How to inspect your roof and do it safely

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New homeowners learn quickly how important it is to stay on top of home maintenance tasks if they want to keep their home in good shape. One of the key aspects of the home that needs to be well-maintained is the roof. Anyone who has had a roof leak go unchecked can tell you how disastrous it can be. When a roof leak gets out of hand, it doesnít take long to cost you thousands of dollars. It can lead to rot in your ceilings and walls and can damage your property inside your home. Roofing experts stress that now is the best time to inspect your roof before the weather turns cold.

When to inspect your roof

Most roofers suggest inspecting your roof at least once a year, and preferably twice. You should definitely be inspecting your roof in the late summer or early fall to make sure itís in good shape for the upcoming harsh winter weather. Winter tends to be the hardest time of the year for your roof so if itís not up to the task of protecting your home, the winter will take a serious toll on your home. If youíre inspecting twice a year, then the second time would be just after the winter to see how it held up. You may need to inspect multiple times per year if you experience especially harsh weather; itís good to inspect your roof after a major storm in case thereís damage and you need to file a claim with your insurance company.

What to look for

There are five key areas youíll want to check when inspecting your roof.

.The shingles themselves. First check the roof shingles. Youíre looking for any cracked, warped, loose, or missing shingles. Other issues might include moss, mold, or water that is pooling up on your roofís surface or debris that is accumulating.

.The flashing. Flashing is a metal underlayer. Watch for rust, cracks, or dents in the flashing as that can lead to water getting inside your home.

.The roof overhang. If paint is peeling on the underside of your roof overhang, thatís a sign that there is moisture there and needs to be looked at by a professional.

.Rain gutters. Your rain gutters should be kept clear of debris such as leaves, branches, dirt, and dislodged shingles. If you notice colored granules from your aging shingles, itís a sign your roof needs replacing soon.

.The attic. Finally, you should check the underside of your roof by heading into the attic space and looking for any signs of water damage there.

How to do it safely

The safest course of action is to have a licensed roofing contractor and perform the inspection. If you want to do it yourself however, make sure you inspect the roof on a day where the weather is good (no rain, snow, or strong winds). Use a sturdy ladder and make sure itís on level ground. Wear rubber-soled shoes with good tread so you have traction when walking on the roof. Most importantly, donít work alone. Have a buddy to steady the ladder and to be there just in case thereís an emergency.

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