The roof of your home is the one thing that, if it fails, will lead to deterioration and the ultimate destruction of the rest of the property. We are locked into a constant battle with the elements, and a sound roof structure is our front line of defense. That is why it is vital to inspect it on an annual basis, and identify any issues before they become too damaging.
It sounds complicated, but in reality the inspection is easy; anyone can do it even if they have no idea about construction. You will find some useful tips here to guide you through the inspection process. It only takes an hour or two and will, hopefully, give you peace of mind that all is well up there and that you can forget about it for another year.
Here is the basic equipment you will need.
- Damp Meter (battery powered and inexpensive)
- Step Ladders
- Binoculars or Telescope
Move away from the house so that you have an unobstructed view of the roof. Using the binoculars or telescope begin a visual inspection of the tiles or shingles. Take your time and look at every part of the roof in detail. If you see something amiss, maybe missing or displaced tiles, make a note of it for later. Pay particular attention to the ridge tiles because high winds can displace them. If you do spot a few problems don’t panic; they are easy to replace.
Zoom in and look closely at the lead flashing that makes a waterproof seal to joints in the roof and around chimneys. If you see a lot of moss growing where the flashing meets the brickwork around the chimney, it could indicate that there is a problem there. Unfortunately, the only way to be sure is to climb a ladder and look more closely. Scrape the moss away and see if the lead is still firmly in place.
While you are up there, check the mortar courses of the chimney. You may find that it needs repointing. Prod the mortar with a screwdriver to see if it has become loose or flaky.
Climb into the loft and look at the structural timbers. Use the damp meter to see if the woodwork is dry and use a screwdriver to seek out rotten wood. Sometimes, where there has been a leak, you will find dry or wet rot. They are fungal infestations that destroy wood. Wet rot will not usually spread beyond the moist area so the repairs will be local, but dry rot will attack all of the timber in the roof if it is left unchecked. If you find extensive damage, the only option is to replace the entire structure. Call Iron River Construction in Minneapolis immediate advice.
While you are in the loft, turn off all of the lights and see if you can see daylight getting in where it shouldn’t. Good ventilation is essential up there so you will see some light through the vents, but you may spot it getting through where there should be none. If you do, it may just be a missing or loose tile, so check from the outside again.
I do hope that this information will not give you nightmares. There is a high probability that your roof is fine, but use this simple inspection to make sure. The roof is an area where spending a little can save you a lot, so fix problems early; you will be glad you did.