Do I need a new roof?
How to do roof inspection
Conducting routine inspections of your roof — especially if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather — can help you prevent exterior damage from creating interior problems.
- Look around your attic for signs of leaks, dark spots, holes, or sagging sheathing
- Check your ceilings for stains, mold or mildew
If you’re comfortable climbing a ladder, you can see your roof up close. If not, you can do a relatively thorough inspection from the ground, using binoculars.
- Clean leaves and debris out of gutters and downspouts, check them for sagging or leaks
- Look in hidden areas, like the underside of eaves and fascia — the board that connects the roof to the outer walls of your house — for rotting or signs of animal infestation
Head to the street
- From this distance, look for dark spots, missing shingles, or sagging
- See if the exterior paint is blistering or peeling
- If you live in an area with icy or snowy winters, keep an eye out for ice dams — ridges of ice that form at the edge of your roof — because if water can’t drain off the roof, it may leak into your home
Examine the roof
- Check for cracked, torn, warped, or missing shingles and popped or rusted nails
- Look for open seams or joints and make sure roof vents aren’t covered or clogged
- Note areas that sag or appear unsound
- Make sure pipes and roof penetrations, like your chimney or skylights, are sealed and don’t have any exposed nails
- Make sure flashing, which is used to seal joints and keep water off of them, is not damaged or providing inadequate coverage
Keep an eye on your roof
- Know how old your roof is. If you didn’t install it and you’re not sure, check the inspection report from when you purchased your home. You can also ask a roofing company or building inspector to look at the roof and estimate its age and condition.
- Spot-check your roof twice a year, once in spring, once in fall. Use a ladder to access it and look for trouble spots, but also check your attic for damage. Not feeling up to it? Reaching out to a professional roofing contractor for help inspecting is always the best option.
- Watch the homes around you — they experience the same weather yours does and were likely built around the same time. If your neighbors are getting new roofs, do a roof inspection to see if your home needs one too.
- After a significant weather event, like heavy winds or a hail storm, check for exterior damage as soon as it’s safe.