Why do I need a roof inspection?

You should inspect your roof or have a professional do it to spot damage, make necessary repairs, and discover flaws that may have occurred in workmanship. If you act before or as problems occur, you’ll extend the life of your roof and prevent problems that could affect the structure and contents of your home, as well as your family’s health. 

For example, unknown leaks could lead to mold in an attic or behind a wall. Prolonged exposure to mold could lead to respiratory problems.

How often should I get my roof inspected?

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends checking your roof during the fall and spring to help spot potential problems. You should also inspect your roof after a major storm that involved high winds, hail or flying debris. It doesn’t matter how new a roof is, hail can damage or even ruin it enough to require a replacement.

You can complete two major home maintenance and inspection jobs at once if you schedule your roof inspection and gutter cleaning at the same time.

DIY roof inspections

Sometimes homeowners can make simple checks to their home’s roof to find maintenance needs. But some problems are easily noticed even by the untrained eye. For those who choose to do it themselves, consider these NRCA tips. If you tackle the job, take the following safety precautions.

• Never work on a wet roof.

• Make sure the ladder is on solid, level ground.

• Secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping. 

• Inspect the ladder, rungs and rails for damage.

• Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.

• Always use both hands when climbing the ladder.

• Have a partner at ground level to hold the ladder while you climb.

• Wear a helmet to protect your head and prevent more serious injury if you fall.

Roof inspection tips

• Look for shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering; this indicates the end of the shingles' life expectancy. 

• Spot any loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.

• Identify excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters; granules give shingles added weight and protect them from ultraviolet rays.

• Check for soft spots on the roof. This may indicated damaged plywood that needs replacing.

Hiring a professional roof inspector

The NRCA recommends hiring a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof.  It’s safer, especially if you’re uncomfortable getting on a roof or if you’re not sure what to look for.

Still, beware of contractors who go door-to-door soliciting inspections, especially after a storm. That’s how many homeowners get scammed. Check reviews on Angie's List to find a reputable company that is locally owned and operated. These companies have more ties to the community and are likely to stand behind their work.

What’s included in a roof inspection?

If you’re paying a professional to inspect your roof, it should include the following.

• An examination of the overall appearance of the roof, including the interior to determine if there's surface deterioration or physical damage.

• Evidence of ceiling cracks and leaks inside your home.

• Condition of fascia, gutters and drains, skylights, chimneys and roof vents.

• Curled, broken or missing shingles.

• Areas where water may collect, like roof valleys.

• Damaged or missing flashing points.

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