Inspections should be done twice a year to ensure proper functionality for the biggest exterior component of your home. Ideally, you should commission a roofing inspection before and after the start of the worst season in your area. In some states, this period is between pre- and post-winter; in others, the worst season is summer.
Upon establishing the right time frame for your inspection, the next thing to do is to choose a professional roofing contractor. Depending on your area’s requirements, your contractor should be registered, certified, or licensed. In addition, they should be bonded or insured, or be otherwise able to provide after-sales support and coverage in case of issues.
When that’s done, you only need to wait for the day of the inspection. But how do you make sure it yields productive and – more importantly – informative results? It would pay to ask the right questions.
Productive and informative results from a roof inspection largely depend on the quality of your roofing contractor, so make sure you choose the right one.
What to Ask: What will you be looking for?
What Answer to Expect: Roof inspections are designed to look for several things, as well as look out for several issues. Both interior and exterior components will be being examined during an inspection.
The following should particularly be high up in your roof inspector’s checklist during the process:
Interior Roof Inspection
Your contractor needs to go up to the attic to check for:
- Proper insulation. Insulation helps trap hot air inside your attic and prevents it from getting distributed within the space. A well-insulated roofing system, thus, can help keep temperatures inside your home more stable. In addition, it will minimize issues stemming from the presence of moisture inside your attic, which can lead to anything from damage to the roof deck to exorbitant energy bills. Your roof inspection should be able to ascertain whether your system features sufficient insulation, and advise on the proper course of action following the results.
- Roof vents make sure that the temperature inside the attic is as close as possible to outside conditions. A functional roofing system needs two types of vents: intake vents and external components. According to the Federal Housing Administration, attics should have at least 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 feet of attic space. Your contractor should be able to verify whether your roof is properly vented, and if not, what you should be able to do about it.
- Moisture inside the attic exists in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. A roof inspection is designed to spot evident and soon-to-be-evident issues that are caused by moisture and accordingly correct them. These include sagging drywalls, corroded components, and even mold. Once the inspection yields moisture problems, your inspector should let you know immediately what to do to keep the damage to a minimum and keep it in check.
Roof ventilation helps make sure your roof stays functional; ask your inspector for recommendations if your current system is lacking.
Exterior Roof Inspection
Your contractor will also go up your roof to examine it during an inspection. They should note and log issues relating to:
- Leaks can do a number on your roof, but they are not always so obvious. Your inspector should be able to identify leaks, track their sources, and suggest efficient steps to fix them. After all, leaks can cause anything from mild discomfort inside your home when it’s raining to complete structural damage.
- Ice dams. Ice dams are also a major roofing issue that warrants immediate attention once spotted. Before they develop, however, ice dams have symptoms signifying that one is underway, including water or ice on exterior walls, water seeping through door frames and windows, and icicles around the edge of the roof or the gutters. Ice dams can be fixed but it’s better if your roofing contractor can help you prevent one from developing in the first place.
- There are different kinds of flashing available for roofs, and an inspection needs to spot gaps between the junctions to ensure complete moisture protection for your roof.
- Roofing material condition. Your roof’s material condition should also be properly examined. In asphalt shingles, for instance, blistering, loss of granules, sagging, splintering, and cracking mean that the roof is past its prime and may soon cause problems for you.
Ice dams can severely damage your roof but a roof inspection can spot them before they fully develop or worsen.
What to Ask: How can you ensure my roof will be in excellent condition?
What Answer to Expect: Fixing issues and preventing them from developing or escalating are the two main components of keeping your roof in tip-top condition.
How soon should you wait to repair issues found during an inspection though? Some damage can be later treated, while others deserve immediate repairs. Your roof inspector should be able to tell you which issues can be addressed at a later time and which ones require attention right away, as well as advise you on specific solutions that can be undertaken for your every roofing concern.
However, while there are possible workarounds to some roofing problems, issues relating to your roof are best addressed as soon as they arise to avoid escalation. You see, when a problem gets bigger, so will the eventual costs of taking care of it. In addition, roof inspections are scheduled to help your home prepare for and after the worst of the weather. As such, if your inspection was carried out before bad weather, it is best to repair the problems before the season arrives.
What to Ask: What kind of measures are necessary to prevent potential problems in the future?
What Answer to Expect: Routine inspections are crucial to staying on top of problems and cutting them off in time but you should also invest in routine maintenance.
Routine inspections are great because they can spot problems before they develop or worsen but they will be meaningless if you don’t follow up with maintenance work guided by results of a roof inspection. Fortunately, your roofer can easily help you out with this so you should not have any issue acting on results of a roofing inspection.
There are things you can do on your own to keep roof damage in check but you should leave roof inspections to the professionals as they know exactly what to look for when assessing your roof. Should you wish to learn more about roof inspections, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a roofing expert in your area.
Kyle Hoffman, Owner/President Roofing & More, Inc. is a local, family-owned company that has a deep commitment to providing homeowners in Northern Virginia with quality, affordable home improvements. Kyle founded Roofing & More in 1993. Together with a core of experienced employees, including his daughter, Roofing & More is a great team that is focused on making the home improvement experience enjoyable for customers.