Inspecting your home’s roof: Where to start?

by Nathalie Champoux

What you’ll learn

  • Why you should get your roof inspected
  • What parts of your roof have to be inspected?
  • What are the benefits of having a professional roofer inspect your roof?
  • What needs to be inspected?
  • What safety measures must be respected when inspecting a roof?

Whether you are about to purchase a new home or have been living in your house for a few years, the roof is an important item to consider in your budget.

In order to prevent leaks, issues during the snowy months of winter, and unforeseen expenses, you should consider having your roof regularly inspected. A roof inspection is one of the best times to also carry out maintenance on it. Let’s find out how.

What needs to be inspected on a roof

The water drain is one of the most important parts of your roof. You must:

  • Avoid having any stagnant water and verify that the water drains properly by removing any dead branches or leaves
  • Make sure that the caulk joints are in good condition (not cracked or even missing)
  • Empty your gutters, if needed

Examine the shingle membrane. If your shingles have corners that are curling upwards, that’s a sign of wear; you’ll need to replace the roof covering in part or entirely in order for it to remain waterproof.

In addition, make sure that you are not missing any metal flashing. Roof flashing is basically pieces of metal that cover certain areas of your roof that your shingles cannot, such as the ventilation shafts or chimney. If the roof flashing is damaged (cracks or bumps) or not sealed, this can quickly cause leaks inside your house.

Should I rely on a professional roofer?

Of course, you can inspect several aspects of your roof on your own; however, it is recommended to call upon the services of a professional roofer if you have any doubts as to the state of your roof.

Professional roofers know exactly what to look for to determine whether your roof is leaking now—or in the near future. Thanks to their expertise and experience, roofers also know how to prolong your roof’s lifespan, which will help to reduce your maintenance costs in the long run.

Professional roofers can also perform thermographic inspections to analyze your home’s roof. With this procedure, a roofing professional can uncover water leaks or mold that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Thermographic inspections also detect that annoying scratching sound you’ve been hearing for the past two weeks. Is it a rodent?

When should I inspect my roof?

Don’t wait until the next storm with freezing rain to have your roof inspected! Even if spring is truly the best time to get your roof inspected, specialists agree that you should take a look at your roof and get rid of any debris that may have fallen on it. As a rule of thumb, a roof should be inspected once or twice a year.

Safety comes first

Don’t forget: when you climb a ladder to inspect your roof, you must be very careful. Don’t go up a ladder with things in your hands and make sure someone is holding the ladder at the bottom or that it’s tied to something very solid.

When you’re on the roof, stay away from electric wires and always maintain a three-point contact (with your two feet and a hand). Use gloves when removing debris and clearing out your gutters.

If you’re uncomfortable with this type of work, learn more about  what you can do to ensure your safety or ask for help.

 
 
Key takeaways
 
  • You should inspect and perform maintenance on your roof at least once a year, ideally in the spring.
  • The water drain, membrane, shingles and flashing are the main roof items to inspect.
  • Thanks to their experience and thermographic tool, roofing professionals can help you to better inspect your roof and provide guidelines for its maintenance.
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