An expert guide to inspecting your roof

Learn how to inspect your roof and identify problems early. Timely repair means you can avoid expensive and extensive roof repairs later.
Home is literally “the roof over your head.” Don’t assume everything is okay with your roof until you see a leak or signs of water damage. But how do you know if your roof needs professional attention? Learn how easy it is to inspect your roof and prevent small problems from becoming major headaches.

An expert guide to inspecting your roof

How often should I inspect my roof?

At least once a year, and twice a year is advisable, especially if your region is subject to extreme weather. Even if you live in an area with milder weather patterns, if you have an exceptionally severe weather event, it’s a good idea to check out your roof in the days after to see if any damage has occurred.

What exactly am I inspecting?

You need to keep an eye on the roof shingles, but there’s more to your roofing than just the shingles. When you inspect your roof, you need to look at the following:

  • The flashings: Flashings are the metal pieces used to cover the gaps created by things that stick through or “interrupt” your roof — things like chimneys, pipes, dormers, etc. If you notice damage, have the flashing repaired immediately to prevent leaking.
  • The shingles: If you have asphalt shingles and notice a lot of bald spots and/or a lot of shingle granules in your gutters, your roof is aging. Look for signs of tearing or warping/curling. These shingles need replacing. If you have wooden shakes/shingles, look for warping or rot. If you see signs of this in 1/3 or more of your shakes or shingles, you need to have the roof replaced.
  • Corrosion: If you have a metal roof, look for pitting, rusting and/or corrosion. You should also keep an eye out for loose or splitting seams and joints, as these can cause leaking in your house.
  • Damaged roofing: If your roof is made from tile, look for broken or cracked tiles.

Do I need to walk on the roof to do the inspection?

No, it's not necessary. And, in fact, you shouldn’t walk on a wooden shake, wooden shingle or tile roof. If you can use a ladder that takes you up to roof height so you can visually examine the roofing, that’s sufficient. You can also use binoculars to help you get a closer look without compromising your safety.

What if I’m scared of heights or don’t own the right kind of ladder?

Many roofing companies offer free inspections (they hope that you’ll then choose them to fix or replace your roof), so you can call a professional roofing company if a roofing inspection is outside of your comfort zone.

Whichever you choose, be sure to regularly inspect your roof and repair even minor damage before it becomes extreme — and expensive.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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