When is it time to inspect your roof? If your roof is between five and ten years old it should be inspected yearly, although it doesn't hurt to inspect it more often than that. After severe storms or high winds is a great time to take a quick look. Any roof older than ten years should be inspected quarterly, along with a professional inspection from a roofing contractor once a year.
It may seem like a lot of hassle, but a compromised roof can damage a lot of other things, too. Along with the insulation in your attic, the sheet rock in your ceiling, your attic-mounted furnace and even the lumber holding that roof over your head could be at risk. It’s a small investment of your time to ensure that your home remains safe and mold-free. Follow this checklist based on asphalt shingles as you go around your house, completing one whole side before moving to the next.
What to look for from the ground:
Fascia The Fascia is the band that is visible under the roofs edging. Check the fascia for signs of rot or water damage, including soft spots, green algae or places where the board is starting to come apart. If you notice that the fascia seems to be pulling off of your house, take a closer look for rot or damage before proceeding. This may call for expert help. Before you use a ladder make sure that you utilize the binoculars to make sure that the fascia is intact and in good enough shape to lean the ladder up against it.
Soffit The underside of an architectural structure such as an arch, balcony or overhanging eaves is referred to as the soffit. Your soffit keeps critters out and lets just enough air in for proper ventilation. If screens are torn or vents are blocked, this is a good time to clean them out. If you notice further damage it might be time to start searching for a replacement.
Gutters Although they’re not really part of the roof, the gutters are a roof accessory. It is important to make sure your gutters are also looking good while you’re checking the roof. Sagging or signs of separation are signs that your gutters need further examination.
Drip Edge In the space where your shingles stop and the open air begin, there’s a thin strip of metal called the drip edge. The drip edge moves water away from the shingles and away from the fascia. It is possible that you may not be able to see the drip edge from the ground if you have gutters, but if you can see it check to make sure that it is not bent, broken, or rusted.
Shingles Aging and damage are typically very noticeable when it come to shingles. Shingles are more or less okay unless they’re torn off, curling up, missing grit or growing moss. If you have a lighter colored roof and notice black streaky stuff on your shingles there is no need to worry. This is a harmless algae that will grow on shingles that aren’t algae resistant especially if there is a tree hanging above your home.
Flashing This is a material that is used over any joints in the roof. It is typically aluminum or a galvanized steel. Metal flashing is used to protect against leaks around a chimney or even where your roof creates a valley. Check to make sure that it’s not rusted or oxidizing and that any tar looks like it’s still healthy, not dried out. Rust is rust colored, irregular and almost stone-like, oxidation is white and powdery.
Chimney Since you have your binoculars out, go ahead and check any masonry chimneys you have. Just make sure all the chinking (the filling, if you will, between the bricks) is intact and the bricks are whole and where they should be. If any brick faces are breaking off or the chinking is crumbling, this is cause for concern and a call to a brick mason sooner rather than later.
Safety First It is very important that everyone is safe while inspecting their roof. Walking around on the roof is very dangerous, even if you are a professional. Experienced roofers wear all different types of safety gear, but we recommend that you don’t set foot on the roof at all. You should need no more than a tall ladder and a pair of binoculars. If your fascia isn't intact try using a six foot step ladder instead. Remember when using a ladder you should always have someone there to help keep it stabilized or call for help if you were to fall.
On the Ladder Everything you check from the ground is checked again on the ladder, being on the ladder will just make it easier to see the details, to help you further inspect your roof and decide if a professional is needed.
We hope that these tips will help guide you through your next roof inspection.