Winter is behind us, and good riddance. Sitting in our living rooms, with the window open, or barbecuing on the patio, the last thing most of us think about is the roof above our heads. It’s only when a soggy spot appears on the ceiling, or we’re listening to the annoying dripping into a bucket, that most homeowners’ thoughts will turn to their roof.
When should you have your roof inspected?
After a major storm. Following heavy snowfall, rainfall, gusting winds or hail, you should consider a roof inspection mandatory.
When listing your home. An attractive and healthy roof, with a long projected lifespan ahead of it, supported by a certificate of inspection, will place your home head and shoulders above many of the competitors’ offerings on the buyers’ score cards.
Following the installation of a new roof. After a new roof instal, you’ll want to check on the roof at least twice in the first year, to confirm that the materials are holding up the way they’re supposed to, there are no loose materials (like flashings, shingles or tiles), and no gaps have appeared from the expansion and contraction that occur as the roof is subjected to changing temperatures.
As part of preventive home maintenance. Having your roof inspected twice a year will help you catch problems while they are still small, and relatively inexpensive to repair.
Spring is the perfect time to have your roof inspected. Winter can take its toll. Snow buildup, ice dams, freezing temperatures that can make roofing materials brittle, and heavy winds can challenge the integrity of your home’s primary defense against the elements.
Leaks may be annoying, but they can also be very costly. Having your roof inspected regularly protects your home investment.
What does a roofing professional look for during an inspection?
This is not a complete checklist, or a standard followed by all inspectors and roofing contractors, but will cover most of the bases. These checks should ideally be carried out by a roofing expert, with years of experience, who knows exactly what to look for.
Exterior roof inspection
excessive granule loss on shingles or torch on membranes
loose or missing shingles
severely curled, buckled, blistered, bruised or split shingles
loose or broken shingles at the hip or ridge lines
broken tabs or seals on shingles
punctures in shingles or membrane roofs
ponding on flat roofs
cracks or alligatoring on membrane roofs
loose or exposed nails
sagging on the ridges
debris on the roof, and damage in the valleys
damaged or missing flashings
missing caulk and gaps at the flashings or vent stacks
sealing around skylights
siding above the roof, for peeling paint or decay
peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs
fascia board, for damage or rot
gutters and eaves, for proper shingle/tile overhangs
gutters and downspouts, for proper drainage
chimney, for cracks
missing or damaged chimney cap
rubber boots around vent pipes, for dry rot or wear
moss, lichen or fungal growth, signalling decay below
Interior roof inspection
visible ceiling water spots and cracks
dampness alongside fireplaces
calculation to determine if there’s adequate ventilation for the attic area
damp insulation or attic mould
roof sheathing, for cracks
outside light: leaks around vents, chimneys or skylights
sagging decking between the rafters
attic intake vents and fans, for proper ventilation
kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, for proper ventilation
Thermal imaging (infrared) inspection
Many roofing professionals now use thermal imaging cameras during their inspections. Thermal images show variations in surface heat, allowing roof inspectors to quickly identify defects that are not readily apparent to the naked eye. These colour images are invaluable in the discovery of air leaks that can result in heat loss, and water leaks that can lead to water ingress
After the inspection has been completed, a report is completed detailing the findings. The inspector also submits recommendations for any maintenance and repairs deemed necessary.
Roof checkups are a lot like visiting the dentist. A cleaning and occasional small filling are inexpensive and virtually painless when compared with the high cost of root canals, dental implants, bridgework or dentures. In the same way, fixing roofing issues as soon as they’re discovered is definitely preferable to waiting until major repairs or a re-roof project become the only remaining option.