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Leaking roofs, poor drainage, and clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to significant water damage inside your home. To help determine if you need a new roof, your roofing contractor will conduct an outside and inside roof inspection.

Inspecting a roof from outside is very simple. All that is needed is a pair of binoculars and a viewing point that is unobstructed by other buildings or trees. Following is a checklist of problem signs you can look for during an outside roof inspection.

Outdoor Roof Inspection

Ceiling Spots
  • Caused by leaks in the roof
   
Damaged Flashing
  • Caused by Improper installation on a new roof
  • Drying and cracking on an old roof
  • Dented by improper nailing
  • Settling of the Structure
   
Missing Shingles
  • Caused by improper fastening
  • Exposure to high winds
   
Curling
  • Caused by water absorption
    (in wood or fiber-reinforced shake)
   
Algae Growth
  • Caused by growth of airbourne algae
  • Occurs most often in warm, humid climates such as the southeast United States
   
Blistering
  • Caused by moisture in the shingle
  • Occurs when ventillation is inadequate
   
Missing Granules
  • Normally a certain number of granules will be loose, especially after application
  • On aging shingles, this indicates the need for replacement
   
Buckling
  • Caused by improperly felt, or movement of the deck
   
Rotting
  • Caused by absorption of moisture by the mat
  • Common problem with organic-based shingles
   

Indoor Roof Inspection

Following is a checklist of problem signs you can look for during an indoor roof inspection.

  • Sagging decking between the rafters. If the decking is sagging or deteriorating, the decking will also require replacement when a new roof is installed.
  • Outside light that can be seen through the roof. This may be common (and not a problem) on shake roofs, since the wooden shakes will swell during the wet months, effectively preventing any leaks.
  • Signs of leaking in the attic (dark spots in the wood, especially around vents, chimneys, and other holes to the roof).
  • Test dark spots in the wood to decide if they are old or current problems. If the spot is still wet, or if it is soft (test with a screwdriver), the spot is a current problem. If the spot is dry and hard, it is most likely an old problem that has been fixed.
  • Signs of water damage or leaking (usually in the form of water stains, or sagging ceilings)--this could be due to an active leak in the roof or to condensation caused by poor roof ventilation.

If you observe any of the signs listed above, you need roof repairs or a new roof. Depending on the degree of damage, you can decide what is best for you and your house. Often the cost of fixing or replacing a roof is less than dealing with the damage an old roof can cause to your home.