How often do you look at your roof? You run in and out of the house, shuttle the kids back and forth, and glance up at the roofline only occasionally as you back out of the driveway. Inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can help prevent costly repairs down the road, and keep those raindrops from falling on your head! There's another benefit, too- keeping your roof in good condition will be a big plus if you decide to sell your home.
Take it from the top
So, what should you look for when inspecting your roof? The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends you do a roof inspection at least two times a year - Spring and Fall. The best place to begin is inside your house -- grab a flashlight and make a trip to the attic.
Here are four things to look for on the inside:
Places where the roof deck is sagging
Signs of water damage or leaking
Dark spots and trails
Outside light showing through the roof.
Exterior check: When you take a look at the exterior of the roof, pay attention to such things as damaged flashing, missing shingles, curling, blistering, buckling, rotting and algae growth (dark or greenish stains).
What to check on the outside:
Visually inspect your roof for cracked, torn or missing shingles.
Scan the roof for loose material or wear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations.
Watch out for an excessive amount of shingle granules (they look like large grains of sand) in the gutters. This is a sign of advanced wear.
Check for signs of moisture, rot or mold. Note that wet spots may not be directly under your faulty shingle; water can travel down to its lowest spot before it drips. Mold, fungi, and bacteria can grow quickly.
Examine the drainage, and make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached. Also, ensure all drains are open and allow water to exit, and all gutters and downspouts are free of debris.
Check that all bath, kitchen and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just into the attic space.
What to do Next?
If you find any suspicious or questionable areas, Contact a licensed roofing contractor to find out what they think needs to be done and to get an estimate.
Start now - before you have no choice
Don't wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home by way of a leaky roof. Start protecting your home by using some simple observation skills. If you find problems, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace your roof. Many repairs can be made before a major rebuild is necessary. If you do need a new roof, be aware that this isn't an average "do it yourself" type of project. It's tough work -- especially if you're taking off the old roof and can be dangerous. (Roofs slope and are up high!)
It's all looking up
Most people list "Having a roof over my head" as one of life's essentials and there's a reason for that. It's not just a matter of practicality or aesthetics (though both of those play a part). Your roof is what keeps you and your family safe from the sun and snow, lightning and rain. So cozy up with the knowledge that once your roof is in tip-top shape, it will stay that way for years to come.