Roofs are built to last 20 years or longer. This assurance of longevity, however, only applies if you invest in maintenance.
Roofs don’t last as long without timely repairs; leaks can show up without warning, even in quality, new roof installations, caused by weather and other unfavorable external factors. When problems are allowed to fester, they become far worse than they have to. It’s important to keep an eye on the health of your roof on a regular basis.
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The difficulty, however, is that roofs aren’t easy to inspect. It can be hard, and even dangerous, to go up there to check things out for yourself. It takes just a little slip-up to cause a serious accident. Even if you do the own the harnesses and other safety equipment needed to get up there, you can do considerable damage to the structure of your roof walking about without knowing where exactly to put your feet.
Since you can’t give up on inspecting your roof, arranging for regular, professional inspections is one way to go. They tend to be expensive when done on a regular basis, however. It’s a better idea to learn how to do a little of the work yourself. You only need a way to keep an eye on your roof without actually climbing up there. Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first.
Check Your Roof from the Inside Out
While you would ideally want to come upon weak spots in your roof before they actually let water through, it’s a good idea to start with a check to see if leaks have begun already. It doesn’t make sense to wait until it rains — even if you do see water dripping down at a point, it doesn’t mean that you’d know where the actual hole in your roof was. Once water makes its way in through a leaky shingle, it can run within the structure of your roof and drip down at an entirely different point.
All you need to do is to get into your attic on a bright day and look up at the rafters to see if you can catch chinks letting spots of light in. While you won’t usually see any spots the light unless your roof is in very bad shape, it’s still worth a try.
It’s good news if you don’t see any little chinks. You should keep going, and check for other signs of a leakage problem — spots with water stains or mold are a good giveaway. Get a professional to have a look, it couldn’t hurt to get a quote on a new roof.
If you can get a good look at parts of your roof from a gable window, you should give it a go. Whatever parts of your roof you may be able to see, they should give you a good idea of the shape the rest of the structure is in.
If you don’t have a conveniently placed window, it’s a good idea to grab a pair of good binoculars and take them across the street. When you locate a spot where you can get a good look at your roof, you’ll be able to carefully go over every square-foot and check for damage. You need to look for missing shingles, areas that are markedly darker, and damaged flashing.
Check Your Gutters
Roofing shingles on their last legs are known to shed granules of material. When these granules begin to come off, there’s usually plenty of it in your rain gutters. Checking the place on the ground where the rain gutter discharges, can work too. You could find a little powder that tells you what’s going on.
While you are up on the ladder, a careful look at the eave overhangs is a good idea. If there is any water damage, it’s your sign that there’s a major problem developing.
Get a Drone
If you can rent a drone for a couple of hours, your roof inspections quickly become easier. All you need to do is to fly the drone around every part of the roof for an up-close look. You can then check out the footage to get the best possible view. Drones are actually very popular today with both home inspectors and insurance inspectors. If you have a choice, you should get a model that comes with a 4K camera; they cost about $500 to buy, but you do need this level of detail.
You do have a number of workable options when it comes checking your roof without actually getting up on it. The best part is, these are easy to try. A few minutes invested once a month and after every storm should make problems with your roof easy to catch just as they start up.
Peter Talbot is using his unexpected free time (he’s a construction worker who broke his leg in an accident) to write some articles related to building.