Your roof is your first line of defense when protecting your home. Be it thunderstorms, strong winds, or inches of snow; your roof will protect you from the elements. However, many homeowners believe that their roofs are invincible, and all they need is the occasional check and clearing of the gutters.
Neglecting your roof can open your home up to a world of damage, and chances are, once you have seen a leak coming in from your roof or noticed other damage such as exposed tiles, the damage has been done, and you will need more repairs than a simple fix.
Periodic roof inspections can protect your home by identifying any significant concerns or problems and allow you the chance to rectify them quickly.
When Should You Schedule A Roof Inspection?
The majority of homeowners will have their roofs inspected after severe weather, which is a good idea in and of itself. However, this isn’t the only time you should have your roof inspected. You should also have your roof inspected if you are planning to sell your home (replacing the roof can be a major selling point), and you should have it inspected every few years, depending on the type of roof and where you are located.
When it comes to roofing, asphalt shingle roofs should be inspected every three years, whereas if you have a tile or a metal roof, it can go much longer between inspections—approximately five and six years. If you live near the coast or in a climate with a lot of snow or rain can cause your roof to deteriorate faster, so you may want to consider more frequent roof inspections if you live in one of these areas.
The best time of year to schedule your roof inspection is in the fall before the cold weather, ice, and snow begin to accumulate. If your roof isn’t up to par, the snowmelt in the spring can pose a severe threat of water damage to your home. Plus, attempting roof repairs on icy roofs can be treacherous and potentially end up causing more harm than you needed to fix initially.
Also, having a fall roof inspection allows you to carry out any repairs that are fall specific, including the removal of moss and lichen. Treatment of moss and kitchen can take up to 180 days, meaning if treated in fall, this can be easily brushed away by the time spring comes around.
Are Homeowner Roof Inspections Good Enough?
While many people can identify some signs of roof damage, such as missing slates or shingles, others aren’t so obvious to the untrained eye.
Homeowners, where possible, can climb a ladder to their roof, look for any signs of damage or debris on the roof, and make an eye-level assessment from outside and inside the property. While interior leaks are noticeable, the damage sustained to your roof from the leaks might not be evident inside.
Always contact roofing professionals for roof repairs on a roof ten years or older. You should have a regular roof inspection and a visual inspection yourself every few weeks or months, depending on the weather in your local area. Homeowners who have a relatively new house (under five years old) haven’t got any noticeable leaks or experienced extreme weather conditions can probably get by with visual inspections. But for homes exposed to more severe conditions or older than five years, calling in the professionals can put your mind at ease and identify any problems in the early stages. If you suspect your roof has sustained damage, contact your insurance provider to see if they can cover some or all of the cost.
How Long Does A Roof Inspection Take?
Typically most inspections will take around an hour depending on any damage, size, and shape of your roof. Some inspections will take longer than others due to increased safety concerns. In recent years, drones have helped to cut down the time it takes to complete a full roof inspection, and the footage allows for easier visual access to hard-to-reach parts.
Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Inspections?
You are expected to maintain your home in good condition. However, suppose your home has sustained damage to a freak occurrence or extreme weather, and you are making a claim. In that case, they may send out an insurance roofing inspector to ascertain the damage and determine your claim value for you to make the repairs. Your insurance company won’t necessarily cover your roof inspection as this falls under your remit as a homeowner.
While home insurance doesn’t cover end-of-life and wear and tear repairs, storm damage is covered depending on your policy type. Always check your policy before making a claim. You should also remember that failing to repair your roof can invalidate your insurance policy if you need to claim damage for your roof and any interior or structural damage caused.
What To Expect From A Roofing Inspection
A roofing inspector will take stock of the whole condition of your roof, including;
- Roofing material (shingles, metal, etc.)
- Vent pipe covers/ boots
- Signs of water intrusion/ mold on the inside
An inspector may need to physically access your roof during a roofing inspection, meaning you can expect them to walk on your roof if required. A visual picture can be obtained for some inspections without going on top of the roof.
If your roof inspection is for insurance purposes, then it is more likely they will need to gain access to your roof for a complete evaluation of the damage and condition of the roof. For general roof inspections, this isn’t always necessary.
A typical inspection is broken down into four categories: structure, material, interior, and workmanship. This allows inspectors to cover all of the bases, and it ensures that every aspect of the roof as a whole is inspected and examined thoroughly.
The inspection will include a look at the chimney, soffits, gutters, and any other system associated with the function and ability of your roof to protect your home. You can also anticipate that they will conduct an exterior and interior inspection to ensure that there are no leaks or water damage before beginning the work.
- Structural Inspection
As part of the inspection, the inspector will look for sagging, uneven roof planes, and other signs of deterioration and the condition of the soffit, fascia, and gutter system. Cracks, crumbling grout, and damage to chimney caps should all be looked for in masonry chimneys at this time of the year. Additionally, the inspector may look into the venting in your attic; improper venting can result in heat and moisture buildup, which shortens the life of your roof and increases the likelihood of ice dams forming.
- Material Inspection
During this segment, the inspector will look for damage to shingles, including missing shingles, curling, or lose shingles. They will also be looking for any loose or missing flashing to identify any damage. If shingle aggregate is found in roof valleys or at the bottom of downspouts, this indicates that the roof is nearing the end of its life. Also checked at this point are rubber boots and seals around vents.
- Interior Inspection
Warning signs that your roof needs some repairs or replacing can be found inside your property. Inspectors will look at ceilings, the tops of walls, vents, and the attic to see telltale signs. Leaks, wet patches, dampness, or mold are signs that your roof is letting in water, and there has been some damage or erosion of roofing materials over time.
- Workmanship Inspection
The way your roof is installed might open you up to damage or problems in the future. If the correct care and attention to detail haven’t been taken when installing your roof, soffits, facias, etc., you can expect some issues. A roofing inspector can identify any failings by your roofing contractor to help you to get them rectified.
After Your Roofing Inspection
Once your roofing inspection is completed, you will receive a detailed report with all the inspector’s findings. This will include any current damage that needs rectifying immediately, any potential damage, and warning signs. It will give you a good indication of whether or not you need to replace the whole roof.
Homeowners should ensure regular roofing inspections are carried out to allow them to action repairs as soon as possible and to get a good idea of what is happening on the top of their house. While frequent visual inspections can be helpful, neglecting to get a thorough check from a qualified inspector isn’t a good idea. Many roofing contractors offer free inspections as part of their installation or repair services, so if you are booking roof work, ask if this is an option you can take advantage of to ensure your roof is in the best condition possible.