I just bought a house with a roof that has seen better days. The shingles are worn and cupped, and there’s lots of rough-looking flashing. Anything I should worry about before I start interior repairs?
“The roof comes first” is an old expression, but it remains as meaningful as ever. The roof is your home’s first defense against the elements, so don’t tackle any interior remodeling projects until you evaluate what’s above the eaves. “If the roof is bad, everything below it gets wet: walls, ceiling, insulation, electrical wiring, floors, carpets, furnishings, and heating and cooling equipment,” says Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, which offers professional courses under the aegis of GAF, the nation’s largest roofing manufacturer. “If any of this stuff stays wet, mold can formand there’s a real danger of structural deterioration.”
If a roof inspection reveals problems serious enough to warrant repairs, the next step is to decide whether to fix it yourself or call a professional. In most cases it’s better and safer to hire a pro. Still, it’s important to educate yourself before making the call so you know what to expect.
If your roof is shallow and low to the ground, and you’re confident you can walk on it safely, climb up there and start inspecting. Watch your step and avoid low-hanging electrical cables. If it’s too steep or high, inspect it from the ground using binoculars.
Start by checking the roofing material. Look for loose or missing shingles, as well as those that curl up, cup down, are chipped or torn, or have lost their granule coating. Generally, if more than one-quarter of the shingles are bad, it’s time to replace them all. That can cost as much as $10,000, though the bottom line depends on the type of roof, its size, its pitch, and the number of valleys it has.
Next, inspect the roof deck for sagging areas that could indicate a compromised structure beneath. Then note any loose, damaged, or previously repaired flashing, and check the valleys for cracked roofing material. Look for severe weather deterioration or previous repairs around skylights, vents, and chimneys. While you’re up there, check that the gutters are well secured.
Finally, head into the attic and inspect the underside of the roof deck. Mold or water stains on the plywood sheathing and the insulation could mean that moisture is coming in through the roof or that condensation is forming inside the attic.
Staff Writer (2015 January 14) Does Your Roof Need To Be Repaired? Retrieved on February 7, 2015 from PopularMechanics.com