Roof Inspection, Roof Certification & Homeowner Maintenance Checklists
Roof Inspections Checklist
Roof inspections inspect:
- Roofing surface, excluding antennae and other installed fixtures such as solar systems and satellite dishes;
- Attic: soffits and overhangs;
- Roof drainage systems;
- All protrusions;
- Skylights; and
- Exterior of chimneys.
Each inspection is documented on paper
and also with photographs. These are then given to you. (Please visit our Services & Fees page
for pricing information.)
Detailed Roof Inspection Checklist
Exterior Roof Inspection (from Outside):
Get up on low pitch 'walkable' roofs. On very steep pitched roofs either using binoculars and/or standing on a ladder at roof level, look at overall appearance of the roof. If necessary, staging can be attached to the roof and this work to install and remove the staging will be charged on an hourly basis. In particular, look for the following indicators of potential roof problems:
- Are there any blistered, curled or split shingles? A few can be repaired, but if the general appearance is poor, it may be time for a new roof.
- Are there loose or missing shingles, shakes, or tiles?
- Are there any exposed nails? They are a source of leaks.
- If your roof is covered with composition shingles, look for dark patches which will indicate the surfacing material has worn away.
- Look for significant accumulation of granules in your gutters. Some minor granule loss should be expected after about 12-15 years of life.When dark patches start to appear on your shingles, this is a sign of a failing roof.
- Look for sagging along the ridges or in the middle of the roof.
- Look for 'cupping' of shingles, which can detour water sideways instead of toward the gutters.
- Check where ridges and hips meet. Shingles may break or work loose at these spots.
- Any rusty metal or displaced shingles along the valley are sure signs of roof weaknesses.
- Inspect the flashing around the pipes and chimneys. Loose shingles or rusty, loose chimney step flashing is another sign of trouble. Chimney counter flashing should be well embedded in mortar joints between the bricks.
- Check overhangs for sagging and signs of dryrot such as peeling paint or cracks in the wood. Look for water staining.
- Where a vertical side of the house meets the roof, such as along dormer walls, flashing should be firmly in place or it is a potential leak.
- Check siding, soffitts, fascia boards, and window casings for water marks and leak stains.
- Check the gutters closely for sagging, pulling away from fascia or rafter tails, and signs of leaks between sections. Are the downspouts firmly in place and directing water away from the foundation?
- If you have a wood shake or shingle roof, inspect the flashing around the chimneys and at the vertical walls carefully because the acid in the wood can eat away at the metal flashing over the years. In consistently moist areas, prevent mildew by regularly removing the wet leaves that collect at certain parts of the roof. Keeping wood roofs clear of debris is crucial. Also note that wood roofs get increasingly brittle with age and the rate of deterioration increases with age as well.
Interior Roof Inspection (from Inside):
- In the attic, look for signs of leaks. Dark stains on the rafters or the underside of the roof decking material generally indicate water trails. Look for signs of water around plumbing vent pipes and along chimneys, skylights, and valleys.
- If dark spots are found, see if they are still wet or old. Push a sharp screwdriver into the wood. If it is soft, it is a sign of rot. If the wood is stained but still dry and firm during the rainy season, it may be an old leak that has been repaired.
- Look up through the roof for any pinpoints of light. If one is found, run a thin length of wire up through it so it can be found on the roof. Do not widen the hole. Shake roofs in particular may may show daylight during the summer months, but the wood will swell shut with the first rains.
- Look for sagging sheathing between the rafters. This is but one sign of an old roof in need of repair or replacement. Sagging or cracked rafters will certainly require repair or replacement as part of a new roof installation.
- Check ceilings for water stains. Look around bathroom and kitchen vents, fireplaces and / or woodstoves especially. Check window casings and light fixtures.
Flat Roof Inspection:
- Look for any blisters or bubbles on the roof surface. If not already broken, they will eventually break, which may allow water to enter the roof. If any blisters are found, they can be sliced with a knife and patched with roofing mastic/cement.
