Caulking – we want to ensure the caulking is still bonded/stuck to the substrate or substrates it was initially applied to. Caulking will dry, shrink and release its bond over time so it’s important to touch and pick at the caulking during this inspection. Do not just look at it. If it needs to be replaced it is best to remove the old caulking and apply a new and fresh bead to the cleaned surfaces. Different surfaces require different caulking compounds. A good polyurethane caulking is multi-functional however it is not intended for all surfaces. Silicone based caulking should rarely be used outdoors.
Vents – ensure vents are still clear and free from debris and are able to perform the action they were intended to accomplish. Check for cracks in plastic and rubber vents and rust or erosions in metal and lead vents. Ensure roofing material is adequately bonded to vent flanges. Plumbing vent stacks should have matching caps
Drains – we want to ensure all drains are free flowing and the membrane attached to the flange of the drain is still well bonded. This should be tested with a blunt probing tool. If a debris-catching device (EG Ball Screen or strainer basket) is necessary ensure the integrity of such is still intact.
General Field areas – when we are inspecting these areas we are looking for deficiencies that stand out from the norm. If something or some area is different from the rest of the roof area we ask – why? Is there a blister or bubble in the membrane? Is there less gravel here rather then there? Are the granules missing from the shingle or cap sheet? Is there moss build up in specific areas? Are there general housekeeping requirements that need doing such as leaf and debris removal?
Flashings – the sheet metal used on your roof is usually called a “flashing”. It can be found on top and around the perimeter edge, set into the bricks or stucco of your chimney or installed behind vertical/horizontal siding or stucco. We are basically inspecting the flashings for rust or weaknesses in the caulking and also testing the holding power of the used fasteners. Flashing is primarily a cosmetic termination and should rarely have a sole waterproofing purpose.
Having said all this about maintenance it is now important to talk about getting onto your roof and the safety requirements we practice. My next blog will address this topic. We must caution that roof inspections should be done by qualified and adequately insured individuals. Should the individual Home Owner attempt to access their roof; all WCB requirements must be learned and practiced.