When to Inspect
As a home owner concerned about your investment and potential damage , it is a really good idea to conduct a complete and thorough inspection of your roof whenever the season changes. Whether this is monthly, or every other month is up to you, but it really should be done. Here in Brighton, it is a good idea to conduct periodic checkups after major storms or high winds. Because of the beautiful but relentless sun we get here, shingles on south facing roof lines can see more weathering than the others.
What to Look For
Giving your roof a checkup isn’t all that difficult, and can end up saving you the headache and hassle of having to deal with seriously damaged roof. I will often recommend that storage sheds be roofed at the same time as the house to insure color consistency. If this is done, the shed roof will also give an indication of roof condition. If like many you do not like ladders, a good inspection can be done from the ground with binoculars. In some cases you may have to be creative in seeing your roof (ie. the neighbors lawn) but it can be done safely. If your roof is very flat this may not be an option. If you do choose to use a ladder or are not bothered by heights it’s still good to remember these safety tips.
If you have a shingled roof:
- Discoloration. Visually inspect your roof for any signs of major discoloration in the shingles or other roofing material. If the discoloration is found in conjunction with one of these other trouble spots, then you may need to prepare yourself to call your handyman. Significant discoloration can be an indicator that your roof needs a closer look, or a more thorough inspection.
- Check the ridge. Look along side the ridge (highlighted in red in the picture above) of your roof line. The ridge of the roof is one of the first places that trouble can really start to show up. In fact, shingles that are placed along the ridge line typically fail first, and usually take the brunt of the damage brought about from the weather. Part of the reason why you really want to keep an eye on the ridge line is that if a leak forms there, it can literally end up anywhere in the house.
- Valleys. Just as the highest point of your roof, the ridge, can be one of the most troubling places, so too can the lowest point. The valleys of your roof (if you have them) are usually found between two ridges, or where the roof changes direction (highlighted in yellow in the picture above). In bad weather these are the areas that help to channel the direction of travel for water that runs off of the roof. As you can imagine, this leads to erosion, and over time this can make even the toughest of materials wear away.
- Flashing. The flashing is another possible weak point in your roof, and one that should be looked at (highlighted in green in the picture above). Ideally flashing should be free from any sign of rust, tight to the roof itself, and sealed with either roofing cement or even a pliable caulking. If the flashing doesn’t have this then you have a potential problem.
- Age. If you don’t mind the ladder and have access to the roof there is a simple test to check your shingles. Because they are made of asphalt and fiberglass, over time they will become brittle. If the shingles are missing the colored sanded coating or they crack when flexed, its time to start planning a for a new roof.
- Additional information is available at the popular Hometime website.
If you have a tile roof the inspection mostly consists of looking for missing or cracked tiles. Although there initial cost is more the maintenance of this kind of roof is much reduced.