How Often Should Your Roof Be Inspected?
Would you ever let your car go a year without an oil change?
This is one of the first things I ask people when we’re talking about how to inspect a roof. While maintaining your home is obviously different than maintaining a car, this metaphor always hits home for me.
Typically, you need an oil change every 3-5k miles. By frequently visiting the mechanic and keeping routine maintenance on your vehicle, it runs longer and healthier. Bonus points if you go back to the same mechanic — that way our maintenance and car health is recorded over time.
Just like a car, our team recommends people be proactive with home maintenance and have their roof looked at throughout the year. While there’s no clear “3-5k mile” indicator with your home, there are three times within a year that we recommend potentially getting your roof inspected.
1. Roof Inspection #1 - Beginning of Spring
In between the cold weather and warm winds sometime in March or April, we recommend a roof inspector come look at your property. This should fall right after the winter storms have ended.
With an inspection in March or April, they’ll be able to quickly catch any damage from ice dams or blockage on the outside of your roof, as well as any potential damage that may have occurred from the winter winds. They’ll also be able to detect any moisture-related issues on the inside of the home.
While ice dams are a common roofing issue in snowy areas that are easily identifiable in the winter months, it’s generally the issues inside a home which are less likely to be found without an inspection.
The most common issue our inspectors find during the winter months? The shower.
Think about it, it’s a typical Iowa winter morning with the temperature around -11. Everybody is waking up, taking showers and grabbing some breakfast on the way out the door. All of that moisture from the shower goes through the heat exhaust and through a ventilation system. Additionally, if your home doesn’t have proper insulation, moisture ridden air escapes into the attic instantly freezing to any cold surface it touches. As the warmer weather heats your roof surface, that frost build up melts, causing hidden damage and staining your ceilings over time.
Best case scenario, that moisture isn’t touching anything in your home.
But in our team’s experience, about 60-70% of homes have some sort of ventilation issues, whether it’s caused by insufficient sealing or leaks. When moisture ridden air is moving into your attic, it creates frost on the underside of your decking, potentially leaking into sheetrock, insulation or exterior walls.
While this may sound like it’s outside of scope for a roof inspection, it’s this attention to detail that can save you thousands of dollars in damages - and that’s the value we provide.
2. Roof Inspection #2 - Mid-to-Late Fall
Right when temps are sitting at 60 and dipping down to 40 at night, you should start thinking about your second roof inspection. This is the most preventative measure you can take prior to winter weather sneaking in and possibly damaging your home.
This inspection generally looks for debris damage on the roof, such as leaf buildup in the gutters or tree branches that may have damaged any shingles. Something as simple as clogged gutters can be the cause of ice dams.
We also view this as a great time to check siding, see that window screens are in place and rework and caulking that may have cracked or loosened over the summer. A little work can ensure your house stays damage-free throughout the winter.
3. The Storm Season Roof Inspection
This may be the most obvious, and while not necessarily a proactive inspection, having your roof checked after a storm can quickly diagnose any problems or damages covered under homeowner’s insurance.
We typically see storms start to form in April to July. We’re not saying to get an inspection after every storm that comes through your area, but after a significant storm (think hail, high winds, tree branches coming down) we suggest calling a contractor, like Superstorm Restoration, for an inspection.
Another clear indication of storm damage can come from your neighbors. If your neighbor has roof damage or you see someone in your neighborhood getting work done on their roof, there’s a good chance you also have damage.
The good news is these types of storms only come around every 3-4 years and are generally localized. What may be a bad storm for the town next to yours, may not affect your roof.
The Inspection is Only Half the Battle
Finding a proper contractor who knows what they’re looking for is just as important as having your property looked at.
Looking for a contractor to handle storm damage is similar to finding mechanics specializing in European or American-made cars. They have similar jobs but specialize in their services.
Look for a contractor who has experience working with storms. Most roofers are looking to sell when they come out for a property inspection, but a sale isn’t always necessary. We believe the relationship we build with our customer, and longevity of the roof, is more important than a simple sale.
Storm specialists tend to notice the small details as well, like nails coming through the backside of shingles from wind damage. Something that looks fine on the surface but is actually damaged. This type of expertise can make all of the difference.
Finding that Contractor of Choice
A Contractor of Choice is someone you have a relationship with — someone who works on your home and continues to assist you with an array of problems you may face. While we commonly see family members or friends fall into this category, we can’t say how important it is to have a similar rapport with your contractor.>
When a contractor looks over your home year after year, they get a feel for you home. Frequent inspections make it easier to spot damage or changes signaling overall roof health issues that may affect house values.
You don’t want someone who just comes out and tells you everything is great. You want data points and documented photos of what’s going on — even when everything is great.
At Superstorm Restoration, we want a personal relationship with every homeowner we work with. We know what to look for after storms and keep strict records of a home’s condition after each inspection. In our minds, the more data, the better.
We even offer a 10-year warranty on your roof and work we do. The first 5-years is workmanship warranty. The remaining 5-year warranty is contingent to us coming out to do a property inspection.
With over 20 years of work in the construction industry, we know what we’re doing. We take into consideration the history of your property from the type of products used to severe historical weather events. Our goal is to combine all of that knowledge and data by using the latest in technology to provide you with simple options. From the possibility of good news; “... your property looks GREAT…” , to news that you may need to start preparing; “...your property is showing signs of age. Not much damage but you have X numbers of years left until you need to prepare.” or; “...your property clearly has had some damage to it… here is what we are finding… here are your options…”
During our inspection process we are here to serve you and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions on what is best for your property. By combining the data collected through our inspection process, we have averaged providing our customers over $12,500 in value to a cost of $850 out of pocket. We simply provide value.
The Superstorm Difference
How much does a roof inspection cost?
Every inspection is free, and we’ll provide you with photos and information to show you what is going on with your home. Sound like something you can get behind? Sign up for a free inspection today.