How often do you look at your roof? If you're like me, you run in and out of the house, shuttle the kids back and forth, and glance up at the roofline only occasionally as you back out of the driveway.
But inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can prevent some costly repairs down the road -- and keep those raindrops from falling on your head. There's another benefit, too: Keeping your roof in good condition will also be a big plus if you decide to sell your home.
Take it from the top
Here are four things to look for on the inside:
2) Signs of water damage or leaking
3) Dark spots and trails
4) Outside light showing through the roof.
The HomeTeam Inspection Service offers these tips on what to check on the outside:
6) Scan the roof for loose material or wear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations.
7) Watch out for an excessive amount of shingle granules (they look like large grains of sand) in the gutters -- this is a sign of advanced wear.
8) Check for signs of moisture, rot or mold. Note that wet spots may not be directly under your faulty shingle; water can travel down to its lowest spot before it drips. Mold, fungi and bacteria can grow quickly -- within 24 to 48 hours of a water-related problem.
9) Examine the drainage, and make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached. Also ensure all drains are open and allow water to exit, and all gutters and downspouts are free of debris.
10) Check that all bath, kitchen and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just into the attic space.
What's the roof made of?
If you have a roof with wooden shakes, you should also watch out for damage from termites, carpenter ants and/or other wood-boring pests.
Check the simplest solutions first
Contact a licensed roofing contractor -- or three -- to find out what they think needs to be done and to get an estimate.
For example, wood and asphalt shingles aren't especially fire resistant -- and this could be a problem if you live near a lot of dry brush and trees. Slate, tile and metal are more expensive materials, but they are a worthwhile investment because of the extra protection they offer against fire.
If, on the other hand, snow loads are an issue where you live, you might want to consider a durable and lightweight standing-seam metal roof. These can typically cast off the snow before it becomes a problem.
But before setting your heart on slate or tile -- and we know they look really gorgeous -- realize that these are very heavy materials. Some house framing just isn't strong enough to support the extra weight of this sort of roofing.
Start now -- before you have no choice
If you do need a new roof, be aware that this isn't an average "do it yourself" type of project. It's tough work -- especially if you're taking off the old roof -- and can be dangerous, too. (Roofs slope and are up high... need we say more?)
It's all looking up
So cozy up with the knowledge that once your roof is in tip-top shape, it will stay that way for years to come.