Spring and fall are good times to inspect your roof and gutters. A routine roof inspection can usually find a problem before it becomes a major repair. Finding a problem early can save you a lot of money.
If at all possible, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof twice a year. Roofs are dangerous places and an accident can result in serious injury or even death. To quote the late JP Getty, who knew a thing or two about money, "If money will solve your problem, you do not have a problem.
It's always safer and wiser to pay a roofer to inspect and repair your roof.
When hiring a professional roofer, be sure they have an established place of business and that they are licensed, insured and bonded. Also be sure the roofer has a permanent telephone and a tax identification number. A professional roofer will freely offer photocopies of all credentials. Many roofers are also certified by roofing manufacturers.
If, however, instead of hiring a professional roofer, you prefer to inspect your roof yourself, here are some things to keep in mind.
Begin with safety as your first priority.
Make sure the ladder is set up on solid, level ground.
• Tie the ladder top to the roof or eave to keep it from tilting or falling.
• Inspect the ladder for weakness, rot or damage.
• Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the eaves.
• Angle the ladder away from the wall at least 1 foot for every 4 feet of rise.
While on the ladder, use both hands to firm grip the rungs and climb. And always keep three points of contact with the ladder.
Once on the roof, or at the eave level, look for shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering. These are signs that the shingles are at the end of their life expectancy and will soon fail.
Also look for loose material and damage where pipes and chimneys penetrate the roof. These are notorious for failure and leaks. This is usually where a roof will fail first.
If you have gutters, inspect them for shingle granules, the tiny grit that protects shingles from the sun's ultraviolet rays. An excessive amount of granules in the gutter is also a sign that the shingles are at the end of their expected life.
Remember to inspect the roof from the attic space too. Sometimes water stains and damage will be apparent from below. Obviously water stains on the interior ceilings and wall should also be noted.
If damaged is detected, it's time to hire a professional roofer to either make repairs of install a new roof. When hiring a roofer, it's critical to do some homework. Not everyone with a hammer is a roofer. It takes a professional to know the materials and how to properly install them to assure a watertight seal that will protect your home from decades.
In addition to the credentialed mentioned above, when hiring a professional roofer, be sure to check the references and warranties each prospective roofer offers.
Most professionals are also certified by roofing materials manufacturers and will be listed on the manufacturer's website as an approved installer. Such relationships are often essential to insure a warranty is valid and enforceable.