Ask people what they consider as life essentials, and their answers will likely include “having a roof over my head.” Besides food, shelter is a basic need: it’s what keeps you and your family safe and snug and protected against the elements.
Truth be told, however, it’s seldom that we give our roof a second glance, much less a second thought, as we run about doing our daily tasks. Be honest: When did you last do more than give your roof a cursory look as you backed out of your driveway?
Regularly inspecting your roof allows you to be proactive about making the little fixes that can prevent the need for bigger, more significant repairs down the road. Moreover, keeping your roof in prime shape will be a huge benefit should you decide to sell your home.
From the Top
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends you do a roof inspection at least two times a year: spring and fall. Begin by inspecting inside your home and looking for tell-tale indicators of roof deterioration, such as: 1) sagging and rotting, 2) dark stains or wet spots that can mean water damage or leaks, and 3) light shining through the roof.
You also need to check your roofing from the outside. A simple visual assessment will work – there’s no need to endanger yourself by hiking yourself up a ladder. A visual check from ground level will do – just check for are signs of:
- cracked, torn, bald or missing shingles.
- missing or damaged flashing as well as wear and tear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations.
- excessive amounts of shingle granules in the gutters. Shedding indicates advanced wear.
- moisture, rot or mold.
Also, check that gutters and downspouts are securely attached and free of debris so water can easily be directed away from the home. You must ensure that all vents from your bath, kitchen and dryer go directly outdoors, not into the attic space.
Damage doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start all over with a brand new roof. While you certainly wouldn’t want to wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home before addressing issues, your simple observation skills can help you to find and fix smaller problems early on before a major rebuild is necessary.
Should you determine that indeed it is time to have your entire roof replaced, act quickly on getting your roof rebuilt. A word of caution, however: a roof replacement should never be considered as a “do it yourself” type of project. It’s tough and dangerous work and should be undertaken only by a team of professionals. Get a licensed roofing contractor to better assess the work to be done and to give you an estimate.
When our roofs reach the end of their lifespan, you must get a full replacement. But, what should be done in case of storm damage? Check out Part 2 of this blog series for what you should do in the event of storm damage.