You do not necessarily need to be a pro to perform a simple roof evaluation. While it is best to leave most repair jobs up to the experienced roof repair contractors, the average homeowner can check their roof periodically to ensure that there is no extensive damage. Remember, the sooner you catch a problem, the more money you can save in roof repair costs. Learn more about how to perform a total evaluation of your roof and what red flags you should look for.
Types of Roofing
Before you can really evaluate the condition of your roof, you will need to have a basic understanding on what materials it contains. Asphalt shingles are the most common and least expensive type of roofing material. On average, asphalt shingles last about 20 years, depending on various factors such as weather and amount of exposure to intense sunlight. Slate and tile roof shingles are also available and tend to be more resilient than asphalt. This type of roofing material is fire-resistant, easy to maintain, and invulnerable to rot. Slate and tile shingles have an average life expectancy of 100 years.
Metal roofing is popular as it is lightweight, environmentally-friendly, and low maintenance. However, it can be more difficult to install than regular shingles and requires an experienced contractor. Some homes contain wood shakes or cedar shingles which are manufactured from naturally renewable resources. They have an average lifespan of about 30 years. Once you know what type of roofing materials are on your home, you can determine if your roof is nearing its lifespan and if it should be replaced. You can also better distinguish the different materials used and how they should look to determine if certain components are broken or weakened.
Estimating Roof Age
Not all homeowners have accurate records as to when their roof was last replaced. If you are looking at a new home or want to know the age of your existing home’s roof, you will need to look for several signs that can help you pinpoint an estimated age. Visible water damage, leaks, buckled or curled shingles, or missing shingles often point to an older roof that has suffered damage over time. If you look inside your gutters, you may find them filled with granules from your shingles. Also look for separating or lifting of roof flashing.
If possible, climb up into your attic or crawlspace to get a closer view of your roof from the inside. If you see any sunlight coming through the roof boards, this is a sign that there is a problem and that leaking is most likely occurring. If you cannot tell the age of your roof from a visual inspection, look elsewhere for answers. If you have recently purchased your home, you might be able to ask the previous owners. Another option is to find the building permit for the roof installation, which is usually available at the county building department. You can also hire professional roof repair contractors to provide you with an estimate of your roof’s age.
Spotting Red Flags
The roof is often neglected when it comes to routine home maintenance. Often times, homeowners do not recognize a problem until it is too late. It is best to have your roof professionally inspected by roof repair contractors at least twice a year. You should also have it evaluated after severe storms or other intense weather events. Homeowners can also take action by performing basic inspections of their roof on a regular basis. There are several red flags that homeowners should look for on or around their roof.
Start by walking around the exterior of your home. From the ground, look up at your roof and visually check for signs of damage. Take note of areas that may be sagging, shingles that may be missing, or spots that appear to be dipped and holding water. Also identify areas with algae, moss, or piles of leaves. These types of problems can quickly cause leaks and water damage. Curled or buckled shingles are another problem that can develop due to weather damage or from poor roofing ventilation.
Most homeowners focus on their roof during an evaluation. However, that is not the only place to inspect. You will also want to carefully check your gutters and roof overhangs, as well as your downspouts. All of these components work together to ensure that water is effectively channeled off of your roof and away from your home’s foundation. If you feel comfortable doing so, grab a ladder and inspect your roof more carefully. Look at the metal flashing around fixtures and sealant around the edges of the flashing. If the seals have cracked, shrank, or deteriorated, the roof is at a high risk for water damage.
Finally, you will want to go inside your house to perform the final step of your evaluation. In your attic or crawlspace, look for signs of wood rot, mold or mildew growth, or other red flags that could indicate water damage has occurred. Also take note of any water stains on ceilings or walls that could signal that water penetration has occurred under the roof. You will also want to use your nose to determine if something is amiss. If you smell a mildew or musty smell, there is likely water damage or potentially a mold issue.
Roof inspections are an important preventative maintenance job that is often overlooked by homeowners. Even if you are squeamish about heights, it is vital to have a professional perform a total evaluation of your roof on a routine basis to catch any problems before they progress. If your roof has surpassed its expected lifespan, you may also want to consider replacing it. This can help you save money in the long-run by avoiding frequent repairs. For more information about roof repair or inspections or to schedule a professional evaluation and diagnosis of your roof, contact professional roof repair contractors today.