When it comes to the condition of your roof, ignorance is not bliss. Left unaddressed, almost any roof issue eventually morphs into a major expense down the road. Roof life expectancy as well as prevention of secondary damage from roof leaks relies on regular inspections by a qualified professional and prompt repair of incipient defects.
In general, a roof with asphalt or composite shingles should get a professional inspection every three years. Same goes for wood shingle roofs like cedar. Tile roofs are more resistant and can usually go for five years between check-ups.
Caveat: if severe storms with high winds and/or heavy rain have occurred, or events like a falling limb striking the roof happened, have the roof checked ASAP
Why Not Do It Yourself?
It’s dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 150,000 severe injuries occur annually from falling off residential roofs.You probably aren’t qualified. Components of a residential roof include roofing material, sheathing, underlayment, flashing, gutters and downspouts and vents and chimneys. There’s a lot more to go wrong than meets the untrained eye—or the homeowner on the ground with binoculars.
How Inspections Save Money
Roof leaks typically trigger a domino effect of indoor water damage. An inspection by a qualified professional identifies roof issues before they inflict major expenses including:
Structural damage. With the exception of shingles, all other parts of the house structure are vulnerable to water infiltration due to insidious leaks. This includes the sheathing beneath shingles and extends down into wooden attic structure including trusses and rafters. Rotted wooden components can’t be repaired; expensive replacement is required.
Mold contamination. Growth of toxic mold inside an attic affected by roof leakage is virtually a certainty. Health consequences that may affect residents can require costly medical diagnosis. Covert mold growth inside an attic will also spread to other parts of the house, making contamination more widespread and costly to remediate.
Insurance woes. If damage caused by ongoing roof leaks results from a homeowner’s negligence—such as not resolving roof issues promptly—homeowners insurance may not compensate for the cost of repairs.