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Your roof is one of the most vital parts of your home. It protects your home from water and storm damage. Roof issues can lead to leaks, structural problems, and damaged insulation. Plus, a roof replacement can be one of the costliest home improvements. That’s why it’s critical to think about your roof before there is an obvious issue.

Routine roof inspections can save money by alerting you to minor issues before they become significant, expensive ones. You can ensure that your roof is in good shape and able to do its job of protecting your home from nature’s rain, wind, snow, and storms. Homeowners can conduct their own roof inspections with information in hand about how often to inspect and what to look for. They should also know when to call in a professional and be knowledgeable about their home insurance coverage.

When Should You Inspect Your Roof?

Twice-Yearly Routine Inspections

Experts recommend you do a routine inspection of your roof twice a year, in the spring and fall. Early spring inspections, especially in areas with heavy snowfall or ice storms, are a time to look for and repair any winter weather damage. If you live in an area with an active hurricane season, this is also the time to ensure your roof is in good shape to handle those storms. Fall inspections are about preparing your roof for winter weather conditions and addressing any summer weather damage.

Post Storm Inspections

In addition to routine inspections, check your roof for damage after any storms with high winds, falling tree branches, or heavy snow. Hail storms can be especially damaging to roofs. Keep in mind that even smaller storms or consistent weather, such as a series of windy days, can create snowballing damage.

What Should You Look For?

During Routine Checks

You can do much of your inspection for your spring and fall routine checks from the ground. Look for debris and moss, as both can capture moisture leading to roof damage. Inspect for warped, buckled, damaged, or missing shingles or tiles. Damage to your shingles can allow for direct exposure of the elements and possibly lead to structural damage and leaks. Look for corrosion, dents, rusting, and separation between panels on metal roofs.

Also, look for sagging in your roof, rotting wood, or other signs of aging. Check your roof’s flashings—the pieces of metal that direct water flows down—for any damage. This is also a good time to check the trees near your roof and make sure that you don’t have any branches touching or too close that could cause damage in stormy weather. If you have an attic, look from the inside to assess any leaks or other issues.

After a Storm

Again, start your inspection from the ground after a storm. Look for debris on your roof or any visible damage. Damage may include broken, buckled, loose, or missing shingles or tiles. It may also include loose panels, buckling, dents, or other damage to metal roofs. Hail damage will appear as pockmarks on your roof. Check gutters, skylights, chimneys, and satellite dishes for broken or missing pieces.

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Climbing the Ladder

If you can see damage or debris from the ground, pull out your ladder or call in a professional. If you have a suitable ladder and are comfortable climbing it yourself, you can remove debris and address minor damage, such as missing shingles, on your own. You can also likely remove moss with your hands, but you may need to use a moss killer if it’s been there a while.

Climbing a ladder is a potentially dangerous activity without the proper equipment and safety guidelines. Ensure that your ladder is tall enough for you to see your roof up close without needing to be on the upper rungs. Ensure that locking features are working correctly. If possible, ask a family member or neighbor to hold the ladder in place and stay nearby in case there is an issue.

When to Call In a Pro?

It’s never a bad idea to have a reputable roofing company do your bi-annual inspections since they know exactly what to look for and how to do simple repairs efficiently. Call a professional if you see debris or damage from the ground and aren’t comfortable climbing ladders or don’t have the proper equipment.

You should call a roofing company any time there is severe roof damage. If more than a third of your shingles have damage after a storm, you may have to replace the roof. If your roof is older than 10 years, the chances of needing a replacement increase. You should deal with all issues immediately and keep up with regular maintenance.

Know Your Home insurance

Knowing what your home insurance covers is a critical aspect of your roof maintenance and repair. Find out if it covers annual inspections and minor repairs or only severe damage. Ensure that you have complete coverage for any typical weather in your area, such as hail.

Don’t let your fear of costly roof replacements keep you from doing routine and post-storm checks. It is always better to catch and resolve minor issues right away. And, if you do need a new roof, know that it is one of the best investments you can make to keep your home and family protected.