Inspecting the roof of your home before you clean the gutters will give you a better idea of how well it survived winter and if it’s in need of repairs, minor or otherwise. It can be done from the ground with binoculars or from a ladder – it’s always advisable to avoid walking on the roof itself. Here are some tips about what to look for when inspecting your roof this spring.
Over time, environmental and climatic conditions such as wind erosion, pollution, heavy rains and the effect of UV rays can age a roofing system. Different roofing materials display different signs of aging.
Shingles: Ensure there are no raised nail heads; discoloration from algae, moss or lichens; and/or “bald” spots from washed away granules. Roofing shingles shouldn’t be cracked or curling at the edges.
Metal: Signs a metal roof has been compromised include warping, buckling, loose screws and worn caulking.
Tile: Make sure none of the tiles are chipped, broken or cracked. Look for algae, moss or mold that can harm the underlayment (layer of material between the tile and the roof).
No matter what the roof is made, it should be in good shape: no sagging, loose and missing tiles or shingles, or noticeable gaps in between each tile. Especially if trees grow nearby, check for pests using your roof as a highway and for other signs of animal damage. Flashings, the material around pipes, vents or other protrusions, should fit properly, be anchored correctly and show no signs of damage.
Fascia is exterior trim covering parts of the roof such as the ends of the rafters that would otherwise be exposed. When fascia boards are rotted, the most probable cause is water damage; if split or warped, they’ve been exposed to too much sun or other causes of weathering. While not all gutter systems are attached to the fascia, it still has to be “healthy” enough to protect your roof.
Gutters, an integral part of a roofing system, must be fully functional in order to prevent water damage. Outside the gutters, examine them for discoloration, surface damage like peeling or scratches, and sagging. Inside the gutters, check for clogs, nests and large deposits of roof granules.