What to Expect from a Roofing Inspection
Has your roof began to show signs of age and neglect? If so, it is probably time to schedule a professional roofing inspection to avoid expensive repairs or major damage to your property. Generally speaking, it is recommended for homeowners to have their roofs inspected once per year, though other situations such as storms or getting your home ready for sale may require more frequent inspections.
You can expect a professional roofer to provide the following services during an inspection:
- Interior inspection: The first thing a roofer will do is inspect the inside of the home for evidence of water intrusion. In some cases, they will check your attic for signs of aging, leaks, mold, and moisture. Any openings in your roof will be identified by looking for streaks of light entering from the outside. Your inspector may also recommend you install insulation if your home does not have it to prevent heat loss.
- Exterior inspection: The next thing that a roofer will do is check the outside of your roof for signs of damage. This will include taking a close look and recording things like missing shingles, leaks, damaged flashing, and cracked caulk. Since improperly walking on your roof can be extremely dangerous and potentially cause damage to your roof’s tiles and seams, it is important you do not attempt to do this yourself.
- Repair estimate: Upon completion of the inspection, the technician servicing your home will prepare an estimate based on the level of damage to your roof, the cost of replacement materials, and labor. If the inspection was requested in relation to a pending real estate sale, both the buying and selling parties are to be presented with a report detailing the condition of the roof, any recommended repairs, and their estimated costs.
Next, they will inspect the roof. Roofers will check the flashing for cracks or any other deterioration. Flashing is a material that’s designed to cover joints or edges where the roof ends and another material begins. This prevents moisture leakage and other flaws. Flashing along dormers, valleys, chimneys, eaves, and side walls don’t last as long as the roof itself. However, because they’re necessary, they should be replaced as soon as they’re damaged, rather than waiting for a roof replacement. Your roof inspector may also recommend flashing that contains zinc or other minerals that help prevent algae growth.
Roof replacement: What a professional looks for
Improper flashing A home should have at least 3 feet of leak barrier. This should be an underlayment specifically designed to repel ice and water (not tar or felt paper, which can cause leaks).
Leaks Typically if you see any leaks or signs of water damage on the ceiling, you most likely have a leak in your roof. It’s also possible that water could not be draining properly due to clogged gutters. With strong winds, you may have seen some of your shingles blow away. This leaves spaces for water to seep into your home and cause damage.
Rot and mold Are there water damage marks or dark spots with trails? Rot and mold can occur when you have constant water exposure to wood rafters.
Structural If your roof deck is sagging or if you can see natural light showing through the roof, a professional roofing contractor should be called in immediately.
What Does a Roof Inspection Entail?
- Walk-Around: Your roofing contractor will most likely begin by doing a walkaround of the property from the ground. He will be able to see worn areas, dry rot, drainage patterns, or any damage to soffits, roof eaves or more. To the trained eye of a professional, damage can often be spotted from this angle.
- Visual Inspection: The roofing professional will next look at the home from the vantage point of a ladder positioned around the roof. Different roofing materials will allow for closer inspection. For instance, your inspector may walk along an asphalt shingle roof, but will only walk on a tile roof if necessary. (as tiles can more easily crack or break.)
- What is the Inspector Looking For? There are several things the roofing inspector will be looking for when on your roof. Cracked or broken tiles may allow water intrusion and should be replaced. When looking at asphalt tiles, the inspector will want to identify shingles which are losing granules, shingles which are curling up at the edges, shingles which are becoming unglued, or areas with missing shingles.
- Additional Areas of Concern: A roof inspection should include checking the gutters for structural integrity and making sure that water flows freely. Any debris should be cleared off the roof, and any overhanging branches removed.
They will perform an exterior roof inspection
While some of the visual inspections performed inside of the home can be done on your own (although a professional will do a much more thorough job), an exterior roof inspection should always be left to a professional. Attempting to inspect the outside of your roof on your own can be very dangerous if you haven’t been properly trained. The following are a few of the things a roof inspector will check for during an exterior roof inspection:
- Improper flashing – Flashing helps prevent water from leaking into open areas on the roof, such as around the chimney or near the vents. The inspector will check the flashing to make sure it’s properly installed and in good condition.
- Shingle condition – The inspector will check the condition of the roofing to make sure that there aren’t any missing, loose, buckling, curling or rotting shingles. Damaged shingles need to be replaced as they leave the roof vulnerable to more damage as well as to water leaks. In some cases, damaged shingles are an indication that the roof needs to be replaced.
- Gutters – In addition to making sure the gutters are in good shape, the inspector will also check to see if there are any shingle granules collecting in the gutters. An excessive amount of loose shingle granules is an indication that the roof’s shingles are wearing down and need to be replaced.
Schedule Your Inspection
How long as it been since your last roof inspection? If you haven’t had your roof inspected in the last six months, what are you waiting for? Regular roof maintenance can save you money in the long run.