Regular Roof Inspections: Prolonging Your Roof’s Lifespan and Maintaining Your Warranty

We all know that regular visits to the doctor and dentist can ensure a healthier life, and regular inspections of our cars, homes, and swimming pools can safeguard our largest investments, and it should be no different for our roofs.

Our roofs are constantly exposed to the elements, and Florida’s tropical and subtropical climates can expose our roofs to exaggerated weather patterns—high annual rainfall, an increased amount of UV radiation, and hurricane strength winds. It’s vital that we take the necessary precautions to maintain the longevity and quality of an important and substantial investment. We can safeguard our roofs the same way we do with our health and other large purchases, through regular inspections.

Without regular inspections you may not get the most out of your roof. You can even face a drastically reduced life expectancy which will be very costly if the damage is allowed to worsen. You may require substantial repairs or face the need to replace your roof entirely. You may be thinking there is nothing to worry about because you have a warranty, but do not assume that your warranty will help. Most roofing material manufacturers include specific language in their warranties that void the service if your roof was not maintained. You need to be able to show you maintained your roof through regular inspections in order to guarantee that your 20 or 50 year warranties will still be effective.

You always hear you should have your teeth and gums inspected twice a year, and it is the same for your roof. That is not to say that you need to schedule a professional inspection every six months. Instead, you as the homeowner can perform your twice a year inspection to help maintain your roof.

Do It Yourself Roof Inspections

It is a good rule of thumb in Florida to perform your DIY roof inspections first before the onset of extreme summer heat in April and then again near the end of hurricane season and before the start of winter. Here is a list of things to inspect, including roof material specific advice:

—Check the flashings (metal sections that cover interruptions in your roof around vents, chimneys, dormers, and skylights) for damage to ensure Florida’s heavy rains do not leak in and cause the roof to rot from the inside or damage your interior walls.

—If you have asphalt shingles, check your gutters for the accumulation of colored granules. The granular surface helps to protect your roof from damaging UV rays, and it could be a sign it’s time to resurface your shingles.

—Inspect your asphalt and wood shingles for dry rot, warping, and tearing, making sure to look for missing shingles. Also check for sections that look water damaged.

—It is very important to check your shingle roof for signs of mildew and mold. Mildew and mold can signal that your roof is deteriorating from the inside out.

—Check your metal roofs for rusting, corrosion, or pitting that can form with age and exposure to the elements.

—You also want to check your metal roofs for open joints, seams, and splits that can allow water to infiltrate your roof structure.

—With tile roofs you want to make sure you check for missing, broken, or chipped tiles.

—It is also pivotal that you make sure your roof is free from debris and properly cleaned.

Checking the outside of your roof is extremely important in order to prolong its life expectancy, but you should also go up into your attic and check for damages on the inside of your roof that can have catastrophic effects. Just like inspecting the outside of your roof, you want to inspect the inside of your roof for structural and water damage as well as mildew and mold growth. The same goes for your inside walls and ceilings which could show signs of roof damage.

While you should faithfully inspect your roof twice a year, it is also very important that you check it after serious rain and wind storms, especially hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricanes can cause serious damage to roofs, so it is important to inspect and repair your roof after each storm so you can feel confident it is in the best shape if another storm should strike.

Professional Inspections

Diligently inspecting your roof twice a year and making any necessary repairs will help maintain your roof, but you must also have regular professional inspections to guarantee your roof is in good shape. You should have your shingle roof professionally inspected every 3 years, your metal roofs every 4-5 years, and your tile roofs every 5 years. Professional inspectors will look for many of the same signs of deterioration you will during your DIY inspections, but their professional training and knowledge may find issues you were unable to see. There are other inspections that require professional assistance, including moisture surveys and wind mitigation, which can help to ensure your roof’s longevity.

Diligent professional roof inspections means diligently vetting roof inspectors as well. It is extremely important to use a third party inspector that is not in the roofing business. If you are planning to get a new roof anyway, it is acceptable to have a professional contractor do the inspection as part of your estimate, but if you are looking for a routine inspection, you need to guarantee you are not falling for a scam by an unsavory roofer. A great way to find an independent third party inspector is to ask friends, family, and neighbors. It is also a good idea to find and check local reviews of inspectors on consumer websites.

When we say a third party inspector, we mean an inspector bound to a code of ethics to give you an honest assessment of your roof’s condition, not an insurance inspector. A roof inspector will report the condition of your roof and its components at the time of the inspection, while an insurance inspector or adjuster is evaluating the risk your roof could face in the near or immediate future. Insurance inspectors may deem your roof unsatisfactory for a future insurance claim or policy, but it does not mean you need to immediately replace your roof.