If you are unfamiliar with home repair, you are likely not surveying your roof on a regular basis. Every Spring and Fall you should be checking and maintaining your roof inside and out. If you roof isn’t that old (i.e. less than about 20 years old), and you do not live in an area with harsh climate, chances are your entire roof will not need to be changed. But how do you know if your roof is compromised in any way?
If you go up into your attic with a flashlight, you should not be able to detect any type of moldy odor. If you do, you should look for small breaches and leaks in your roof. Inspect all of the wooden areas of your roof because wood is especially susceptible to rot and mold. Small leaks can manifest as small pinholes of outside light shining into the attic, dark spots on the wood, and/or inward sagging.
Outside, you will need to climb to your roof and walk your entire roof, taking inventory of what you see. Signs that you need to repair your roof include:
- Cracked, brittle or torn shingles. Cracks and tears allow water to seep through and catch water under the shingle, causing the wood underneath to rot. Shingles age over time and, depending on what each shingle is exposed to, will age and become brittle one by one.
- Missing shingles. If you live in an area that experiences hurricanes, tornados or other high wind situations, you may have some missing shingles. This is akin to having a hole in your clothing. Missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
- Check your gutters and drain pipes for correct attachment and integrity. If there is not adequate drainage off of your roof, your roof can be damaged.
- Check the flashing on the top of your roof and around your chimney. Make sure your flashing is attached where it should be and not worn.
- Clean out the ventilation system. A blocked ventilation system can catch moisture and fungus, compromising the overall integrity of the roof.
- Sagging roof. If you can feel the roof sag under your weight or see the roof sagging, you may need more than just repair work. You may need to replace all of the wooden support under the shingles.
- Distorted or curling shingles. If shingles are not properly installed, they can curl at the edges or become ‘wavy’. These shingles need to be replaced promptly and the remaining shingles inspected closely for problems.
Regular maintenance and repair can help your roof last up to the lifetime of the home. Without regular care, however, you may be looking at a large repair bill.