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Things To Know About Inspections

Which part of a house is the source of over one third of all homeowner's insurance claims? If you answer "the roof," you're right on the money. A leaky roof is not just annoying, but can also lead to all sorts of problems. For example, dampness and mold resulting from a leak will threaten your home's structural soundness, as well as your physical health. Water leaks can even get into your electrical system, where it may cause power outages and fire hazards. Professional roof inspection will pinpoint potential problems before they become serious.

Why Do You Need a Professional Roof Inspection?

The purpose of a roof inspection is threefold -- to assess which repairs are needed, if any; to estimate the roof's remaining lifespan; and to issue a certificate of inspection, which may be valid for 2-5 years, depending on your location. This certificate can be a selling point if your home is currently on the market.

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The Importance of Roof Inspections

Smart homeowners are aware of a great way to keep their property in tip-top shape. They follow one surprisingly simple bit of advice: get to know your house inside and out. Be sure to check it over regularly, especially the roof. A serious roof leak is not a pretty sight as it can lead to thousands of dollars' worth of damage to your home and its contents. The ideal time to look for potential danger signals is in spring or summer, before the autumn leaves begin to fall and cover up the clues. So be wise and learn how to inspect the condition of your roof.

When to Check Your Roof

Perform a routine visual inspection of your roof at least once a year, preferably twice, in late spring and then again in late summer through early fall. In addition, check the roof as soon as possible after extreme weather -- severe rainfall, strong winds, or a heavy snow or ice storm -- to see how it has survived. An emergency inspection is called for when you notice a leak, dampness, mildew, or a musty smell anywhere in the house that has no other obvious source. You may also want to check your roof more frequently when your roofing material is coming close to the end of its warranty period.

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Increasing the Life of your Roof

"A roof over one's head" is a synonym for home. And no wonder ... your roof faithfully performs the essential task of shielding your family and your belongings from the elements. Return the favor by taking good care of your roof. These simple tips will help extend its useful life.

Maintain Your Roof

Don't allow leaves or snow to accumulate on your roof. (Clear out gutters regularly too!) Leaves will trap moisture from dew and rain, holding it against the roof where it can do damage. Snow will melt and refreeze, causing ice dams. In addition, the sheer weight of a winter's worth of snow may be more than your elderly roof was designed to handle.

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Most Common Roof Problems

Obvious or unforeseen, roof problems are always a pain and undoubtedly a significant expense. BUILDINGS magazine examined which problems are most common and the conditions that can either cause or be the result of premature failure and reduced service life of low-slope roof systems. This is not a self-diagnostic guide, but rather an informative list of some of the problems most often battled by building owners and facilities professionals.

“If you look at a failure curve, most roofs are the best they’re going to be at the time they are installed. The curve is pretty flat in terms of their deterioration for the first several years, and the last 25 or 30 percent of the roof [life], the curve becomes more steep,” explains Ron Harriman, vice president, Benchmark Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA. Unfortunately, problems are inevitable as the roof ages. Without proper and routine maintenance, these minor problems can even become catastrophic.

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