Why a Roof Inspection Is Important for Homeowners

Author: Lee Polevoi
May 15, 2020

Many homeowners put off getting a roof inspection for a variety of reasons. They may be concerned about choosing a reliable contractor, or they may simply not understand why an inspection is important. Learn what a roofing inspection covers, who's qualified to conduct one and how you can go about finding that person or company.

The value of a professional roof inspection
Checking a roof for wear and tear.

Why Inspecting Your Roof is Important

Everyone who owns a house naturally wants to know if the roof is structurally intact and will last for years to come. A quality roof inspection can address these concerns. Inspections are crucial for identifying small problems before they become costly catastrophes; a tiny leak can suddenly become a flood in the event of a storm.

An annual inspection enables homeowners to stay on top of any current problems while becoming wise to bigger risks down the road. Compare an annual inspection to your regular dentist's visit, suggests the Iowa Sioux City Journal. You may not think you have a cavity (or faulty gutters), but a seasoned pro can help you identify problems before they worsen.

What a Quality Roof Inspection Covers

A comprehensive inspection checks all parts of your roof: shingles, metal or tiles, plus vents, drainage and underlayment. An inspector is on the lookout for:

  • Leaks, cracks or rust.
  • Out-of-the-ordinary wear and tear.
  • Weather damage.
  • Missing or damaged shingles.
  • Mold or fungus.
  • Problems stemming from how shingles were initially installed.
  • Damage to vents, gutters or chimneys.

Overall, a professional inspection seeks to identify minor or larger-scale structural problems, while also assessing the quality of materials used in a roof. Quality is a particular concern if there are significant stains, rusting or mold.

An inspector may also conduct an interior check of your attic, walls and ceilings. Evidence of mold or water stains is obviously a cause for concern, as it indicates leaking that should be addressed immediately.

Go Pro, Don't DIY

You may have heard that homeowners can do their own inspections. When shingles go missing or water leaks from the ceiling, it's true that you don't need a contractor's license to realize your roof is in trouble. But most types of serious roof damage aren't as easy to detect. A professional roof inspector is trained to find the problems beneath the surface.

Roof inspectors know what they're looking at, but, more importantly, they're equipped with resources unavailable to a typical homeowner. Infrared roof inspections, for example, hunt down any invisible "hot spots" in a roof where heat is escaping. A professional roofer also knows how to check sub-surface structural integrity and evaluate the insulation, ventilation and moisture levels.

If that's not enough to convince you to go pro for your next inspection, think about the safety factor. Most homeowners have no experience traipsing around on top of a building, and no knowledge of how to be safe in the process. A professional inspector has the equipment and know-how to proceed with minimal risk.

If you live in a climate with harsh winters, get your roof inspected annually as soon as the leaves start to turn in the fall. An inspector can spot any problems before they are exacerbated by damage from snow and ice.

Finding a Reliable Roofer

Start your search for a professional roof inspector online. Look for a business that is actively involved in associations and initiatives that support contractors in the roofing industry. This is a sign the roofer is staying up to date on industry best practices and technology.

The National Roofing Contractors Association's "Find an NRCA Contractor" tool is also a good source for information. Finally, if you know a neighbor, friend or real estate agent who has had an inspection done, ask them if they can recommend an experienced and diligent roofer.

When it comes to having a roof over your head, you can't overemphasize the importance of structural integrity and protection against the elements. A quality inspection can start the process of repairing any damage and bring you peace of mind for years to come.

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