Are you worried about inspecting your roof before giving it a good cleaning? If so, you’ve got plenty of reasons to be. Whether you live in Houston or Dallas or anywhere else in the United States, high winds and rain are among the worst headaches of the average homeowner. But if you want your roof to last a long time and look great, a roof inspection is vital.
A roof inspection isn’t like a paint job; it’s much more extensive. When you first notice a leak, it’s usually small. Over time, leaks grow and expand, sending water in all directions. If you have missing shingles, broken gutter threads, or other signs of trouble, it’s time to take a look at your roof.
Start at the top. Take a look at the highest point in your home: your roof. If you can see your gutters, there’s a leak somewhere above them. If you can’t see them, look to your roofing shingles. Broken or missing shingles is a sign of structural integrity issues that should be inspected immediately.
Roofing systems are usually checked once a year by the National Roofing Contractors Association, but it never hurts to run one more time just in case. You may find some things you didn’t think were as prevalent as you thought they were. Newer roofing systems, including chimney caps, underlayment, and insulation, as well as newly installed roofs are checked during the Rising Season.
While you’re doing your roof inspection, take note of where the leaks are occurring. The National Roofing Contractors Association says that most leaks, which it defines as “the accumulation of water beneath the roof surface,” start between the fascia and flashings. Flashings are metal flashings or trusses that attach the roof to the fascia. Loose spots are where water can accumulate. Most roof inspectors follow the National Roofing Contractors Association rule of checking for loose flashing and loose trusses first.
After the inspection, if necessary, repairs are made. Some roof inspections will recommend a full structural examination, whereas others don’t. For instance, roof inspections done by a building code inspector won’t indicate a crack in the fascia that could allow water to collect and won’t indicate an existing missing shingle because such a small repair would be obvious. A roofing contractor is trained to notice any defects and make necessary repairs, and this type of inspection will help both parties. If you have noticed a crack, missing shingle and other problems with the roof, it’s probably best to have repairs done immediately rather than waiting to see if the problem grows or becomes worse.
In the end, the most important thing about an inspection is to ensure that it is thorough. It doesn’t matter if you do the inspection yourself or pay a roofing contractor to do it, the fact that you got everything in writing means you’ll know what to do next. Take pictures, get information on repairs and replacements, and follow up with the inspector. The inspection process ensures that your roof is in safe condition long into the future.
In addition to the roofing inspection, roofers should also inspect gutters and downspouts for deterioration. Again, this is not something that a home inspector would ever do, so it’s important to let the roofer know what you’re doing. A qualified roofer will be able to recommend repairs, but it’s good to let the roofer know what problems you’ve found to ensure that the recommended repairs are complete.
Also, inspect attic insulation, which is made of paper or felt. When temperatures drop, such as during the winter, ice dams may form in the attic. If the roofer has access to the attic without opening the door, he can inspect the insulation for leaks. In some cases, where the attic is attached to the house, the attic insulation can be replaced with drywall or foam board. Inspectors can also inspect the connection points between rafters to check for damage and identify areas for repair or removal of flashing.
Homeowners should also be on the lookout for water damage signs from leaking pipes or faulty water heaters. For instance, in the case of a damaged boiler, the homeowner should take his or her water heater to a local repair shop. Homeowners need to have their roofs inspected since they are exposed to increased risk for leaks and other roofing problems. Homeowners should also be aware of the damage caused by falling trees, bricks, or other debris that may cause roof damage. These items may be picked up and tossed during storms, causing additional problems for the roof. The homeowner should also be on the lookout for signs of animals damaging the roof, such as sawdust from raccoons moving through the roof or mud from birds using skylights to get into the house.