Roof Inspection Guide for Homeowners
Few things are as important for Los Angeles homeowners as a routine inspection. Roof inspections are the key to finding damage early and maximizing the longevity of your roof. Moreover, a proper inspection can give you peace of mind, ensuring that there are no leaks or potential problems lingering above your head - this is especially important as the wetter months have arrived in LA.
It is important to keep in mind that just because a roof looks good at first glance, that might not be the case. Even if there is no debris or damage, the integrity of a roof will decrease over time, requiring maintenance on a regular basis. Catching problems early will also help avoid costly repairs down the line.
In the following article, you will find everything you need to know about roof inspections, including a general guide on how to do one.
Roof Inspection Basics
Everything from severe weather conditions to everyday wear and tear can degrade a roof. There can also be issues caused by poor construction, improper designs, and more. When that happens, more serious problems can occur. Regular roof inspections are the best way to avoid these problems, catching problems as soon as they appear.
Some of the basics to know before you learn about the actual inspection process including how long it will take, when it should be scheduled, the different parts of an inspection, and the cost. It is also useful to know how it was done right and where to go after an inspection, which will be covered below.
How Long an Inspection Takes
There is no precise estimate for how long a roof inspection will take since it largely depends on how easily it is accessed and the size of the roof. The slope, material, and design can also impact how long it takes, though no matter how complicated it is, it will not take more than a few hours. Usually, it will take under an hour.
Part of what makes roof inspections easier these days is the addition of drones. They allow people to cut time off of an inspection, and using one is almost standard practice for professionals. Chances are, it will take longer to get someone out than it will to have the inspection done, especially if the area has experienced severe weather.
When You Should Schedule an Inspection
Annual inspections are a good idea, but it is not necessary every year. Instead, you can spread things out depending on the roof type. An asphalt roof needs an inspection once every three years, while a metal roof needs one every five or six years. Climates with heavy snow or rain can increase the wear and tear, warranting more inspections.
There are other times when you will want to get one in advance, such as severe weather like hail, blizzards, and high winds that might damage the roof. You might also consider getting an inspection after thunderstorms, heavy rain, and snow if you have reason to believe it might have impacted your roof.
Additionally, if you plan to sell your home, it is a good idea to have an inspection done. Roofs can be a major selling point, so you will want to make sure you replace an old roof and fix any damage before showing it to buyers.
There is also a better time of the year to get an inspection, which is around fall. Winter means cold weather and ice, while spring means snowmelt, which means water. If there is already damage, these factors can make matters worse. Fall provides the opportunity to find and fix damage before it gets worse.
Parts to an Inspection
Regardless of whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, an inspection starts by looking for obvious signs of damage or leaks. Wear and tear from aging is also a major focal point for any inspection, especially with old roofs. To further break it down, inspections are generally broken into four categories:
In a more general sense, there is an exterior and interior inspection. The exterior inspection covers checking the roof from the ground and by using a ladder to climb up. The inspection looks for damaged shingles and loose granules, and it involves checking the “joints” as well.
The interior inspection looks for problems that might not be easy to spot through an exterior inspection. That includes difficult leaks, which leave water stains. Problems like sagging or mold are also dead giveaways that something is wrong.
Cost of an Inspection
If you decide to do the inspection yourself, you will only need to pay for any equipment you do not have. On the other hand, a professional inspection will usually cost you a few hundred dollars, depending on where you live, what type of inspection you get, and access availability.
Basic inspections will be around $200 or $300, while inspections utilizing special equipment like drones or thermal imaging might cost around $500 or $600. Though, you might be able to receive a complimentary inspection, especially if there has been severe weather conditions that caused a lot of damage in the area. You can get a free quote with Bumble Roofing by filling out our short contact form.
How to Determine It Was Done Right
Watching the inspector do his job is a good way to know the job was done right. At the end of the inspection, you will receive a written report that will list details of the inspection that you can crosscheck with what you saw. How detailed the report is will also tell you how thorough an inspection was done.
Additionally, ensure that the inspector goes around personally, even if they are using a drone. While a drone is a useful tool, it is still important that the professional gets a close look at everything.
Lastly, make sure you ask plenty of questions. You should receive detailed answers specific to your roof and any issues observed.
What to Do After an Inspection
If you did your own inspection, you can consider making any repairs you can do yourself. Otherwise, if there is damage you cannot fix, you will want to call a professional. Moreover, they should perform their own inspection to confirm and look for any other signs of damage.
If you hired a professional, it is likely that they will recommend necessary repairs and provide an estimate for the work. They will also be able to tell you what needs to be fixed immediately.
Doing It Yourself Versus Hiring a Pro
Most people will recommend hiring a professional to inspect your roof, simply because they are more familiar with signs of a problem. They also have specialized equipment and knowledge that will make the inspection faster and more accurate. That means nothing will be missed, and you will not have to get on a roof. Plus, when they are done, they can give you a quick estimate for fixing any problems.
However, doing it yourself is an option,.and it is especially useful as a measure to look for damage between annual inspections by a professional. Doing it yourself also comes with the benefit that it does not cost anything. The only problem is that you might miss something, especially in areas such as valleys, attic vents, and roof overhangs.
An inspection should begin on the ground, with attention on the drainage system. The key is to look for worn areas or signs of damage that needs to be repaired. Once that is done, a ladder is used to get a better view of the roof, gutters, and everything else. The goal is to check for damaged shingles, granules, leaks, and any other problem spots.
During an exterior inspection, the following are some of the things that should be looked for:
- Bent, rusty, or damaged flashing
- Cracked or worn seals around penetrations
- Missing, damaged, or curling shingles
- Moss, mold, or rot
- Leaks or holes
- Sagging or other signs of structural damage
The exact things to look for will depend on multiple factors, such as the type of roof and material used. For instance, rolled roofing is prone to blisters when moisture gets trapped underneath. It is also important to check joints, including dormers and valleys, to ensure everything is sealed.
When performing an exterior inspection, an inspector might use washable chalk to mark certain areas, ensuring they remember to get everything in the report.
Interior inspections target everything that is not visible from the outside. It is especially important since insulation and ventilation matter for the longevity of a roof. Just like outside, signs of sagging, mold, rot, or moisture will set off red flags and require repairs. Moreover, when it is occurring inside, there is a high chance there will be some structural problems.
During an interior inspection, the following are some of the things that should be looked for:
- Moisture around fireplaces, skylights, and pipes
- Mold or rot on the rafters or near any leaks
- Water stains on the walls or ceilings
- Concave areas on the ceiling
- Peeling paint
- Light coming in through the attic
If there are problems found during an interior inspection, they can be used to find the problem on the roof. Therefore, it is important that the location of interior problems is properly recorded.