One of the more effective measures in roof maintenance is frequent roof inspection. This comprehensive inspection should be undertaken by an experienced professional roofing contractor, or a licensed home inspector. Generally, a roof inspection is carried out with a visual inspection of all aspects of the roofing construction, from both the interior and exterior of the structure.
Proper roof installation is, of course, one of the most critical aspects of building construction. A well-constructed roof assures the longevity of the structure, as well as the comfort of the structure’s occupants. It is also the most exposed aspect of any building, and competent roofers are well aware of the construction techniques and materials necessary for a roof to stand up to weather and abuse. Part of any roofing project involves the implication that frequent and competent roof inspections will be undertaken on a regular basis.
As a rule, a roofing inspector will begin the roof inspection by locating the various dormers, chimneys, crickets, gutters, and any flashing points needing special attention. A closer inspection may be made, especially of the condition of the roof surfacing material — with binoculars for a difficult, higher pitched roof — or by actually accessing a lower pitched, or a flat roof. Obviously the exterior inspection will focus on the condition of the roof surface, exposed flashing, gutters, and chimney construction.
A proper roof inspection is also undertaken from inside the structure, as well. Inspection of eves, interior chimney surfaces, fasteners, roof braces, and support materials, such as the condition of the plywood sheathing for a wood roof, is often an indication where closer exterior inspection is needed. A proper roof inspection will take from three-quarters of an hour to several hours, depending on the size and complexity of the roof.
Some common problems addressed in a roof inspection are blistering due to trapped water vapor, open laps around flashing due to poor adhesion of membrane to metal flashing, splitting of roof surface material, deteriorating or loose flashing, and fastener issues. Older roofs are inspected for brittleness and surface deterioration, while newer roofs are notable for showing settlement problems that are easily corrected. Crumbling chimneys and loose or defective gutters are also included in the issues to be addressed in a roof inspection.
Roof repair need not be extensive or costly if proper roof inspections are carried out on a regular basis. Having a roof inspected is intended to detect and repair small defects before they become big problems. Catastrophic roof failure essentially dooms a structure, no matter how well the rest of the building is constructed.