If you own a home, you know there are costs associated with repairs and inspections, but you can save yourself some time and frustration by doing these things more often to avoid the significant cost of replacement. Roof inspections are often neglected because it looks okay from the ground, but there could be hidden problems you cannot see.

While you don’t need to inspect your roof weekly or even monthly, you should do your best to do it annually. Roofing materials have different needs, and the condition of your roof relies heavily upon the combination of roofing material and the climate that you live in.

Here are the steps to perform your roof inspection and repair:

Self Inspection:

If you have a single-story home and a large ladder, it is simple to inspect your home without setting foot on a shingle. The less you walk on it, the safer it is for you and better it is for your roof. Use your ladder to go around to multiple points on the outside of your home.

If you cannot use a ladder to inspect your home, use binoculars from the ground to look at critical places where water might collect, the base of the chimney, and the rubber around the vents. If any of these items look in disrepair, you should hire a professional roofing company to inspect your roof.

What to Look For:

When you are checking your roof, look at the key places listed above and look for broken or cracked, loose, and missing shingles. If you can spot these issues before they cause a problem, repairs are much cheaper than replacing an entire roof.

Moss can also grow on roofs in humid climates, and it should be cleaned regularly to prevent further damage. If there are masses of moss or lichen, there may already be damage underneath the shingles from decay. Some algae or other growth is only cosmetic, but you should consider a professional inspection.

Areas with intense sunlight and heat can decrease the lifespan of your roof significantly. If you notice a colored grit in your gutters, the coating that protects the asphalt shingles from the sun may be deteriorating.

Indoor Checklist:

The roof is on the outside of the home, so it makes sense to look at the exterior of your home. However, many people neglect the interior inspection that could identify major issues with your roof.

Dark spots on ceilings or in the attic could indicate a leak or in your roof or a potential issue with a water heater or air conditioner. Both of these can create condensation that, if left untreated, can cause significant structural damage to your home.

Roof Lifespan:

There is a general guideline to how long a roof will last, but it will also depend on your climate. A humid environment is likely to see more moss and lichen growth, so an asphalt roof may not last as long as it would in a dryer climate.

An asphalt shingle roof’s lifespan is generally around 15-25 years and should be replaced before it shows significant wear. If you wait too long to replace your roof, you will probably have other damage to your home from leaks or decay that will add to the cost of replacement.

Tile roofs, whether concrete, clay, or slate, can last much longer and can be sustained for up to 35 years before replacement is necessary. These materials come at a higher cost but are often more durable and require less maintenance.

You should also take into consideration what the fire danger is at the location of your home. If you live in an area with high fire risk, you should consider a fireproof or heavily fire-resistant material. Asphalt roofs are fire resistant for up to two hours, but in places like California and Nevada, where the fire risk is high, concrete or tile is used more often.

Professional Inspection:

If you have multiple trees near your home above the roof level, you should have your roof inspected every few years by a professional company. This will give you the best chance of catching issues before they become a major problem. Homes with no trees nearby can go a little longer without inspections but should still be checked every four to five years.

Weather events can cause unknown damage to your roof, and you should do a self-inspection after a major storm in your area.

The age of your roof is also a factor in how often you should inspect your roof. A new roof will not need to be examined as often, but once you hit 10 years on an asphalt roof or 15-20 on a tile roof, you should inspect the shingles more often.

A roof inspection from a professional company is more than an exterior look at the shingles. They will inspect the roof from the attic space and determine if any repairs are necessary. While it may seem tedious to have someone inspect the roof when you haven’t had any problems, once you see the signs of an issue inside your home, it might be too late for repairs.

How to Get Started:

It may seem like a daunting task to inspect your roof, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow the simple guidelines above to examine your roof. If you are unsure of when the last professional inspection was, it is probably time to get one.

Your roof is a vital part of your house, and it needs to be taken care of just like the inside of your home. A massive storm can cause major damage that is unknown until the next storm comes along if you don’t take the time to do a self-inspection after every weather event.

There are many different types of roofing materials, and a professional will know exactly how to treat each one to get the most life out of it. If you spot any problems with your roof during your self-inspection, there are likely more that you cannot see from a ladder or the ground. Roofers are specially trained to walk on roofs and will have the proper insurance.

Your roof protects you and your family. Protect it by getting it inspected and repaired.