The roof is the most exposed part of your home, as well as one of the most valuable ones. It provides your protection from the elements, as well as insulation, helping you maintain your interior at optimal temperatures.
In order for the roof to carry out its function properly, it is important that it is in great shape, without any damages that can lead to leaks and more serious problems on your property. Damages and leaks can often happen after strong storms, rains or hail, especially in areas that are prone to that kind of weather conditions.
In order to locate these damages and leaks on time, before they get worse, or in order to prevent them all together, it is important to check your roof regularly. That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide on how to do it yourself and stay on top of any roof issues.
When Should You Inspect Your Roof?
You should check your roof every once in a while, but ideally, at least twice a year – at spring, before the hot temperatures kick in, and at fall, before the rainy and snowy season start. Both hot and cold weather can take a significant toll on your roof, so you should make sure it is in top shape and ready to welcome the harsh weather.
Apart from that, if your area is prone to rains, storms, and hail, it is recommended to check your roof before the storm hits, as well as after. If you hear on the weather forecast that heavy storm is expected, get on the roof and see if there are any minor damages and leaks that need to be fixed, so that you prevent further damages during the storm. And after it, check again to see if there are any new issues.
Staying ahead of problems, as well as noticing them on time will spare you a lot of time and money on greater repairs, it will prolong the lifespan of your roof, and reduce the possibility of a full roof replacement in the future.
Main Steps of Checking Your Roof for Damages and Leaks
1. Start with the Interior and Check for Stains
More often than not, you will first notice the problems with your roof inside your home. When a roof is damaged and leaking, there are certain clues it leaves around your home. So the first thing to do is to go inside and check for any signs of water damage. Look for any water stains on your walls and ceilings, pilling paint, any drippings, as well as mold. All of these are signs that your roof is damaged somewhere and creating a leak.
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2. Go to the Attic
In order to locate exactly where that stains and leaks are coming from, go up to your attic and try to go get above that stain in the ceiling or wall. Once you’re there, the leak will probably be right above you in the roof. However, sometimes it may be harder to find and notice it, so carefully examine the rafters above the stain. Look for stains on the wood or water trails and try to follow them to their highest point and source.
If it is still difficult to locate, then you can ask someone to wet the roof thoroughly with a garden hose, for example, to create a leak while you’re still in the attic and then you’ll be able to find its exact location.
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3. Continue with an Exterior Examination
Once you’ve checked your attic and determined if there were any leaks, now you can go up to the roof and look for signs of any other damages or issues. The first and most obvious thing you will notice is if there is any dirt or debris accumulated on the roof. This can cause the roof to rot or your gutters to clog, so make sure to clean that out.
4. Check for any Obvious Signs of Damage
You can do this by simply taking a closer look at your entire roof, sometimes it is even visible from the ground. Look for any obvious holes, tears, sagging, curled, buckled or damaged shingles or tiles, missing shingles and tiles, and any other signs of wear and tear. If you have problems on only one area, or with just a couple of shingles, it should be easy and affordable to fix it yourself.
Pro tip: If you have an attic area that is poorly ventilated, or if your ventilation is not working there, it can be the cause of your curled and buckled shingles, so make sure to resolve it to prevent further damages to the roof.
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5. Check Your Flashing
Flashing is every piece of metal strip on your roof that is used to seal certain objects, such as vents, chimneys, skylights, satellite dishes and any other object that you may have. These areas can also experience damage from harsh weather and they are also prone to rust and corrosion. In case of the latter, you can wire brush the rust and prime and paint the metal.
Apart from that, make sure everything is sitting tightly against the roof, that nothing is sagging and that there aren’t any gaps where water can seep in. Make sure it is all solid, and if not, or just in case, remove all of the old or cracked sealing caulk and replace it with new completely waterproof silicone sealant.
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6. Check and Unblock Your Gutters
After you’re done with the leaks and shingles of your roof, make sure to check your gutters as well. Clogged gutters and downspouts can also lead to serious damages to your roof and property – water can build up and pool under the eaves, run down your external walls and into the foundations.
Clear all the leaves and other debris from the gutters, check for water pooling, and then also check if there are any holes or tears in them. Check if everything is tightly fixed to the walls, that the pipes are not sagging, and that there are no signs of them coming away.
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Checking your roof every once in a while will help you keep it in top shape, as well as save you a lot of troubles in the long run. By following these six simple steps you will make sure that your roof is ready for harsher weather as well as prevent any greater damage and costly repairs. Stay ahead of the problems and check your roof at least twice a year for damages and leaks.