Believe it or not, the average roof protects your home from damage for about 20 years. But they can only do that if you stay on top of regular maintenance and fix minor damage as soon as you catch it.
For most homeowners, identifying those minor issues can be almost impossible. After all, you don’t get up on your roof every week to monitor its appearance.
The Profile of the Roof
You can tell a lot about the roof from the way it looks on the ground. And this is often where the roof inspection starts.
They’ll check the slope and profile, making sure the lines make sense for the home. Ideally, the peaks of the roof should be parallel with the ground and show no signs of warping.
The sides of the roof should also be uniform and the materials shouldn’t bubble or look warped when you walk around the house.
If they are, it’s a surefire sign of roof damage. You’ll want to get the problems fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll face far more costly repairs in the future and could compromise the structure and safety of your home.
Inspect the Roofing Materials
Once the roof inspector checks the roofline, they’ll take a closer look at the materials themselves. With metal roofs, they’ll check for dents, rust, and weak spots that could allow water to get between the materials and the sub-roofing.
With asphalt shingles, they’ll look for cracks, warping, and bare patches. Even a single missing or loose shingle can increase your risk of leaks and water damage.
If the materials look damaged or worn, the roofer may have a few repairs in mind. But if the materials are old and doing a poor job of protecting your house from the elements, a full roof replacement may be the better option.
Monitor Flashing for Rust and Cracks
Roof flashing is a thin strip of metal that covers the seams on your roof. Typically, it’s mounted around the chimney, but it’s also used around skylights, vents, and any other protrusion that could expose your roof to water.
When it’s in good condition, it sits flush against the roofing materials and creates a watertight barrier. But when it’s rusted or warped, it needs to get replaced as soon as possible.
Rust, warps, and cracks are all signs that water gets trapped between the flashing and your roof. If it’s allowed to continue, you could start to see visible leaks inside the home.
Check the Gutters
Your home’s gutters are one of the best ways to reduce your risk of roof leaks. When they work properly, rain hits the roof and falls down the roofline into the gutters. From there, the water gets sent to a designated drainage area away from the house.
But if the gutters look bent, are starting to pulling away, or have tons of debris in the channel, the water won’t go where it’s supposed to. Instead, it will soak into the siding and the base of the roof, putting your home at risk for leaks or mold.
If they notice a problem, get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Attic Insulation and Ventilation
A comprehensive roof inspection also requires inspecting the inside of your house. And the first place your roofer will look is the attic.
They’ll check to make sure the insulation levels are appropriate and that the insulation itself is in good condition. The inspector will also check for signs of pests and unwanted critters as they can increase your risk of leaks and roof damage.
If everything looks to be in good shape, they’ll make sure the attic gets enough air flow and ventilation. They do this by making sure the support structure of the roof looks as good as it did when it was new.
If the wood looks warped or the attic feels overly humid, there’s likely a ventilation issue. The longer it’s allowed to sit, the more damaged the attic will get. Pay attention to their suggestions, and take care of any repairs as soon as you can.
Check for Mold and Rot
The attic is often the warmest place in the house. And even if the insulation is in good shape, excess moisture can still do damage to the structure.
Your roofer will check the attic for signs of mold and mildew growth and check the wood for signs of rot and deterioration. If they find any issues, they’ll do a more in-depth inspection to find the source of the moisture.
Once they do, they’ll recommend repairs that you’ll need to take care of as soon as possible. Remember, mold can lead to numerous health problems, and the sooner you fix the damage and get the mold removed, the safer your house will be.
Overall Installation Quality
Once your inspector finishes looking at the interior and exterior of your home, they’ll have an idea of the roof’s condition. But they’ll also be able to see whether the roof was properly installed.
If not, you may have more extensive repairs ahead. If you take care of those repairs before it causes permanent damage, they’ll be easier and more affordable. But if you wait until you notice roof leaks, the damage will be more severe.
If the roofer has concerns about the installation quality, listen to their suggestions. No homeowner wants to deal with unexpected repairs in the future. And following your roofer’s suggestions is the best way to get the most out of your roof.
Use This Roof Inspection Checklist as a Guide
Every roof is different, and every inspection is unique. Use this roof inspection checklist as a guide to prepare your home for the inspection.
Move outdoor furniture so your roofer can access the roof easily, and clear a path to the attic so they can inspect the interior of the roof structure. This will make the inspection easier, faster, and allows them to be more thorough in the process.