What You Should Know Before Attempting a DIY Roof Inspection
Homeowners can regularly check their own roofs to find any maintenance issues or areas in need of repair. However, there are several things to be aware of before getting started.
The most important thing with any DIY project is making sure safety is always in the forefront of your mind. It’s always critical to perform roof inspections safely.
If you do the roof inspection yourself, be sure to follow these precautions:
- Make sure the ladder is stable on even, solid ground
- Have someone hold the ladder while you climb up
- Always inform someone that you’re going to be on your roof and for how long
- Avoid inspections when the roof is wet
- Move slowly
Most importantly, know your limits. If you feel uncomfortable going up on your roof, don’t put yourself at risk of injury. Find a qualified contractor to perform the inspection for you.
Main Causes of Concern
Some roofing problems are easy to spot, even by the non-professional. An inspection can easily be done in less than an hour. It’s a great way to spot damage, make note of necessary repairs, and notice any flaws in previous workmanship. Hopefully, you will be able to act before (or as) problems occur, allowing you to extend the life of your roof and prevent serious problems.
Be on the lookout for misshapen shingles that are curling or blistering, or missing and broken shingles. All of these damaged shingles will have to be replaced.
Inspect your gutters for excessive grit. Piles of grit-like material may be coming from your shingles, which is a sign they’re in need of replacement. Shingle granules protect your roof from strong ultraviolet rays, and if they’re coming off in great amounts your roof can soon be compromised.
If your roof is outfitted with a single-ply system, look for open seams, tenting, and billowing. These damages allow for moisture penetration, and if left untreated, can cause structural problems.
While metal roofs are extremely durable, they are still susceptible to damage. Keep an eye out for corrosion, gapping seams in the panels, and signs for pitting. These issues could easily lead to leaks or underlay damage.
Soft spots might indicate worn or damaged plywood underneath your roof. If this is the case, the wood should be replaced, as compromised underlayers can quickly cause serious problems.
Moss or Other Organic Debris
The growth of moss or lichen on the roof could indicate moisture accumulation and rotted wood under your shingles.
Check the Weather
Don’t perform a roof inspection if your roof is wet and slippery. Check the weather before you venture up on your roof. Try and perform the inspection on a warm, sunny day.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Before climbing that ladder, make a list of the materials you want to bring up on the roof with you. Attach useful tools, like a hammer, crowbar, sealant, and nails on a tool belt before climbing up to your roof. It can be very frustrating getting all the way up on your roof and realizing you're missing a critical tool.
Learn more about replacing and repairing your roof:
What to Expect from Professional Roof Inspections
If you decide to hire a professional to handle the roof inspection, most contractors will look for leaks, damage caused by storms, organic growth (such as moss), workmanship errors, and unusual wear and tear.
A thorough inspection should be broken down into four parts:
The structural component consists of inspecting the soffit, fascia, gutter systems, and checking for uneven roof planes and signs of dipping or sagging. The contractor may also check your attic ventilation.
At this stage, the contractor will look closely for signs of shingle degradation like a build-up of granules in downspouts or gutters, curling shingles, rust, and missing flashing or fasteners.
Having a contractor check the ceilings, attic, and walls for water stains and mold is a crucial part of any inspection. These are signs of severe water damage to your home and should be treated immediately.
A thorough contractor will inspect common areas of workmanship-related concern, such as incorrect flashing around vent pipes, skylights, and chimneys.