Your Ultimate Guide To Roof Inspections

March 18, 2024

Your home's roof is its first line of defense against the elements, protecting you and your belongings from rain, wind, snow, debris, and anything else that could potentially cause damage. However, roofs are also subjected to wear and tear over time, which can lead to issues that compromise the security of your home against the elements. Regular roof inspections are essential to catch problems early and prevent costly repairs down the line. 

While it's always advisable to hire a professional roofing service like Draper Roofing for a comprehensive inspection, there are steps homeowners can take to inspect their roofs themselves. This guide will explain the ins and outs of roof inspections to help keep you and your home safe! 

The Importance Of Roof Inspections

Regular roof inspections help identify minor issues before they escalate into major problems. Catching problems early on, such as damaged or missing shingles, deteriorating flashing, or small leaks, allows for prompt repairs and prevents these issues from worsening and potentially causing significant damage to the roof structure and interior of the home. Inspections contribute to maintaining the structural integrity of the roof, ensuring it remains capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions and protecting the home effectively. 

By addressing issues promptly, homeowners can avoid costly repairs or even premature roof replacement, saving them substantial expenses in the long term (including energy savings from proper insulation inspection). Beyond financial savings, roof inspections also play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and comfort of occupants. Detecting leaks or other issues that could lead to water damage or mold growth helps maintain a healthy home, both outside and indoors.

When To Conduct Roof Inspections

Proper timing for a roof inspection is essential to ensure thorough assessment and timely maintenance, ultimately extending the lifespan of your roof and preventing costly repairs. Scheduling inspections at strategic times throughout the year can help you address potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This helps to ensure the longevity, structural integrity, and functionality of roofs. Key times to get your roof inspected include the following:

  • Spring: Assess any damage caused by winter weather and prepare for heavy spring rains.
  • Fall: Address issues before winter weather sets in and ensure the roof is ready for colder temperatures and precipitation.
  • After Severe Weather Events: Inspect for damage after hailstorms, hurricanes, or other damaging weather events.
  • During Sunny Weather: Conduct inspections when conditions are optimal, such as daylight, clear skies, and dry conditions.
  • When Signs Of Damage Appear: Inspect the roof promptly if you notice leaks, water stains, or visible damage to shingles or flashing.
  • Before Buying Or Selling A Home: Ensure the roof is in good condition as part of the home inspection process for optimal value.
  • After Installation Or Repairs: Verify the quality of recent roof installations or repairs to ensure they meet standards and specifications.
  • Every 3-5 Years: Conduct routine inspections to catch any gradual wear and tear over time and address maintenance needs proactively.

Exterior Roof Inspection Checklist 

☑ Gutters & Downspouts: Clean out gutters and downspouts to remove debris and ensure proper drainage. Inspect the condition of gutters and downspouts for signs of rust, corrosion, or damage. Ensure that gutters are securely attached to the roofline and not sagging or pulling away from the structure.

☑ Roofing Materials: Assess the condition of the roofing materials. For asphalt shingles, check for signs of granule loss, cracks, or blistering. For wood shingles or shakes, look for splits, cracks, or rot. For metal roofing, inspect for signs of rust, corrosion, or loose panels. Pay attention to any areas where roofing materials may be damaged or missing, especially along roof edges and in valleys.

☑ Flashing & Sealants: Inspect the condition of flashing around roof penetrations, including chimneys, vents, skylights, and dormers. Check for signs of deterioration, rust, or damage to the flashing and ensure it is properly sealed to prevent water intrusion. Evaluate the condition of sealants around roof penetrations and along roof edges, and reapply as needed to maintain a watertight seal.

☑ Soffits & Fascia: Examine the soffits, fascia, and eaves for signs of water damage, rot, or pest infestation. Look for areas where paint may be peeling or wood may be discolored, indicating underlying issues. Ensure that soffit vents are clear of debris to allow for proper attic ventilation.

☑ Ventilation: Check attic ventilation to ensure air can circulate freely and prevent moisture buildup. Look for signs of condensation or mold growth in the attic, indicating poor ventilation. Ensure attic vents are not blocked by insulation or debris and are properly sized and spaced for adequate ventilation.

☑ Chimneys & Skylights: Inspect the condition of chimney caps and skylight seals to ensure they are intact and watertight. Check for signs of damage or deterioration around chimneys and skylights, including cracked mortar, loose flashing, or damaged seals. Look for signs of water staining or discoloration on the ceiling around chimneys and skylights, indicating leaks.

