The key to a long-lasting roof is proper maintenance. No roof is indestructible. In time, nature will take its toll and the roof will succumb to wear and tear. However, with proper maintenance, the lifespan of the roof can be maximized. In fact, a roof may even exceed its projected life expectancy. But what is proper maintenance? As a home or commercial property owner, what can you do to prevent major roofing problems from occurring?
With so many different roofing materials and roofing designs, it would be difficult to produce a “one-size-fits-all” maintenance guide for all the different types. However, with a general checklist, you should still be able to prevent a wide variety of roofing problems.
How Often Should You Perform Roofing Inspections?
The first, and arguably the most important part of roofing maintenance is to invest in regular roof inspections. As a rule of thumb, a roof inspection should be performed twice a year.
In addition to periodic inspections, a roof should be inspected after every major weather disturbance. If your area experiences a storm, hail or heavy snowfall, take the time to look for damage once the storm has passed.
PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION: Professional roofers know where to look and what to expect.
Who Should Perform Periodic Inspections?
Ideally, a qualified roofer should perform your periodic roofing inspections. This is because experienced roofers can identify faults with a roof that the average homeowner would likely miss. However, it’s still worth performing general inspections of your own roof as this can help you identify obvious signs of damage like missing or loose shingles. For safety reasons, avoid climbing onto your sloped roof. Instead, inspect the roof from the ground with a pair of binoculars.
What Does a Roofing Inspection Include?
A roof inspection checklist will generally include the following:
- Checking for interior signs of roofing problems – Most roofing problems involve a leak. A leak might start slowly, but it will eventually reveal itself with water signs on the ceiling or on the interior portion of the roof. With close inspection, an inspector will be able to identify those signs.
However, it’s important to understand that water trails do not indicate the exact location of the leak, especially on sloped roofs. A leak may be present at one location, but the water stains may be visible elsewhere. This is why leaks are difficult to locate and fix if you’re not a professional roofer.
WATER STAINS ON THE CEILING: Indicative of a roof leak.
- Checking the general condition of the roof – One of the signs of a properly maintained roof is cleanliness. Debris and other materials should be removed from the roof on a regular basis. Most of the time, debris ends up in the gutter and can create blockages. When this happens, accumulated water can eventually damage the roofing structure or even the foundation of the home.
- Checking the condition of the flashings – After a storm or strong winds, it’s best to check the condition of the flashings. These vulnerable components of your roof act as an additional line of defense against strong winds, so they need to be kept in prime condition.
- Checking the condition of gutters and drains – Gutters direct the flow of water from the roof. Without functional gutters, water will find its way into gaps and eventually cause a significant amount of damage to the roofing structure.
- Checking the condition of other roofing structures – This involves looking at the chimney, pipes and skylights.
- Checking repaired portions of the roof – If the roof has undergone previous repairs, it’s important to check the condition of the repairs after every major weather disturbance as well as during periodic inspections.
- Checking for nearby trees or vegetation – Many homes have trees and other vegetation close to the roof. Plants may improve the scenery, but if they grow too close to the roof, they can cause serious damage. For instance, branches of a tree hanging over the roof can scrape the roofing material during strong winds. Branches and leaves can also block the gutters. It’s important to trim any vegetation that may find its way onto the roof to prevent serious and costly damage.
How to Develop Your Own Checklist
The points discussed above are general areas of an inspection checklist. You should be able to create your own inspection checklist based on the above-mentioned points. Your checklist will help you identify specific areas of your roof that require special attention.
For instance, many commercial roofs are fitted with heating and ventilation equipment, such as a central air conditioning system. It’s important to include these areas in your inspection.
Always consider your safety when performing roofing inspections. If you’re unable to inspect areas without proper safety equipment, forego the inspection of those areas and have a professional roofer perform handle it instead.
What You Should Do After a Professional Roofing Inspection?
Roof inspections help you increase the lifespan of your roof by identifying faults that need immediate attention. After a professional roofing inspection, the inspector will list all the areas of concern. It’s important to review this list and schedule the repairs needed.
ROOF REPAIRS: If damage has been found during the inspection, do not delay necessary roof repairs.
In some cases, an inspector may identify areas that do not necessarily have problems but may cause problems in the future. It would be best to have these areas of concern corrected before they worsen.
If the inspection reveals widespread damage, your roofer may recommend a complete roof replacement If the recommendation is to replace your roof, it would be best to contact a reliable roofing company to perform the replacement.
Earl Johnston started his own roofing company in 1986 with a commitment to providing top-quality workmanship for all his customers. He has learned so much about the roofing industry and remains today, nearly 30 years later, committed to the same standards along with the entire staff at Earl W. Johnston Roofing.