When it comes to being a homeowner there is nothing as important as being proactive in preventing potential small issues from developing into extensive (and expensive) problems. Even homeowners that don’t have an ounce of handyman experience can still regularly inspect their home in order to catch these potential problems.

A roof inspection should be done annually, yet far too often the roof is ignored since it isn’t something homeowners look at on a daily basis. This is why it seems so surprising when you find blown off roof shingles, notice moss growing on a shaded side of your roof, or suddenly have a leak. Vast majority of these types of fairly common roof problems can be avoided by inspecting the roof at least once a year and ideally after any significant weather happening, such as a storm.

Here are some things you need to look out for when inspecting your roof.

  • Any Type of Wear and Tear on Shingles – Inspecting the shingles is often the easiest part of roof inspection. You can to look at how the shingles are placed, whether they’re straight or crooked, and whether there are any missing shingles. Crooked shingles are another issue that need to be fixed before they end up coming off. Shingles that are cracked or curled also need to be addressed.
  • Shingle Granulation – Asphalt shingles that have tiny little nub granulation should have an obvious raised feel to them. Shingles with bare spots of granulation are coming to the end of their life and won’t offer the same protection. Granulation loss can be difficult to spot but a tell-tale sign is bits of rubber the color of your roof caught in your gutter.
  • Problems with Flashing or Drip Edge – Inspect the flashing for cracked caulking along the edges or any rust on metal. Damaged drip edges are asking for water damage,so check for any dents, gaps, and general damage.
  • Compromised Fasteners – Missing screws or nail or exposed fasteners are a sign that shingles and even the underlayment could be damaged over time or even during the next windstorm. Missing fasteners can become loosened over time from wind or if the previous roofer did a poor job of installing the roof.
  • Water Damage of Any Type – If you notice any hint of water damage on the roof and in the attic you need to call out a professional as soon as you can to address the problem and find the source of the leak.
  • Exposed Sheathing or Underlayment – Another problem that requires immediate fixing is if the roof has been damaged in some way that the sheathing under the roof or the underlayment are visible. You can also spot damage to the sheathing from inside the attic on occasion, so it’s worth it to check both.
  • Moss, Algae, or Mold Growth – It’s fairly easy to notice if there is any type of moss of algae growing on the roof. These tend to happen on parts of the roof that are often kept shaded or if a tree is hanging on the roof or even just close by. Moss or lichen will look very obviously like moss while algae often looks more like blackish-grey or sometimes greenish splotches. Mold isn’t common on asphalt roofs but is something to look out for on cedar roofs.
  • Standing/Puddled Water – Another serious issue is if you find that there is standing water anywhere on your roof. This is a huge cause for concern and also requires you to have a professional come out to remedy the situation. This shows that water damage may have occurred, and even if you were lucky to catch the problem in time, the roof should still be repaired in a way to prevent puddling in the future.

If you aren’t comfortable with heights or a ladder isn’t a safe option for you, it is a better choice to use binoculars to take a look. You won’t be able to notice as much detail, but it is still a better choice than just looking with your naked eye. Also, if you do use a ladder, try to not actually walk on the roof if you can help it, as this may loosen shingles on an already aging roof. Always use extreme caution.

With all this being said, you must still consider the importance of having a professional contractor out annually to look over the entirety of the roof. It also goes without saying that if you suspect an issue, even one you might think is fairly unimportant, you should still have a pro come out and take a peek.

A professional roofer will notice things you may not have or simply have a better eye for what weakness to check for. The overall small cost of an inspection is worth every penny in the lifespan of your roof as well as the peace of mind that your roof has you and your family safely covered.