How to Inspect Your Roof

With the coming of the “rain season” here in San Diego, now might be a good time to take a look at your roof.

Here’s a few tips on what to look for and I’ve included a video at the end to give you a visual for some of these.

What To Look For

Just going up on the roof and looking around isn’t enough. You will need to look for specific things. Let’s look at what needs to be done:

  1. Check flashings on the roof. Flashings are the metal pieces in a roof that cover interruptions in the roof plane, such as around dormers, chimneys, and vent pipes. If it appears there is damage, fix these problems right away, or call a roof contractor and have them fix problems. Inadequate or faulty flashing will allow snow meltage to enter the interior, causing not only infrastructure rot, but possible damage to interior walls.
  2. Asphalt roofing materials have a granular surface, much like fine gravel. As the asphalt ages, it becomes brittle, and these granules will come out over time. If you see a lot of these granules in gutters, chances are the roof is aging. Look for bare spots in asphalt shingles, and inspect closely for signs of tearing or warpage. If you notice shingles curling up, it is time for replacement.
  3. If your roof has wooden shake or shingles, look for signs of dry rot or warping depending on the climate of your locale. Know the difference between wooden shakes and shingles – shakes are hand-split on at least one face and either tapered or straight. Shingles are sawed and tapered. If an inspection reveals that approximately one third of the shingles or shakes have any sign of the above damages, it is time to replace the roof. Never walk on a wooden shake or shingle roof when inspecting.
  4. A metal roof has a design life of 50 years if maintained and properly painted. Metal roofing comes in galvanized iron or steel, aluminum, copper, and even lead in older homes. Each has its own wear characteristics. Look for signs of pitting, rusting and corrosion that can be the natural results of aging. Look for loose or open seams and joints that can lead to leaking.
  5. Slate, clay tile, and asbestos cement shingles are high end, but will last the lifetime of the home if cared for properly. They are subject to ice damage in intemperate climates. Because they are so brittle and easily broken, the best way to inspect them is by using binoculars to get a close look at their condition. Check for broken, chipped or missing pieces.

If you are not capable of climbing to high spaces, call a trusted roofing contractor to do the inspection for you.  I do have several I can recommend to you and they will come and inspect your roof for NO CHARGE.

Set Up Regular Inspections

Many roofing contractors can be scheduled on a bi-yearly basis to come and inspect your roof. In any case, you can inspect a roof quite well using binoculars. Always inspect under eaves and overhangs to look for damage that might indicate water leakage, especially at points of the roof that don’t conform to the regular roof plane, such as dormers or skylights. Taking the time to do a thorough inspection on a regular basis will save you a lot of money in the long run.


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