Your roof is the protector of your home. It keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and also prevents leaks and other dangerous water damage.
That is, unless you don't take care of it.
Not only is it important to keep your roof in tip-top shape for the safety of your family, but if you are planning to sell your home, a healthy roof is key to passing a home inspection. Buyers may not be interested in purchasing a home that requires expensive roof repairs, but there are many ways to ensure your roof is healthy before an inspection.
How and when to check your roof
According to House Logic, it is vital you check your roof for damage at least once a year. You can climb up on a ladder if you are comfortable, but in general you will be able to detect any issues with a pair of binoculars. If you have an attic, Red Beacon emphasized the importance of regularly checking it for insulation and other issues. Your attic can give you key information on the state of your roof.
Of course, you can always hire a professional to check your roof if it will make you feel more at ease to have it looked at with a trained eye.
What to be on the lookout for
Shingles are one of the most important things to regularly check. HGTV said homeowners with asphalt shingles (the most common) should be on the lookout for any shingles that are cupping or curling. These are signs of aging, and you may need a professional to determine whether you need to replace just a few shingles or the entire roof. Another sign that your shingles are in bad shape: The material that holds them together starts to show. When this happens, your home becomes extremely susceptible to water damage.
House Logic also told homeowners to keep an eye out for cracked caulk, rust and large clusters of moss or lichen. Moss or lichen on the roof could indicate decay. Check the rubber boots surrounding your vent pipe as well. If they are cracked or showing signs of age, they may need to be replaced.
Protecting your roof against extreme weather
Allstate suggested checking your roof after any bout of extreme weather, from a large rain or snowstorm to excessive strong winds. Any of these could lead to issues with your insulation, drainage or structure. If your roof is damaged during a storm, it is important to fix the issues right away.
Winter can be a particularly gruesome time for a home, but there are many measures you can take to make sure your roof stays strong. According to Build Direct, homeowners should allow a light layer of snow to remain on the roof after a storm because it can add some extra insulation. However, any amount of snow over 6 inches could cause your roof to cave-in, so make sure to regularly remove the snow from your roof. It is generally best to hire a professional to do this for you, especially if your house is more than a story tall.
Build Direct also urged homeowners to make sure their roof is properly insulated. Otherwise, heat will escape through cracks and gaps, which will lead to higher energy bills. Use both caulk and insulation batts to seal any gaps. Homebuyers will not be pleased if a home inspection reveals a roof that is not properly insulated.
According to Home Selling Team, when ice dams form on the roof during the winter, water can leak through, so make sure to check your roof for both ice and snow build up.
Indoor signs your roof is in trouble
If your roof is leaking, there are a few signs that will show up inside your house. Home Selling Team said you may find stains on the attic ceiling. House Logic added that the area around a fireplace may become damp, the water heater or furnace pipes may have water stains and there may be dark areas on ceilings or paint peeling beneath overhangs of the roof. If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional to inspect the roof as soon as possible.
When to replace your roof
Roofs have finite life spans, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Federal Housing Administration requires a roof to have at least three years left on its life before homeowners can sell their home.
HGTV said roofs with asphalt shingles last 15-40 years, while those with concrete, slate or terra cotta tiles can last between 20 and over 100; be careful with these tiles though. When seasons change, they can expand and contract, which means they crack easily. If your roof is made from concrete, slate or terra cotta tiles, check them regularly. When checking, use binoculars. Make sure not to walk on them, it can damage the material even more.
When your entire roof shows signs of aging, it may be time to replace the whole thing. Luckily, sellers see a huge return on their investment for doing so. The National Association of Realtors® 2015 Remodeling Impact Report found the average cost of a new roof is $7,600, and sellers recover 105 percent of the value ($8,000) when they sell their home.
The better you take care of your roof and the more often you check for issues, the longer it will last. Put off replacing the roof as long as possible by giving it yearly check ups and fixing small issues before they become large ones. A healthy roof will bring you one giant step closer toward passing a home inspection.