Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
It’s been said that “the shelter of excuses has a leaky roof.” But even if your home’s roof isn’t leaky, don’t lean on weak excuses to avoid roof inspection, maintenance and repair, the pros agree. Because ignoring or postponing needed roof upkeep can be a risky gambit that can result in costly repair bills and indoor health hazards sooner or later.
“It’s vital for homeowners to prioritize roof inspections and maintenance to ensure the longevity and proper functionality of the roofs protecting their homes. By staying vigilant, homeowners can catch any issues and prevent them from escalating to a point where repair becomes impossible – leading to complete roof replacement,” says Shannon McCord, owner of Roofing World.
Neglecting roof maintenance is a no-no that could result in consequences like leaks, water damage, mold growth, structural issues and even potential health hazards indoors.
The best time to have your roof inspected is springtime and autumn – twice a year at least, the experts agree. Fall and spring are ideal seasons because they help identify any damage caused by or before winter weather conditions.
“Aim to inspect every six months, with a preference before storm season hits,” says Neil Gallagher, owner of Sprocket Roofing in Tampa, Florida. “Try to schedule a professional inspection by a roofing company before storm season hits. There are plenty of companies that will provide free inspections.”
A roofing company might even employ a drone for the visual inspection.
Of course, you can attempt to inspect your roof yourself if you are a handy homeowner but be prepared to climb a ladder and walk atop your home so you can visibly scrutinize the condition of your roof.
“If you are able and not afraid of heights, these tasks can be accomplished by the average homeowner with appropriate footwear. Make sure your ladder is safely secured and always have someone home or nearby in case of emergency,” Gallagher adds.
However, Vincent Malizia, COO and co-owner of A1 Roofing in Long Island, New York, doesn’t advise DIY roof inspection/upkeep/repair.
“Homeowners might not know what to look for, and it can be dangerous if they climb a ladder without experience,” he cautions.
The process of effectively inspecting your roof begins by examining all areas of the roof surface for any signs of damage or wear, including cracked shingles or loose flashing – especially around chimneys, vents and skylights. Any signs of damage, including missing or damaged shingles or wear and tear indicators, should be looked for carefully.
“The roof deck should be observed for possible areas of sagging, rot, or sogginess, too,” explains Niki O’Brien, operations manager for Custom Exteriors in Berthoud, Colorado.
Additionally, other spaces need to be checked like attics or crawlspaces to help identify any signs of water intrusion or structural concerns.
“As for maintenance, regular cleaning of gutters and downspouts is crucial at this time,” McCord advises. “Removing debris helps prevent clogs that can lead to water backup or damage over time. It’s also advisable to trim back any overhanging branches near the roof line that could potentially cause harm during storms or high winds.”
Common roof repair chores include repairing leaks, replacing damaged shingles, fixing damaged flashing and addressing issues triggered by debris or fallen branches.
“If you have multiple missing, creased, or damaged shingles spread throughout your roof, it may be in your best interest to replace the roof altogether. If the issue is isolated, a repair may be possible. If you identify soft spots while walking your roof, this is an indicator that your decking may need replacing or a full roof replacement is needed,” adds Gallagher.
Note that the lifespan of a roof can differ depending on factors like weather conditions in your area, the type of roofing materials used and maintenance practices followed. Most roofs require replacement every 20 to 30 years.
“Roof replacement means taking out the existing roof and installing a new one,” continues McCord.
Roof replacement costs are based on a metric called “squares,” which equates to a measurement of approximately 100 square feet. Per HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to replace a roof is $9,166, with prices varying between $5,884 and $12,740.