Why do I need a roof inspection?

shingle roofing with chalk circles indicating storm damage

What do roof inspectors look for?

There are several reasons for a roof inspection. Typically, the need for a roof inspection for insurance purposes. Other reasons would be after a round of foul weather for a roof inspection and repair, getting quotes on a new roof, or the routine roof maintenance, roof inspection, and gutter cleaning. They also require a roof inspection is also during the process of buying and selling a house.

A professional roof inspector would do a roof inspection for one of two reasons:  You’ve filed an insurance claim, or you’re selling your house and have a prospective buyer. So, what should you expect a roof inspector to be looking for? The first thing they look for are leaks, organic growth such as algae, lichen, and moss. They look for any signs of unusual wear and tear or damage from windblown debris. There are four facets covered in a professional roof inspection:

  • Structural: A roof inspection is looking for signs of sagging and uneven roof planes. The fascia, gutter system, and soffit are inspected as is the chimney for chimney caps are in excellent condition and in place, and cracks or crumbling grout in the masonry. The roof inspection will also include time in the attic to check the venting is adequate and working.
  • Material: This part of a roof inspection is to look at the shingles. Are there any curled, damaged, loose, or missing? They look for algae, lichen, moss, rust, or stains and missing fasteners or flashing. The roof inspection will include checking for aggregate in the roof valleys, gutters, and on the ground, and checking for any deterioration or gaps at the rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Interior: Because a roof leak will ultimately damage the interior, a roof inspection includes checking the attic, ceilings, and walls for water damage and stains. This includes looking for any mold or rot that a roof leak could cause.
  • Workmanship: A thorough roof inspection will include checking the workmanship of the roof install like flashing installed wrong around all roof penetrations like the chimney, skylights, and vent pipes. 

How do you perform a roof inspection?

A roof inspection checklist should include the following areas:

  1. The roof covering – does it provide a barrier against the weather?
  2. The fasteners – roofing nails should be corrosion resistant and driven straight so they are flush and snug without going too far in.
  3. The decking and underlayment – is it properly installed?
  4. The slope – is the layer of roof protection adequate for the degree of the slope and is there water and ice-dam protection?
  5. Ice barrier – this should be at least 24 inches inside the building’s exterior wall.
  6. Drip edge – should be a metal material that is installed at the eaves and rake.
  7. Offset pattern – is the offset pattern in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines for shingle installation?
  8. Roof valley flashing – are the shingles lapped on both sides of the valley and meet the minimum width?
  9. Nail penetration in decking – are the nails long enough to penetrate the decking without going through the shingles?
  10. Flashing – are all areas that required flashing in place? The penetration flashing, vertical surface flashing, skylight flashing, and steep to slope transition?

With these ten roof inspections points covered, any damages or irregularities can be spotted, and repairs or replacement scheduled. Or in the case of buying/selling a house, this is often a point of negotiation on pricing.

When should I get the roof inspected?

Your life is full of preventative maintenance. From your car to your health to dental visits for the kids, and then there is your home. Preventive maintenance there includes changing the smoke alarm batteries, HVAC filter, and the roof. Yes, a roof inspection is needed for preventive maintenance too.

In the perfect roof inspection world, a professional does a roof inspection annually, typically early fall. At the minimum, a roof inspection should take place five years after a new roof is installed, and then subsequent roof inspections should take place at a 10-year anniversary, then 13 years and 15 years. After the 17th year, it will be time to get quotes for a new roof, because it will have maybe three more years of life expectancy.

What is considered roof damage?

If you have any of the following, you need to have a professional roof inspection soon:

  1. Water Damage – Roof leaks are often apparent on the interior of your home with water stains on the ceiling and walls. In the attic, you may find moldy areas or water spots on the rafters
  2. Shingles – Curled, loose, or missing shingles.
  3. Fascia and Soffits – Any signs of deterioration around fascia and soffits.
  4. Granule filled Gutters – Asphalt shingles will shed granules when they are damaged or worn out. 
shingle roof with quality maintenance

How do you maintain a roof? 

The following seven steps of a roof inspection will provide good maintenance for your roof and give you the fullest life expectancy possible.

  1. Shingles – keep a visual roof inspection from the ground for any damaged or missing shingles.
  2. Sealant – a regular roof inspection by you or a professional should include checking sealant isn’t cracked or missing.
  3. Trees – keeping trees trimmed back from the roof is important.
  4. Rust – any signs of rust around vents should be thoroughly inspected.
  5. Gutters – keep the gutters and downspouts clean and repaired as needed.
  6. Chimney – keep the chimney maintained with the masonry grout in place and a chimney cap.
  7. Ice Dam – make sure there is ice dam prevention in key areas of the roof. 

Having regular roof inspections should be on your must-do list to keep your home in excellent condition, whether you are selling it not. The roof is what protects this important investment as well as your family. Need roof inspection in Oley, PA? Call 610-689-3737 today.