roof damage, so it’s important to identify problems and correct them before they escalate into more extensive (and expensive) repairs. Check for:
- Broken or missing shingles. These are an eyesore and a safety issue. Replace these right away!
- Early signs of damage. That includes curling or buckling, which are usually caused by hot air from the attics or other severe temperature conditions. Curled or buckled shingles are not only more prone to damage but can lead to poor ventilation.
- Granule loss. This means any changes to the texture and appearance of shingles, and are a sign that your shingles have worn out either through age or weather exposure. Don’t wait for cracks to appear; be proactive and change the shingles as soon as you see any change in texture.
Check the gutters
Gutters redirect rain or melted snow to prevent moisture damage and erosion. Damaged gutters can cause mold, leaks, cracks, rust, or other problems that can affect your home’s appearance, property value, and safety.
That’s why any list on how to perform a roof inspection should include checking the gutters—in fact, professional contractors will often include a report on your gutter guards, underlayments, and the general condition of your gutters.
As homeowners, you’ll need to clear the gutters and look for any damage. This includes:
- Standing water
- Peeling or rot on the walls near the gutters
- Sagging or hanging
- Several cracks
You also need to check the downspouts and any roof overhangs near the gutters. Be on the lookout for open joints and any signs of rotting or decay.
Check the roof flashing during your roof inspection
Roof flashing is a thin, flat material like galvanized steel. It is placed under shingles, or around gutters, chimneys, vents, windows, doors, or any place where the roof hits a vertical surface like a wall.
The flashing prevents water from going into the cracks and openings—and is one of your first lines of defense against roof damage. Check if your flashing is still in good condition, and does not have:
- Rust and corrosion
- Lifting off the roof
- Loose or missing screws
While minor flashing issues can be fixed with roof cement or tightening of screws, more extensive damage may mean that the flashing needs to be replaced. It’s better to call in a professional because improper installation can cause leaks that are far more complicated to fix.
Inspect the attic
If you have an attic, periodically check for signs that water has seeped through the roof. Look for:
- Dark stains. This is an indication of mold or fungi rot.
- White or brown stains. This is an indication of severe decay.
- Moisture levels. If you have a moisture meter, you can also check the moisture content—anything above 27% indicates that mold and fungi can already replicate and start to eat away at your wood. It can also mean that the microorganisms can enter your air supply, and cause allergies and respiratory diseases.
- Loose nails or metal connectors
- Sagging or damaged frames
Inspect the chimney during your roof inspection
No checklist of how to perform a roof inspection is complete without assessing the condition of the chimney, especially if it has a cricket or saddle that would redirect water away from it.
There are many levels of degrees of chimney inspections, and more thorough checks should be done by a trained professional—especially since it requires tools that homeowners are not likely to have on hand.
The first level involves a simple visual check for damage, blocks, and build-up. This will require flashlights, extension poles, and cleaning equipment.
The second level involves checking not just the main chimney but the crawl space, attic, and roof. This is necessary after a major weather event like a hurricane or earthquake, or any extensive renovations to the house, roof, or fireplace.
Where to get a professional roof inspection and repairs in Winston-Salem
While it’s good to know how to perform a roof inspection, it’s much safer and more effective to call in experts to do the job. Benefits include:
- Safety. Unless you have tools and safety gear, climbing up on a roof—especially if it’s slippery from bad weather—can lead to injury.
- Cost-effectiveness. Professionals can do a more thorough check and be able to spot hidden signs of roof damage that are invisible to the untrained eye. You can then prevent roof damage, or repair them in the early stages.
- Precision. Professionals know how to trace the real source of the problem, and can recommend faster and more effective solutions. You won’t waste time or money on “short fixes” that may damage your home’s appearance or structural integrity.
- Insurance claims. Professional roofers can also issue reports that you will need to file homeowners insurance.
You can trust Grace Roofing And Construction LLC to provide fast, efficient, and friendly service even while roofing during the Coronavirus pandemic. We know how to perform a roof inspection for Winston Salem homeowners — and can help fix any problem at a fair price. We have years of experience and dozens of testimonials. Contact us to find out more about roof inspections and other services.