Roofing spot checks can be performed by you, the homeowner, twice per year – once in spring after the snow disappears, and once in fall before it reappears. This article contains an easy and fun do-it-yourself inspection. It also acquaints you with the single most important shield between you and the elements, your roof. However, if you are uncomfortable with ladders or heights, or if the roof or ladder is slippery or unstable, please contact us and let professional roofers do your bi-annual inspection for you.
Performing twice-yearly roof inspections can extend the life of your roof by as much as five to eight years. A spring spot-check gives you the opportunity to book in repairs at appropriate times, as some roofing repairs require warm temperatures, while others should be initiated with fall’s cooler weather. Inspecting your roof again in the fall can catch damage made by summer’s high temperatures and storms, giving you enough time for repairs before winter. Keeping an eye on your roof during these crucial times ensures that your roof has “got you covered” for both the summer storm and winter snow seasons.
If you are a keen do-it-yourselfer, use the listing below to help you spot-check key areas of your roof. As you inspect these items, give them a rating. Use Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor as a simple and effective scoring system. Excellent is a rating for something that looks to be brand new, usually a grade given to roof features that are less than three years old. A Good rating means you see minor wear, but the item needs no attention. Fair indicates that the item should be scheduled in for professional attention and repair. Give a Poor grade if something needs immediate or emergency attention. Note the location of any roof features you give a Fair or Poor grade to.
As you inspect your shingles, look for stains (which could indicate mold, mildew or fungus), rot, as well as moisture pooling/sponginess (signifying the location of a possible water leak). In addition, look for shingles that are broken, cracked, torn, loose, worn, missing, sagging, warped, pockmarked, blistered, or without UV protection granules.
Sealants come in various forms, such as tar, rubber, concrete, silicone, caulking or paint. Look for cracks, crumbling, and other signs of deterioration. If your roof has been patched in places, inspect those closely for breaks in contact between the patch and your roof.
Roof flashing is usually made of galvanized steel or other thin material. It directs water away from vertical roof features such as chimneys, vents, skylights, walls or dormers. Inspect flashing for holes, rust and corrosion. Also make sure it’s tightly fastened.
Your eavestroughs mitigate water so it flows around your home and away from it. Scoop leaves, gravel, twigs and other debris from your gutters. If you notice a large amount of black tar, or grain-like UV granules, this is an indication that your roof is experiencing advanced wear and might need imminent replacement. Once your eavestroughs are cleared, rinse them by directing water from your hose towards the downspout. Ensure that the water is flowing briskly down the spout and away from your home, not sagging, pooling or leaking anywhere. Once clean, make sure all gutters are securely fastened, not missing any nails.
Chimney and Other Roof Structures
Check that the chimney and other roof structures are strong and well-supported. Seals and mortar joints should look to be in good shape. Bricks shouldn’t be cracked or crumbling. Remove leaves and twigs that could pose a fire hazard. Check for loose or rusted flashing at the base of your chimney or other pipes, vents and other rooftop components. Also ensure that pipes, intake vents, and mechanisms such as AC units are strongly secured to the roof. Look for signs of nibbling, as squirrels and other creatures often find a way into your home through your roof.
Reduce the risk of a branch crashing onto your roof in a storm by trimming back any branches. Branches rubbing on your roof create wear spots or rot and can squeak when you’re trying to sleep at night. Animals, like rodents and insects, might enjoy the access a branch to your roof creates, and decide to make a home under your soffits or in your warm attic. Decrease that risk by trimming branches back.
The Big Picture
While up on the roof, look at your roof from a wide-angle perspective. View the planes of your roof and how it lays. Is it flat and uniform? Or does it have dips and valleys? If your rooftop looks uneven in any way, it could mean that you have sagging trusses or that the plywood under your shingles is buckling. If you notice this, call your roofing professional immediately.
Bring a flashlight to inspect your attic. Check the walls, roof, insulation and structural beams for the usual suspects – moisture, damage, discolouration and rot. Note if the roof deck is sagging downwards instead of strong and flat. In a dark attic with the flashlight off, look for outdoor light shining into your attic. Those beams of light indicate holes where water, ice and snow can enter. Inside the living space of your home look to the walls, ceilings, and skylights. Keep your eyes trained to spot mold, wetness, sweating, brown rings and trails, signifying a roof leak.
After Inclement Weather
Storms can undermine a roof’s integrity. After any extreme weather event, winter or summer, get out your binoculars after a storm and look for damage. Follow the guidelines in our other blog articles High Winds and Your Roof or Hail Damage.
Annual Maintenance & Repair Based on your inspection scores, book an appointment or create an annual roof maintenance schedule with a reputable roofing contractor. You’ll save money by catching leaks and damage early, protecting your investment.