Most people take action when there is a noticeable sign of a damaged roof. For example, a spreading moisture stain on the ceiling may encourage a homeowner to call a contractor for an inspection. If you have to place buckets in your attic every time it rains, you’ll probably be making a call to a roof repair professional in the near future. However, many people don’t have their roof inspected at the most opportune time, which is before major damage occurs.
You may not notice that your roof needs maintenance. After all, it’s not exactly at eye level. An experienced roofing professional will be able to detect minor problems before they become bigger issues and recommend repairs to get the most life (and peace of mind) out of your roof.
Roofs Have an Age Limit
Every day, you get older. You expose your body to toxins and sunlight. These things can take a toll on your health. Of course, you can take steps to stay healthy, but you can’t prevent the inevitable.
A roof is quite similar. The roof is baked by UV rays every day. It is exposed to the elements. Every time it rains, hails, sleets or snows, your roof ages a little more. You can’t avoid replacing a roof eventually. However, you can extend its life by getting regular maintenance and repairing seemingly insignificant issues on a regular basis.
When Should You Get Your Roof Inspected?
Your roof should be inspected before your area’s severe weather season. It should be examined afterwards too. If you get a new roof, have it inspected to make sure that everything was installed properly. You may also wish to have a roof inspected if you are selling or buying a home.
The Roof Inspection Process
When a contractor comes out to inspect your roof, the following areas will be visually examined:
- •The structure of the roof
- •Underlayment materials
- •Roof covering materials
During the inspection, the professional will walk along your roof, lifting up shingles at the edges to examine the flashing, underlayment and sheathing. If the inspector cannot access certain areas of the roof for safety reasons, he or she may use a camera.
You can also request a moisture survey. A moisture survey should be conducted periodically to look for damage to roofing materials that is caused in the presence of moisture. During a moisture survey, the insulation may be scanned with an infrared camera. Wet areas transmit heat better than dry areas and will be picked up during the scan.
An inspector may also use a nuclear isotopic meter to count the number of hydrogen ions present in the roof. More ions indicate the possibility of water in the structure. Electrical meters can measure your roof’s ability to conduct electricity. A roof with wet areas will conduct electricity better than a dry one.
The inspector will let you know if any deficiencies were found. The inspector should also be able to estimate the remaining lifespan of the roof and provide you with an inspection certificate.
Below are some things that your contractor will look for when inspecting your roof.
- •Ice dams – Damaged asphalt shingles on the edge of the roof that are caused by the melting and re-freezing of ice and snow on the roof
- •Shingles that buckle – Caused by improper installation
- •Improper layers – Asphalt shingles that are applied in layers that are thicker than recommended can lead to an unnecessarily heavy roof structure.
- •Flashing – If flashing is not properly installed and in good condition, it could create moisture and mold problems.
- •Exposed or absent underlayment – The underlayment material is made of felt. If this is exposed, it can quickly lead to leakage. If there is no underlayment, any moisture that gets in through the roof cover can damage your home.
- •Inadequate roof sheathing – The sheathing that is used on the roof must be approved for this use.
- •Storm damage – Shingles may be removed, cracked, pitted, worn and weathered from damaging weather.
Roof inspections should be done by a roofing professional. General home inspectors do not typically have the training to conduct these types of inspections. You probably do not have the safety equipment necessary to properly inspect your roof either. This job is best left to a professional.
If roof damage isn’t detected or is left untreated, you could end up with moisture problems, structural damage, electrical issues or mold. Regular inspections minimize damage and can prevent you from shelling out your hard-earned money on something that could have been prevented. They can extend the life of your roof and help you stay protected and dry in the safety of your home.