Roof Inspections – Protecting Your Investment
Your homes roof inspection should always be completed by a trained professional. While it can be tempting to rely on your own judgement, which is typically based on viewing roof from the ground, which is never a good idea. Your roof is exposed to all kinds of weather and can experience wear and tear that may not be obvious to the untrained eye. A proper check by a Certified Building Inspector will include a thorough inspection of both interior and exterior structures. This is not only very difficult to do without training and experience, but can also be very dangerous without the use of proper safety equipment. Periodic roof inspections are recommended for all homeowners, and they are essential for homeowners who suspect they have roof damage. Much like an annual check-up at the doctor, a roof inspection is the best way to ensure your home’s roof stays healthy.
Purpose of Roof Inspections
The purpose of roof inspections is to find any problems as well as estimate the remaining life of a roof. Fiberglass shingles last approximately 15 years in Ontario, some more expensive shingles may last a couple of years longer but eventually they will have to be replaced. The fall is the most vital time of year to have your roof inspected before the cold of winter sets in. Frigid temperatures can compromise the success of new roof installations and such repairs as shingle replacement because new shingles can’t seal properly when it’s cold outside. Moreover, attempting repairs on icy roofs can be treacherous, so roof problems uncovered too late in the season may have to wait until spring to be fixed.
Roof systems can develop problems from normal wear, severe weather conditions, building movement, improper design, construction, or lack of maintenance. Any roof repairs not dealt with after the first signs of failure can result in increased damage to the roofing system and increased costs to the building owner.
A roof leak investigation is much more detailed than a visual roof inspection. It is important to understand the difference because often a free roof inspection doesn’t examine below the first layer of the roof and doesn’t look for hidden problems. The result is two very different quotes: one showing obvious and known work and the other includes roof issues that were unknown and hidden.
Leak Investigation Process
- Interior Inspection – Assess the reported leak area. Measure interior space to trace to roof surface.
- Test drywall with moisture to determine if further indication of water ingress is present behind ceiling.
- Inspect space between leak area and roof (if present) – Attic, crawlspace, mechanical room, etc.
- Trace out investigation area on roof surface based on interior measurements.
- Inspect membrane and surrounding items above leak area for defects.
- Apply compatible temporary or small repairs.
- Provide roof inspection summary report.
Organic asphalt shingles are made from a paper material soaked in asphalt and coated by layers of asphalt and ceramic granules. Organic asphalt shingles are commonly seen on many Edmonton and Calgary homes, as they can last up to 20 years with proper installation and maintenance. The ‘organic’ in the name can cause confusion among consumers, who may believe the ‘organic’ means they are sustainable, made of natural materials. This is not the case, the ‘organic’ is just referring to the non-synthetic material they are made of, to distinguish them from fiberglass shingles.
Fibreglass shingles look identical to organic asphalt shingles, but instead of a paper-based mat on the shingle, it is made of fiberglass base. Because there is less asphalt material in these shingles, they are lighter than organic asphalt.
Although many experts state that fiberglass shingles have a longer life expectancy than the older asphalt shingles. In my experience as a Home Owner and Real Estate Investor fiberglass shingles typically only last 15 years vs the 20 years that asphalt shingles used to last. Unfortunately asphalt shingles are not offered by most roofers.
Certified Building Code Official
Certified Master Inspector
WETT Certified Inspector