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  • Roofing 101

    How often do you look at your roof? If you’re like me, you run in and out of the house, shuttle the kids back and forth, and glance up at the roofline only occasionally as you back out of the driveway.

    But inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can prevent some costly repairs down the road — and keep those raindrops from falling on your head. There’s another benefit, too: Keeping your roof in good condition will also be a big plus if you decide to sell your home.

    Do Take it from the top

    So, what should you look for when inspecting your roof? The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends you do a roof inspection at least two times a year — spring and fall. The best place to begin is inside your house — grab a flashlight and make a trip to the attic.

    Here are four things to look for on the inside:

    1. Places where the roof deck is sagging
    2. Signs of water damage or leaking
    3. Dark spots and trails
    4. Outside light showing through the roof.

    Exterior check

    When you take a look at the exterior of the roof, pay attention to such things as damaged flashing, missing shingles, curling, blistering, buckling, rotting and algae growth (which occurs most often in humid climates and appears as dark or greenish stains).

    The HomeTeam Inspection Service offers these tips on what to check on the outside:

    1. Visually inspect your roof for cracked, torn, bald or missing shingles.
    2. Scan the roof for loose material or wear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations.
    3. Watch out for an excessive amount of shingle granules (they look like large grains of sand) in the gutters — this is a sign of advanced wear.
    4. Check for signs of moisture, rot or mold. Note that wet spots may not be directly under your faulty shingle; water can travel down to its lowest spot before it drips. Mold, fungi and bacteria can grow quickly — within 24 to 48 hours of a water-related problem.
    5. Examine the drainage, and make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached. Also ensure all drains are open and allow water to exit, and all gutters and downspouts are free of debris.
    6. Check that all bath, kitchen and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just into the attic space.

    Check the simplest solutions first

    If your roof has water damage, don’t jump the gun and assume you need to start all over with a brand new roof. The California Contractors State License Board says that if your roof was properly installed and is less than than 15 to 20 years old, it can often be repaired rather than replaced.

    Contact a licensed roofing contractor — or three — to find out what they think needs to be done and to get an estimate.

    Starting over

    If you do decide to go ahead and replace the whole roof, keep weather and other issues specific to your locality in mind when choosing materials.

    For example, wood and asphalt shingles aren’t especially fire resistant — and this could be a problem if you live near a lot of dry brush and trees. Slate, tile and metal are more expensive materials, but they are a worthwhile investment because of the extra protection they offer against fire.

    If, on the other hand, snow loads are an issue where you live, you might want to consider a durable and lightweight standing-seam metal roof. These can typically cast off the snow before it becomes a problem.

    But before setting your heart on slate or tile — and we know they look really gorgeous — realize that these are very heavy materials. Some house framing just isn’t strong enough to support the extra weight of this sort of roofing.

    Start now — before you have no choice

    Don’t wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home by way of a leaky roof. Start protecting your home by using some simple observation skills. If you find problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your roof. Many repairs can be made before a major rebuild is necessary.

    If you do need a new roof, be aware that this isn’t an average “do it yourself” type of project. It’s tough work — especially if you’re taking off the old roof — and can be dangerous, too. (Roofs slope and are up high… need we say more?)

    It’s all looking up

    Most people list “Having a roof over my head” as one of life’s essentials — and there’s a reason for that. It’s not just a matter of practicality or aesthetics (though both of those play a part). Your roof is what keeps you and your family safe from the sun and snow, lightning and rain.

    So cozy up with the knowledge that once your roof is in tip-top shape, it will stay that way for years to come.

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    Florida State Home Inspectors 5 out of 5 based on 13 ratings. 13 user reviews.
    Florida State Home Inspectors
    11/24/2015
    Jared was extremely responsive calling me within an hour of signing up for the deal. He coordinated well with my tenants, got in within a few days, and had the report to me within a day after the inspection. Unusually good service in a world where there is little good customer service