How Often Should I Have My Roof Inspected?
You keep on top of preventative maintenance for your health, your car, and even your kids’ homework—but what about keeping that literal roof over your head in top shape? Sure, Spring cleaning has you sweeping behind the fridge and winter prep might have you checking to see if the water pipes are in good shape, but when’s the last time you had the roof inspected? Roof maintenance is two-fold: One you can do yourself (if only with a pair of binoculars), but this should be complemented with an expert inspection at routine intervals.
When Action is Necessary
For homeowners with colored grit found in places like the gutters, that’s a red flag. It might look like sand, but it means the roof is being exposed to dangerous UV rays. It might be that the roof’s service life is about to expire, and acting quickly may give you a few more years. Any shingles with issues require immediate replacement, and there are some things a handy DIYer can do him or herself, such as nailing back in loose shingles, but for the most part it’s best to leave things to a pro.
In an ideal world, roofs are expertly inspected annually, preferably in the autumn before the wind, rain and snow sets in. Otherwise, it’s recommended to have a new roof inspected after the first five years, then at 10 years, 13, 15, 17, and every year after that. Handymen are truly “handy” for small fixes and can save you a few dollars, but there’s no substitute for a professional, licensed roofer who carries liability insurance and workers compensation on their employees.
The sky is leaking
By the time a roof is actively leaking, it’s probably been damaged for quite awhile. That’s why it’s paramount to keep up with regular inspections. Telltale signs can include dark spots on the ceiling interior, peeling paint near roof overhangs, damp areas by the fireplace, and water stains on the pipes.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Roof replacement can be extremely expensive, and it’s always better to keep up with maintenance rather than waiting for the worst to happen.
When Does Your Roof Need to be Maintained?
When you do your DIY inspection, look for:
- Signs of mould, algae and grime
- Broken tiles
- Chipped, broken or cracked mortar
- Cracked caulking
- Worn or broken seals (“boots”) around vents and other attachments
- Damaged flashing
Mould and grime make the roof look unsightly. More importantly, if left unchecked, algae and mould can damage your roof. They can allow small plants to take root under shingles and tiles. The plants can lift the shingles or tiles and cause leaks. If your roof isn’t clean, have it cleaned. It will look better and last longer.
To be on the safe side, your DIY inspection should also include a ceiling cavity inspection. Look for:
- Discoloured areas that may indicate a leak
- Signs of light
- Compressed bulk insulation may be a sign of a leaking roo
3 TIPS FOR LOCATING ROOF LEAKS
Water can invade a roof due to missing shingles and flashing, rotten decking and gaps around skylights and the chimney. The best way to prevent a roof leak is to routinely inspect your property, especially after a storm.
The following tips can help you locate roof leaks before they get out of hand and cause interior damage.
- Check for damage after a storm
It’s one of the leading causes of roof damage. After a major storm passes, go outside and inspect your home and property. Look for shingles in your yard that might have blown off due to high winds. If you have asphalt shingles, check your downspouts for deposits of granules. They often get knocked off during hail storms and then collect in the gutter system and downspouts.
- Check the attic for water
Take a flashlight into the attic when it’s raining. Since water reflects light, you can shine the flashlight to check for falling water. If you notice any water, mark the spot so that you can follow through with roofing repairs.
- Inspect your ceiling
When a roof leaks, water often collects on your ceiling. If you notice any brown or yellow stains on your ceiling, you have a roof leak.
How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?
Sadly, an often ignored part of the house is the roof. Unless it starts to leak or break apart, you probably won’t notice what’s going on up there. However, regular inspection for potential problems is recommended twice a year according to the National Roofing Contractors Association.
If you are afraid of heights, see if a family member or friend can help. Otherwise, a local roofing contractor can conduct an inspection.
- Loose, cracked or damaged shingles
- Missing shingles
- Mold or rot
- Signs of water damage or leaking
- Holes or dark spots
Consequences of Neglected Roof Damage
Failure to have these roof problems inspected and repaired could result in serious consequences. Short-term, your roof could experience a number of issues, such as leaks, mold growth, increased energy bills due to escaped air, and the introduction of pests and animals into your roofing system. Long-term, the effects of neglecting your roof can be even more substantial. Water damage can become severe, resulting in wood rot that weakens the integrity of your home. Your property value may decrease and the cost of repairs will no doubt increase. The longer you allow your roof to sit untouched, the more dangerous it will be for workers when it is time to make repairs.