Interior Roof Inspection Checklist 

☑ Attic Access: Gain access to the attic space through a secure and properly sized access hatch or door. Use a sturdy ladder and ensure it is properly secured to access the attic safely.

☑ Insulation: Inspect the condition and thickness of the insulation in the attic. Look for any signs of compression, moisture damage, or pest infestation in the insulation. Ensure that insulation is installed properly and covers the entire attic floor to prevent heat loss and moisture buildup.

☑ Roof Decking: Inspect the condition of the roof decking from the attic space. Look for signs of water damage, rot, or pest infestation in the roof decking. Check for any sagging or uneven areas in the roof decking, which could indicate structural issues.

☑ Leaks & Water Damage: Look for signs of water infiltration or leaks in the attic, including water stains or discoloration on the ceiling or walls.

☑ Damp & Musty Odors: Pooled water or signs of moisture on the attic floor. Trace the source of any leaks to identify potential points of entry, such as damaged flashing or compromised roof penetrations.

☑ Structural Integrity: Assess the structural integrity of the roof framing and support systems. Look for signs of damage or deterioration in the rafters, trusses, or other structural components. Check for any signs of movement or shifting in the roof structure that could indicate underlying issues.

Cost Of Professional Roof Inspections

If you opt for professional roofing inspections, you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $500 or more, with the average being around $220. Different inspections come with different price points due to the varying degrees of difficulty and risks associated with each. Physical inspection, where roofers climb up on and assess your roof, is the cheapest and most common option. However, high-tech options are available that will cost you quite a bit more money. 

Drones are used by some companies to minimize risk and save time during an inspection, but drone inspections tend to cost more than physical ones. Infrared technology is also used in some cases to detect damage that is nearly imperceptible to the naked eye, ensuring the most thorough inspection (and the highest bill). Basic physical inspections tend to provide thorough enough results for most homeowners, but these other options are available if you want more peace of mind that your roof and home are safe.

Easy DIY Roof Repairs

Electing to inspect your own roof can make it tempting to fix some minor problems as you spot them. While we do not encourage homeowners to attempt their own roof repairs, it is inevitable that some people will attempt to inspect and repair their roofs on their own. When embarking on DIY roof repairs, homeowners must prioritize safety to prevent accidents and injuries. 

First and foremost, homeowners should never attempt to perform repairs in adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, rain, or snow, as these can create slippery surfaces and increase the risk of falls. It's crucial to use proper safety equipment, including sturdy ladders, non-slip footwear, and a safety harness if working at heights. Most importantly, if the repair job exceeds your skill level or involves significant risk, you should seek professional assistance to ensure your safety and the integrity of the roof.

Basic DIY Roof Repairs:

  • Patching small holes or cracks in asphalt shingles with roofing cement.
  • Replacing damaged or missing shingles using roofing nails and a hammer.
  • Repairing or replacing damaged flashing around chimneys, vents, or skylights.
  • Sealing minor leaks or gaps in the roof surface with roofing sealant or caulk.
  • Clearing debris and cleaning gutters to ensure proper drainage and prevent water damage.
  • Securing loose or damaged fascia boards or soffits with screws or nails.
  • Replacing worn or damaged rubber gaskets around plumbing vents or exhaust vents.
  • Installing or replacing roof vents or attic fans to improve ventilation and prevent moisture buildup.
  • Repairing minor damage to metal roofing panels using sealant or replacement screws.
  • Inspecting and tightening loose or damaged roof fasteners, such as screws or nails, to ensure structural integrity.

Professional Roof Repairs & Maintenance

While DIY repairs may seem like a cost-effective option for homeowners, the importance and benefits of entrusting roof repairs and maintenance to a professional cannot be overstated. Professional roofers possess the expertise, experience, and specialized equipment necessary to identify and address issues effectively. One of the primary benefits of hiring a professional is the assurance of quality workmanship and materials, which can significantly extend the lifespan of the roof and minimize the need for costly repairs down the line. Professionals are trained to conduct thorough inspections and diagnose problems accurately, allowing them to recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions for each specific issue. 

Professional roof repairs often come with warranties or guarantees to provide you with peace of mind and protection in the event of any unforeseen issues. Though repairs from expert roofers are always a good option, professional maintenance services will keep your roof in good shape before repairs are even needed. If you are in the Salt Lake City area and are looking for roofing repairs, maintenance, or inspections, contact Integrated Roofing Solutions today!

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