How to Inspect Your Roof: What to Look For (and When to Call a Roofing Expert)

DIY tips and tricks on inspecting your roof for leaks

Here’s how to inspect your roof to help to prevent leaks and save energy—and how to know when it’s time for a new roof.

Roof damage leaves you open to exposure—literally. You might face costly repairs if leaks cause water damage and mold. Maintaining your roof and checking for problems help you avoid trouble.

You can safely check a few things yourself from the ground. Other problems are best checked by the experts. Here’s what you can spot on your own, what you should have someone else look at, and how to determine what’s a job for the professionals.

What to look for during your DIY roof inspection

Check for these problems from the ground, using binoculars.

Lifting or missing shingles: Poor insulation may have led to ice damming and shingles dropping, or it could mean your roof is coming to the end of its life. Time to call a professional.

Damaged drip edge: This metal flashing hangs under the roof eaves to protect the fascia. If it’s damaged or missing, rainwater can get in. Fixing it can be a DIY project, but it’s not a bad idea to have a professional come out to diagnose the problem and go over possible solutions.

Flashing issues: Check all the roof valleys and near the chimney — anywhere your roof meets a vertical surface. Look for anything out of the ordinary, including missing, damaged or bent flashing. Fixing it requires being on the roof, so bring in a professional.

Missing or exposed fasteners: If nails or fasteners are compromised, shingles or underlayment could be loose, which means your roof might be ripe for water damage.

Piles of granules: Asphalt shingles shed gently over time. But if granules are piling up in gutters or on the ground below, it’s time to call a professional.

Rotted wood: From the attic or top floor, look at the underside of the roof for any leaks, rotted wood, exposed areas or loose fasteners. Call in a Sears expert if you discover any of these issues.

When to call in the pros

A qualified roofing professional should do the following checks. Sears has diagnosticians and technicians who can help with these areas.

Damaged sheathing: Usually made of oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood, sheathing is what your shingles are attached to; it helps keep the roof elements stable. You can check sheathing from the attic, but a professional can diagnose other areas like the wood decking under the shingles.

Damaged underlayment: Underlayment is usually a felt or synthetic material over the sheathing and under the shingles. If it’s damaged, water can easily seep in.

Improperly laid starter strip: Along the edge of the roof, this starter row of shingles is actually two rows and needs to be installed correctly. Have an expert check it to avoid problems later.

Shingle nailing pattern: Depending on type and brand, every shingle has a nailing pattern for optimal outcomes. If shingles are nailed on willy-nilly, they won’t adhere correctly and will perform poorly.

Call a Sears professional today to make sure your roof is ready for anything that might come its way.

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