The roof is in a unique position of protecting countless other parts of a building from the majority of weather conditions, be it rain or sun damage. For this reason, issues with the roof of a building can snowball into damage to numerous other parts of the building, increasing repair costs well beyond what they might have been had the roof been preventatively inspected and repaired. In some cases, entire buildings are beyond repair and have to be demolished because of damage from a neglected roof. But, what is involved in a roof inspection service, and is now the right time for you to look into commissioning a contractor to perform one?
According to “Have a Residential Roof Inspection Checklist,” there are several key areas that should be inspected in order to assess any problems with a standard residential roof. These include curling shingles, visible sagging, shingle granules in the gutters, complete lack of gutters, visible moss or other plant life on the roof, damaged flashing (the metal panels that protect vulnerable components such as chimneys), ceiling or wall discoloration, and unusually high or steadily increasing energy use. Some of these, such as sagging or moss, can be visible to the naked eye and can prompt a call to a professional. Some others, sich as damaged flashing, may not be caught by the building owner until the damage has spilled over into more visible areas, necessitating expensive repairs. This is why it is so important to perform regular professional inspections a the intervals recommended by the manufacturer or installer, because the trained eye can catch small issues before they become large.
There are pros and cons to attempting aspects of a roof inspection without a trained professional, and there are some issues that should not be attempted by a layperson at all. One increasingly common method is drone inspection, in which a small electric rotor-copter is used to hoist a camera above the building and broadcast a live feed of the roof areas that can be observed from the ground. For the hobbyist who is already in possession of a drone with a camera, this can be an innovative way to perform brief visual inspections without the risk of physically climbing to the roof to inspect. Issues that can be caught by visual inspection include some of the largest and most pressing, like mossy or damaged shingles and structural sagging. Other inspection components, such as the presence or lack of gutters and any water damage on internal walls or ceilings, can be conducted without any specialized technology at all. Needless to say, a positive result to any of these informal inspections should prompt a call to a professional to investigate further. In general, it is never recommended for an untrained person to attempt a physical inspection involving exerting weight onto the roof, as a damaged roof can fail to support the weight, causing injury. In general, the best course of action is to keep an eye peeled for any of the visible signs of damage, while ensuring that inspections happen according to the recommended schedule.