How Do You Do a Roof Inspection?

shingle roofing system

What is a roof inspection?

A roof inspection is typically a professional in the insurance industry or roofing industry checking the structural condition. There are several reasons roof inspections are performed. 

Building inspectors perform roof inspections on new builds and remodeled buildings. Insurance adjusters do roof inspections before issuing a policy or to validate claims. Roofing contractors do roof inspections for business owners and homeowners that request them. In that situation, they are doing roof inspections and repairs estimates for damage from fire, hail, storms, or wind. These are the roof inspections our article will be based on today. 

What do roof inspectors look for?      

The roofing industry experts recommended annual roof inspections, but most homeowners don’t call for roof inspections until they have a concern (roof leaking) or problems (storm damage). Another purpose of roof inspections is to prepare a house for market. Roof inspectors are trained on How to do a roof inspection for various purposes  because there are different factors to be checked and considered based on the reason for the inspection. The basics of all roof inspections include the following: 

  • Interior: The first area of roof inspection is the interior for any sign of water damage, especially in the attic. Indication that tell them there is possible water damage is moisture and mold or water stains. They will check for day light shining through the roof and the check for  signs of an aging roof.
  • Exterior: The exterior or the roof is the next area for roof inspections. They are looking closely at the shingles and their condition, like bald areas where granules are missing, loose and missing shingles, missing nails, bent or missing flashings, cracked caulk. 
  • Estimate: For a roof contractor doing an inspection, once they have completed the inspection, they will provide the homeowner a report on their findings along with an estimate for repairs or replacement.

What is involved in a roof inspection?

Professional roof inspections vary based on the type of roofing material used. Asphalt shingled roofing inspections include what we discussed above. This is a basic and common process of residential roofing inspections. 

Metal roof inspections are different as they are focused on finding possible leaks and the reason for the leak. The areas that get attention during metal roof inspections include:

  • The seams – Because metal roofs contract and expand with the temperature, the screws often work loose, allowing the seams to separate. This require immediate attention before the underlying roof structure is damaged from condensation and moisture.  
  • The flashing – The flashing is important part of any roof, metal especially for the same reason for seams that have loosen and separated. Additionally,  loose or missing flashing will allow water to get under it and then corrode the metal panel. 
  • The rust – Rust is metal roofing’s enemy because it will eat it, creating holes and water gets through the holes and into the house. Once rust gets into a metal panel, the entire roof requires replacement, making metal roof inspections an absolute must. 

How do you perform a roof inspection?

Here are six steps to follow to perform your own roof inspections.  Because you are not trained on this process, professional roof inspections are valuable even when you don’t find anything. 

  • The Gutters: The gutter system on a home can tell a lot during roof inspections. If they are filled with granules or if they are bent, broke, loose, or missing, they can often indicate problems with the fascia, soffit, or shingles. 
  • The Flashing: If there isn’t flashing in the valley, around the chimney or where roofing angles meet during roofing inspections, it needs to be installed immediately. These are weak areas that water can filtrate under the shingles and into the attic. 
  • Skylights: If your roof is being replaced or refurbished, have the skylights replaced too. Good quality skylights haves a lifespan of 20 years. If the flashing and sealant is missing around them, during normal roof inspections and no new roof is being installed, the flashings should be replaced. 
  • The Stacks: The stacks on top of your roof serve an important purpose of letting exhaust out of the drains so water flows freely. Otherwise, the sewage gas would fill your home.  If the stacks are bent, cracked, or loose, they need to be replaced. 
  • The Chimney: Roof inspections should include checking the chimney and surrounding area. It needs to be accurately assessed for damage like missing mortar, chimney cap, flashing, etc. 
  • The Attic: Close attention during roof inspections should be paid in the attic. Here is where moisture can build up and cause major problems. It needs to be vented yet sealed well. It should have dry insulation and no water stains on the underside of the roof. 

How do you know if you have roof damage?

Warning signs that you may have roof damage that should not be ignored are: 

Water Damage: Roof inspections will check for water stains on the ceilings and walls, typically these are the most noticeable that a homeowner can be aware without roof inspections. 

Shingles: Missing shingles or balding shingles are indication that professional roof inspections are needed for further examination. 

Fascia and Soffit: Deterioration like cracking, decay, missing or rotted wood around these areas are typically from water damage, often from gutter drainage.

Gutter System: As we’ve mentioned earlier, the gutter system will tell professionals during roof inspections there is a problem and as a homeowner, you can use this for a gauge too. 

Poor Ventilation: When looking for possible roof damage, curled shingle edges often indicate the attic has improper venting and cause ice dams in the winter. Aged roofing is also indicated by curled shingles. 

Shingles on garage

How do you check for roof leaks?

Going in the attic is the best way for roof inspections looking for leaks.  Take a flashlight and look for black marks, mildew, mold, moisture, and water stains.  Turning the flashlight off while in attic to see if any daylight is coming through the roof will give you an idea of possible leak locations. 

When should I get roof inspected? As mentioned in the beginning, the roofing industry recommend annual roof inspection as part of homeownership.  You definitely should have a roof inspection done if you find any of the things we’ve mentioned here and if  several of your neighbors are getting a new roof, there is a good chance you need one too. Need a roof inspection in Austin, TX? Call (512) 524-3011 today.