- Look for depressions around vent pipes where water can collect and begin leaking through cracks in the roof surface. These also can be filled with patching compounds.
- Check all flashing for any separations by the parapet that rings the flat roof.
- Note: Keep drains cleaned at the low end of the roof so water can run off without interruption.
About Roof Certifications
Roof certifications are performed by certified, licensed, and qualified roofing contractors or roof inspectors who physically inspect roofs and provide written reports and photo documentation of the conditions of the roof including ridges, rakes, drip edges, drains, downspouts, gutters, flashing, protruding pipes, chimneys, vents, and valleys.
The goal is to determine the remaining life expectancy of the roof and certify that its life expectancy has been verified. Most certifications are considered valid for between two and five years, depending on where the certification takes place.
If a roof requires repairs, I will typically issue the certification document once the repairs have been completed and inspected. (Please visit our Services & Fees page for pricing information.)
Roof Certification Considerations
Roof certification takes the following items into consideration:
Type of roof
- Composition/asphalt shingle roof (applied to sheathing, which must be inspected);
- Concrete tile roof (applied to battens, which must be inspected) ;
- Wood shake or shingle roof;
- Metal roof panels or tiles;
- BUR / Built Up Roof (flat roof)
- Single or double ply membrane (flat roof)
- Tar and gravel / 'Flood coated and rocked' (on flat roofs)
Roof pitch affects the cost of replacing the roof. As the pitch increases, so does the roof replacement cost. Steep pitches that are accompanied by a lot of intricate details such as dormers, skylights, other protrusions, and valleys will significantly increase the cost of replacing your roof.
Age of roof
The age of the roof is a very important element of the roof certification process. The average life expectancy of a composition shingle roof begins at about 20 years, depending on the shingle and quality of install. Cedar shakes should last a minimum of 15 years. Slate and tile roofs can last 50 years or longer. As with any roof, the quality of the installation is crucial. Most roofing manufacturers' products are pro-rated, meaning they will only pay a small portion of their warranty if and when claims are approved. Some warranty claims are never approved, as evidenced by countless class action lawsuits against some of America's largest roofing manufacturers.
Number of layers
Presently three layers of roofing are allowed, though adding an extra layer does not work on a low pitch and a tearoff is always best so that any repair work can be done.
Roof repair history
Roof certification frequently requires seller disclosures relating to any previous roof repairs that may impact the future of that roof's performance.
Roofing companies will typically not honor claims related to natural disasters or severe weather conditions such as high wind events, damage caused by foot traffic from other trade employees, homeowner or other contractor repairs, and accessories such as skylights or solar panels.
10-Point Roof Maintenance Guide for Property Owners
Below are ten steps property owners can take to extend the life of their roof:
- Trim back tree branches that scrape against or overhang the roof. Keep branches away from the chimney to avoid fire hazard and to allow draft for proper chimney operation.
- Check for curled, damaged, loose, or missing shingles.
- Check the underside of the lower edge of roof sheathing for water stains, cracking, and any other visible damage.
- Examine all flashing and the flashing around chimneys, vent stacks, roof edges, dormers, and skylights.
- Make sure that the chimney cover (cap), if present, is in good condition and that it is tall enough to prevent the build-up of creosote.
- Check vents and louvers for free air movement. Clean screens and remove bird nests, spiders, insects, and dust.
- If there are wind turbines on the roof, be sure they spin freely and check ball bearings if any exist. Clear gable vents of bird's nests and other obstructions.
- Check for damaged gutters, downspouts, hangers, and strainers. If needed, clean out gutters and downspouts. Make certain they are free of leaks and rust.
- Check the condition of the paint on gutters.
- Examine television guy wires and support straps (not many of these anymore).
Residential and commercial roofing project consulting in Oregon; Portland Metro, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Washington State; and the Pacific Northwest area. Offering professional roof consulting, inspections, project monitoring, and certifications for property owners and homeowners.
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