Often the first indication for homeowners that their roof is damaged is when they notice water entering through a leak. Of course, a leak can occur as a result of direct damage, such as a branch falling on it, but more than often leaks can be reduced in severity by checking your roof regularly. A serious roof leak can cause damage to the structure or contents of your home, so dealing with it as soon as it happens is important.
The best time of year to check your roof for warning signs of damage is in spring or summer. Leaves that fall in autumn can cover up leaks, and winter rain can make it dangerous to access your roof. Besides, you want to fix any leaks before the rainy season hits.
It’s wise to check your roof annually, and as soon as possible if your area has experienced a big storm or violent winds. You need to see if the extreme weather has damaged the roof in any way. If your roof is old, typically more than 20 years, you should inspect it more regularly as it’s likely out of its warranty and nearing the end of its lifespan, which makes it more vulnerable to damage.
If you spot any signs of a leak, moisture, mildew or mould, call in a professional roofing contractor to find the source of the problem.
Make sure you cover an inspection of the following roof components:
- On the roof surface, check for missing tiles but also any indication of cracking, warping, rot or areas that may be loose. Ensure there is no standing water or debris that needs to be removed, and any signs of moss or mould should be investigated further.
- Flashing is a piece of metal that’s used to cover the chimney area and venting pipes. Any flashing that is lifting or faulty will let in the rain when there is a storm. It should be fixed promptly. Look for cracking, denting or signs of rust.
- Roof overhangs are easy to inspect, and any signs of peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs is a sign that there might be issues with moisture.
- Gutters ensure water is efficiently removed from the roof. Make sure they are cleared of leaves and debris.
- Climb into the attic to inspect the underside of the roof. You want to check for any signs of leaks or holes (you’ll see the light entering from the outside) and sagging. Use your phone camera to take photographs of any areas that you suspect are of concern and consult roofing professional to do a thorough inspection. It’s helpful to have a sense of the problems you are up against before you call in a roofer. It also makes it easier to get an idea of the costs involved.
Safety, when checking your roof, should be a priority. Use quality binoculars to check the outside of your roof from the ground to avoid climbing on the roof. Walking on tiles in itself can damage them. Alternatively, place a robust extension ladder against your roof to undertake an inspection. Place it on level ground, away from doors and extend it at least a metre above the edge of the roof.
Did you know that damp wood could conduct electricity? A fiberglass ladder is preferable to an aluminum one as it eliminates your risk of being electrocuted if there is any loose wiring in your roof or from power lines. It’s also wise to enlist the help of a friend or family member before you attempt to inspect your roof. If this isn’t possible, let someone know you will be climbing on your roof and ask them to check up on you.
Always wear shoes with rubber soles and make sure they have good treads. You need traction on a roof to prevent you from slipping. Keep in mind that you could easily be hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing, and it’s always safer to call in a roofing contractor to undertake your roof inspection.