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Roofing

 

Inspecting Roof Condition

 

Over the course of a season, roofing materials are exposed to tremendous temperature changes that cause shingles and flashing to expand and contract. Eventually, this process causes roofing materials to wear out (20 to 30 years for most shingles). Therefore, a roof should be thoroughly inspected at least once a year. And a roof approaching 15 years of age becomes a candidate for re-roofing.

From the ground, you can get a pretty good idea of what shape the roof is in by visually inspecting it with binoculars and checking downspouts for shingle granules that have washed down. However, the most accurate way to inspect the roof is by accessing it, or at least climbing a ladder to get a closer look.

CAUTION: Always exercise care when using a ladder and accessing a roof. Also, shingles are easily damaged when they're hot and cold, so avoid walking on them as much as possible.

roof deteriorationThe basic indicators of a deteriorating roof are cupping, buckling, loose or missing shingles, and loss of granules. Tar/patching marks or sections of different colored shingles indicate past repairs and the roofing cement used to patch them may only last a few years. Check these areas from inside the attic, too.

You can tell a lot about a roof by how it looks. Normally, a good indicator of a well laid roof is straight lines. If shingles were set and fastened properly, they should

 

form straight lines all the way up and across the roof. This tends to indicate that the roof is well built and as a result, will last longer.

Throughout the winter, seeing snow—rather than ice—on the roof is better. Ice indicates melting snow caused by warm spots inside the attic. This process can lead to ice dams and eventual structural damage.

Look for any unevenness or sagging in the roof (check inside the attic, too). If the ridge or whole sections of the roof sag, there could be insufficient framing support—contact a pro.

 

Warning Signs

  • Composition Shingles: curling, loss of granulation, broken, damaged or missing shingles
  • Wood Shingles/Shakes: mold or decay, splitting or curling
  • Flat Roof: obvious patches, cracks or tears, several blisters and/or wrinkles (also check patched areas from inside the attic)
  • Flashing: tears, buckling around roof penetrations
  • Roofing Cement: excess cement, crumbling
  • Soffits and Fascia: decay, stains
  • Soffit & Ridge Vents: clogged or damaged vents, flashing and shingles around them curling or missing
  • Gutters: decay or rust, leaky seams, loosely attached to structure, bent or sagging, missing sections of gutter or downspout, filled with debris. Clogged gutters can easily freeze shut and cause excessive weight on gutter fasteners, ice dam conditions, and slippery walks below.
  • Chimneys: leaning, loose or missing flashing, damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney settles independently from the house.

 

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