Apart from the aesthetics a roof brings to your home, the major role a roof plays is to serve as the first line of defence against extreme weather – heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, snowstorms, hail and high winds that happen from time to time. Most homeowners place a lot of faith in their roof and never think on a roof inspection or maintenance until they see a leak on the ceiling. It is critical not to underestimate the importance of roof maintenance starting with an annual check-up for your home.
This helps prevent unwanted structural problems, mould growth or loose shingles which can lead to larger unwanted and costly problems. Better to be safe than sorry. Where you have major structural roofing problems, they have to be addressed immediately otherwise you and your property are at risk. Roof inspections are a cheaper and safer way of identifying any issues at an early stage so that they can be dealt with before they become more complex and costly. For instance, if your roof shingles are becoming lose, they can be tightened rather than waiting for them to fall off and crack which means they need to be replaced.
When to schedule roof inspection
From our years of experience in the industry, the best time to schedule professional roof inspections is in the fall just before winter. Timing is extremely important when assessing your roof’s health. When the weather is very cold or icy, roof installations and repairs can be challenging. Icy roofs can be slippery and difficult to navigate therefore roof problems identified in winter may have to wait until spring to be repaired. In addition, some roof repairs may take longer so identifying them early gives enough time to work on them before winter sets in.
Types of Roof Inspections
There are two major types of roof inspections – homeowner inspections and professional inspections.
Homeowner inspections are advised to check their roof regularly and especially immediately after extreme weather events like thunderstorms or heavy rainfall. Homeowners can easily spot missing or flapping shingles without the need to climb to top of the roof. They may not identify the more complex issues which is why having a professional inspection is critical.
Professional inspections involve getting qualified and experienced roofers to inspect your roof. Unlike a homeowner inspection which may involve walking around the building and standing a strategic position to look at the roof, a professional will also use a ladder or other equipment to climb to the top of the roof. They can spot damage like loose shingles or roof tiles and other problems which the untrained eye is incapable of seeing.
If your roof is less than 5 years with no signs of interior leaks then you can get by with a visual inspection however if your roof is more than 10 years then seasonal inspections by a trained professional is the way to go. Some companies offer affordable annual roof inspection packages which saves time and money in the long run.
Signs of a good professional inspection
An experienced and good roofer will be looking out for leaks, damage caused by strong winds or storms, unusual wear and tear, organic growth issues as well as possible installation or repair mistakes. A professional inspection consists of 4 major items – materials, structure, interiors, and quality of workmanship.
Material Inspection: the roof inspector will be looking for loose or missing tiles and shingles, moss, rust, stains, missing flashing, or fasteners. The inspector will also look out for cracked tiles and the condition of the roofing material as it has been battered by rain, snow, storms, and hail. It is an opportunity to see if the material needs to be replaced or if it can still last a few more years. They will also have a look at the rubber and seals around the vent to see if they are secure.
Structure Inspection: This involves looking at the gutters, soffits, fascia around the roof structure. In addition, the inspector will be looking for uneven roof planes and any signs of sagging. For flat roofs, areas around the skylight lantern should be looked at. Also, the areas around the chimney should be inspected. For pitched roofs, the attic ventilation will be inspected to see if there is a build-up of heat and moisture which can lead to long term damage to the roof.
Interiors: the inspector will look at the ceiling for dark spots, patches, or water stains. They will also check the walls, interior walls, attic and if there is mould or rot which may be signs there is a leak. A leak can have a fatal impact on your property.
Quality of Workmanship: a good inspector will also look at the roof installation and roof repair work that has been previously done. They will look out for incorrect flashing around roof penetrations including vent pipes, skylights, and chimneys. There will be a thorough inspection to identify issues that may lead to leaks or roof damage in the future.
When the roof inspection is completed, you should be given a report which will highlight what is good about the roof and areas that require urgent attention. It is advisable to schedule works for the areas that need urgent attention as a way of mitigating major damage to your roof or future problems.