Does Your Roof Need to be Replaced?
Roofs do more work than we give them credit for. It’s up there every day keeping your protected from the elements. In the winter, it blocks the cold and the snow and, if well-insulated, helps to retain all your home’s lovely heat. In the summer it blocks out the rain and the scorching sun. 365 days a year, your roof does its job faithfully; so you should be faithful to your roof!
If your roof is in poor condition, you could be compromising the integrity of your house. Leaks can easily damage structures and electronics under your roof. Consistently wet areas can grow mold that can damage your house and pose a serious health hazard.
How to check your roof: Outside
If your roof is easily accessible by a ladder, then the easiest way to check it is to climb up and walk around. If your roof is taller or steeper, then inspect what you can from ladders and inspect treacherous sections from the ground with binoculars.
If you are comfortable with working on ladders, be sure to practice safety. Always have your ladder at the proper angle and firmly footed. (For a full rundown of more ladder-use safety tips, click here). If you don’t own any ladders suitable for the job, be sure to check with Koopman Rental. We have a variety of extension ladders and powered lift options available. If you are unable or unwilling to work on ladders, consider hiring a contractor.
When you inspect your roof, you should be looking for:
- Shingles that are cracked, bald or torn away completely.
- If only a few shingles looked damaged or are missing, you may consider just repairing the roof. If a quarter or more of the shingles are damaged or missing, it’s time to replace the whole roof.
- Signs of wear or cracks near chimneys, vents and valleys.
- Sometimes the damage can hide in the corners, leave no part of your roof unchecked!
- Granules of roofing material collected in the gutters (they look like large grains of sand).
- Small granules of shingle material found in the gutters can be a late sign of wear on your roof. The more granules you find, the balder your shingles will be.
- Rusted or missing flashing (flashing is the metal material that goes around chimneys, skylights, vents and in valleys).
- Damaged or missing flashing can be an easy entrance for moisture.
- Loose or damaged drainage
- Make sure that all drainage is secured safely to your house, as well as clear from obstructions. Don’t forget to check for shingle granules!
After you’ve examined the outside, it time to check underneath. Grab your flashlight because we’re going to the attic!
How to check your roof: Inside
Your attic is an excellent indicator of problems your roof may be facing. Inside your attic, you will be able to more structural faults, as well as see more signs of leakage then your would outside. Here’s what to look out for while you’re up there:
- Areas where the roof is sagging or bowing inwards.
- Dark spots on the walls or ceiling.
- Visible signs of moisture penetration or leaking.
- Light is coming in through the roof.
Any of these signs is an indication that the integrity of your roof has been compromised. Further inspection is needed.
If you find a dark spot on your wood , test it to determine if it is old or a new problem. If the spot is still wet, or if it is soft when you press a screwdriver to it, the spot is a current problem.
Signs of water damage or leaking (usually in the form of water stains, or sagging ceilings) could be from either an active leak in the roof or to collected condensation caused by poor ventilation.
I Have a Problem!!
If your roof has problem areas that need to fixed, you should call in a professional to get an opinion or a quote about your situation. Every roofing situation is unique. It is helpful to get an expert’s opinion (or 2) on what your particular needs are.
Minor damage and leaks can be fixed up without replacing the whole roof. A professional roofer will know how to properly install flashing, ice and water shield and ventilation to remedy your situation.
If your roof hasn’t been maintained well throughout the years, it may need to be completely replaced. Asphalt shingles are the mostly commonly used roofing material. They perform well under normal conditions. In Northern New England, lightweight standing-seam metal roofs are also quite common since they handle snow so well.
Some more stylish looks; such as cedar shakes, slate and tile can give a unique look. Beware, though! Slate and tile might look great (really, they just look awesome) but they are a hefty material! You should get a professional opinion on whether or not your roof could support such material.
Your roof is an extremely important part of your home’s structure. You should treat its maintenance with respect. Make sure you have enough time to give a thorough inspection of your roof. Make sure that you get outside opinions. A small problem today could be a significant problem next year. A significant problem today could be a very costly, unavoidable repair next year. Come to a Koopman Lumber store near you today and ask our in-house experts about your roof. You can also contact us online or by phone. Let our experts help keep a roof over your head!