How often should I inspect my roof?

close-up of workers inspecting a roof

The Importance of Inspections

The roof of your home is an important component. It keeps your family and your belongings protected from the elements, and it keeps the walls standing up too. To maintain its health and integrity, monthly roof inspections by you and a professional roof inspection every two to three years are recommended. 

What’s included in a roof inspection?

The purpose of these routine roof inspections is to catch any issues before they become problems. As the homeowner, use this roof inspection checklist so you know what to inspect and how to inspect your roof: 

  • Roof Flashing: The roof flashing’s condition is important in keeping the roof from leaking around the chimney, skylights, vents, and where different roof pitches meet. Look for flashing that has cracked caulk, that is rusted, or that is missing. If any of these are apparent, you can replace the flashing yourself or hire a professional roofing contractor. 
  • Exterior Material Check-Up: Monthly roof inspection should include checking for damaged roof shingles, roof tiles or wood shakes. Look for missing pieces, blistered, buckled, cracked, curled, or otherwise damaged. If you find any they should be repaired or replaced as needed. When the roofing material is missing or damaged, it gives water a place to get to the roof decking. A leaking roof will follow soon after. 
  • Algae and Mildew: This part of the roof inspection doesn’t require climbing a ladder or getting on the roof. If you see any algae or mildew on the roof, common in areas where it is humid or there is a lot of storm activity. This growth is eating away at your roof, so having your roof professionally cleaned is essential every 2 to 3 years. 
  • Roof Vent Function: Every home should have a ventilated attic that allows fresh air to come and release any built-up hot, moist air. Attic venting can be through the fascia or soffit vents, a roof ridge vent, box vents, gable vents, or roof turbines. Check for any damage or with turbine vents, make sure they are working. 
  • Attic: Inspect the attic for indications of leaking. This can be moisture on the insulation, joists, or underside of the decking. Inspecting during the day is recommended so if you see any daylight coming through the roof, you’ll know there is the possibility of a leak there. 

If your home has a flat roof instead of the traditional pitched roof here is the checklist for how to inspect a flat roof:

  • Ponding or pooling water is an indication the drainage isn’t working or the slight slope that a flat roof should have is inefficient. The drainage issue leads us to the point to inspect and for inefficient slope, a roofing contractor can use a product that will increase the slope, giving it enough slant for water to run toward the drain.
  • Check for clogged drains and gutters. For flat roof inspections, make sure these are clean and clear so ponding or pooling doesn’t start or overflow over the roof edge to your landscaping and foundation below. 
  • Check for mildew and mold buildup, this is an indication there is moisture building up somewhere that needs to be found and addressed, which is the purpose of this roof inspection. 
  • Check all the seals and re-caulk or tar as needed to keep them effective. Where seams have come loose or unattached is a place for water to get trapped and roof leaks are soon to follow. 
  • Piled-up debris and leaves should be cleaned off, and if there is a low area covered, check for mildew, mold, ponding, or pooling of water. Again, this could be an insufficient slope or a clogged drain. 
  • Check for any blistering, cracking, or punctures and make repairs as needed. These allow continued exposure to the sun and weather, leaving your roof vulnerable to leaking.

So, to answer the question of when to get a roof inspection, a basic visual inspection by homeowners should be done every four to six weeks for a flat roof. Having a professional flat roof inspection every two to three years is also recommended. In case of a severe weather event, you should have a sloped or flat roof inspection done within a few days. 

As a homeowner, you should know how to inspect a roof for hail damage too. After any type of severe weather event, you should do a visual roof inspection. For hail damage, check the following areas specifically: 

The Roof Inspection: 

  • Chimney and chimney cap
  • Skylights
  • Vents
  • Shingles, missing granules, bent, cracked loose shingles

Additional possible hail damage to check are dented gutters and gutter screens, downspouts. Examine the siding on your home for dents and cracks and check the windowsills and window casings. Check the outside part of the HVAC system or the AC window units. Examine the deck and other exterior areas of your home. 

Will a roofer perform a roof inspection?

Yes, a certified, licensed roofing contractor is the best source for having a roof inspection performed. Another professional is an insurance adjuster. This is also the person that will come inspect your roof for storm damage or any other damage when you file a claim on your homeowners’ insurance. 

How long does roof inspection take?

This can depend on the size of the house. A single story 1200 to 1500 square foot house can take a professional roofing contractor or insurance adjuster an hour to 90 minutes. If there is a claim of a leak inside the house, this will require their inspecting from the rooftop along with inside your home and the attic. 

How much does roof inspection cost?

Many roofing companies offer free roof inspections, especially after a significant weather event has come through the area. If there is a charge for a roof inspection, it will typically be between $200 and $300. This amount is credited if you have any work done by that roofing contractor.

roofers performing a roof inspection

In Closing 

When you have a new roof installed, the roofing contractor will do a walk-thru with you. If the new roof is due to an insurance claim, the insurance adjuster may require a roof inspection after installation is completed and all invoices have been submitted as well.