There are many things to consider when evaluating your roof. You should inspect the roof on an annual basis, especially if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions. Finding a little problem area early can mean getting ahead of a costly roof repair down the line.

When inspecting your roof you can do it yourself, or hire a professional. If you choose to inspect the roof yourself, it is important to always utilize proper safety equipment to prevent falls or injury.

1. Warning Signals

If you see any of these signs, pay attention, because your roof is telling you it needs some TLC:

  • Leaks in the attic after a hard rain
  • Blistering or peeling of outside paint
  • Stains, mold or mildew growth on interior ceilings and/or walls
  • Roof shingle, sheathing and/or siding decay
  • Missing, cracked or curled shingles

2. Look for Signs of Damage

There are several ways that roof damage can manifest. Here are some things to look for when performing your inspection:

  • Check flashings for damage or inadequate coverage
  • Look under eaves and overhangs for damage
  • Examine shingle integrity, if they are torn or warped that is a sign of damge
  • Any open seams or joints
  • Popped, rusted nails
  • Stains around nails
  • Signs of insects or rodent infestation
  • Sagging or unsound areas
  • Rotten fascia and eaves
  • Sources of roof ventilation to make sure they are unclogged
  • Inspect gutters for sagging or signs of leaks remove any leaves or debris
  • Dark patches or biological growth
  • Check around pipes and roof penetrations to make sure they are sealed and in good shape you should not see any exposed nails around flashings
  • Dark spots, holes or sagging sheathing in the attic

3. Other Areas of Concern

So far, we have only talked about the more obvious places to look for problems. Be sure not to forget some of the more obscure places on your roof:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashings
  • Cracked or worn rubber boots around vent pipes
  • Missing or damaged chimney caps
  • Masses of moss or lichen—a sign that the roof is decaying underneath
  • Piles of colored grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters

4. Don’t Forget About the Insulation

Poor insulation can be just as bad as a low quality-roofing installation. When looking at your insulation, here’s what to look for:

  • Formation of ice on lower areas of your roof
  • Is your ceiling insulation made of a continuous vapor barrier and insulating materials providing an R-factor (measure of thermal resistance) of 30 or more?
  • Airtight vapor barrier
  • Sealed holes for pipes and cables

5. Keep That Air Circulating

Ventilation allows air to circulate under the roof, reducing snowmelt and the risk of ice accumulation on the lower portions of your roof. Look for the following:

  • Air temperature in summer—is it unbearably hot?
  • Damp or compressed insulation
  • Dry rot
  • Soffit intake vents are not blocked by insulation

A roof evaluation can take some time and expertise, which is why working with a professional can be beneficial. After a professional roof evaluation you should receive a full report with suggested improvements, if necessary.


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