It doesn’t matter where you live, spring is here once again, and of course that means a great many things. Many love spring for the return of warmer weather, the revitalization of nature, the upcoming season of leisure often afforded to families. Of course, there are other, more concerning things that come with this time of year as well. Your roof just finished fighting a serious battle against the ravages of a whole year of weather, especially winter. Like any line of defense, it may be a little worse for the wear as a result.Not only is this the completion of a cycle for your roof, but it’s the first immediate chance you’ll have to safely inspect and repair your roof. In some regions, the rainy season isn’t far away, meaning any causes for leaks need to be remedied before they get there.
In others, the heat is coming quickly, and you’ll want to make sure you’re not air conditioning the sky due to similar leaks. Of course, in more even-tempered regions in the north, this is the start of the season when most people can admire your landscaping and curb appeal, and if your roof looks seriously beat up, that’s not good.
Today, we’d like to look at how to spot signs of roof damage when inspecting a roof, and what goes into a professional inspection as well.
Signs of Damage
The first thing to do, if you can safely do so, is to give your roof your own immediate inspection. You don’t have to be a professional to spot many of the bigger signs. On top of this, symptoms will often present themselves before you even do your inspection, if things are bad.
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the symptoms you might see immediately. If you sense these, it’s a bad sign, meaning you need to get professionals involved right away. Take none of these lightly.
- Leaks, obviously – One of the most common symptoms of roof damage is a leak. If you detect leaks when it rains, this means that seals or shingles have been damaged, and can’t keep the water out anymore.
- Drafts – Are you feeling drafts, either cool or warm, in your house? These can be window or door problems as well, but are often roof issues. Cool and hot air move convectively up and down through your home, vertically, hot air rising and cool air sinking. You might think that the floors and ceilings would stifle this, but it merely makes the paths of these temperatures longer and more twisty. Your roof is intended to buffer this cycle, and keep your climate control, or ambient temperature, contained. Compromises to it can connect it to the outer atmosphere.
What to Look for, What Roof Inspectors Look for
Getting on your roof is something you do at your discretion. If you’re not sure on your feet, you don’t know a little bit about a roof or you’re not sure how to tell if a roof is safe to walk on, then don’t do it yourself. If this is the case, only do a from-ladder inspection yourself. If you have a drone (which are getting very cheap), you can use one of these to do an inspection. Many roofers do.
Here are some things to look for, and to expect a roofer to look for.
- Shingle Breakdown – This is the most common problem, and it leads to others. Shingles are a fantastic roofing material, but they don’t last forever. Part of their design is an intention to replace them with ease. Shingles can buckle, peel, crack, or lose their asphalt layer over time. This compromises the shield against water, and part of the insulation system to keep your home temperate.
- Water Damage – A damaged location may not be immediately visible. They can be small, they can be kind of hidden, or just hard to spot. Like any kind of challenging hunt, you follow the trail. Specifically, water damage. This can show up as darkened areas, exceptionally mossy spots that’re out in the open, radial breakdown of shingles, and the biggest and deadly symptom of all, mold.
- Mold – Speaking of mold, this one is insidious. Not all molds are toxic, such as the greener and grayer varieties. They’re still not good for you – they smell unpleasant, they irritate allergies, and they break down plaster and infrastructure. Black mold, however, can be deadly if exposure is severe enough. If you have molds like these, you have water damage, thus a problem up on the roof.
- Gutter Clogs – Are your gutters clogging? This usually doesn’t happen due to leaves but maybe once a year. However, roof debris from shingle or seal materials breaking down, are heavy, and will clog gutters.
- Loose Seals and Seams – Your roof is undoubtedly not an uninterrupted surface. Chimneys, vents, skylights, extra stories – these all require seams and seals to be put in place. When these break down, they let water in and air through.
- Rust and Smoke – Rust and soot/smoke can deteriorate your shingles and their adhesives. If you have these, you may need to replace vent pipes, and repair chimneys.
If you can safely do a DIY inspection, and are confident in doing so, then go ahead and do so. You can save everyone some time, and determine if perhaps you need to evacuate until problems can be fixed.
However, never stop at a DIY inspection, unless your roof appears to be pristine.
Professionals have training which enables them to spot things otherwise easily missed. They know what’s involved in fixing them, and they know how to estimate the compliance of a roof to code.
Interior Vs. Exterior
You will hear interior and exterior brought up, when talking about inspections. It’s important to note the differences, but also to remember how equally important they can be. Exterior involves looking at the rooftop, at the shingles, seams, seals and flashing.
Interior inspects attic spaces, sometimes walls, doors and windows. Damage and symptoms can happen inside or outside, so it’s important to respect both.
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