Your roof is one of the most important components of your home and is easily overlooked. Inspecting your roof is not a difficult task. If you roof is easily walkable, this is the best way to inspect. If not, or you are uncomfortable with heights, a ground inspection with binoculars is another way to inspect your roof.
Look at all areas with what I call an overview shot. If you notice something that does not look like all other areas, a more thorough up-close inspection is needed. If your roof is asphalt shingle, look for lifted, cracked or missing shingles. Also nail pops and exposed nail heads are often seen. A nail pop is when the nail either backs out or was not driven in properly during installation. All these problems need to be addressed to prevent damage.
Granule loss is common and will continue with age. If your roof is another material, such as concrete tile, wood, rolled or rubber membrane, I still prefer to give the roof an overview looking for areas that stand out and then give a closer look. All roof types have inherent problems. Concrete tiles may have cracked, broken and missing tiles. Flat roofs with rubber may have pooling water. Rolled roofing is typically used on pitches not suitable for asphalt shingles. Upon closer examination, you may be able to identify the situation further. If not, there is always the internet or licensed professionals.
Other areas of concern are any penetrations through the roof such as plumbing vents, chimneys and skylights. Damaged or missing flashing should be examined thoroughly. Satellite dishes installed over the roofing are usually installed with screws that are not properly sealed. This is most often seen in the attic. Another good way to determine roof leaks is in the attic. Stains and wood decay often is seen there before showing up in living space. This will give you a geographical location of where to look outside for the cause. Hopefully, when you look in your attic, there will be nothing of concern. Also knowing the age of your roof and average life expectancy will aid you when inspecting.
If you are not comfortable performing this task or are having issues with your roof, I would recommend a licensed roofing contractor for assistance.
Contributed by: Sterling Home Inspection Services