6 Locations to Check the Roof's Health for Novice Homeowners

Buying a home is a huge responsibility. Whether you are a handy person or not, you are suddenly expected to know how to properly maintain this several hundred thousand dollar investment. Homeowners need to keep an eye on everything from the foundation to the roof, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the average homeowner has no idea how to maintain a home's basic mechanical systems, like the plumbing, HVAC, or electrical. With your home's roof, however, it is fairly easy to know when you need to call in professional roofing services. 

1. The Perimeter: Take a walk around the perimeter of your home. You are looking in your bushes, landscape beds, and other perimeter plantings for shingles that have come loose.  Even if there has been a recent storm, shingles should stay put. In fact, the average shingle is rated to stay on your roof in winds up to 90 mph. If you notice whole shingles or broken corners, call in a roofing contractor to take a closer look.

2. The Overhang: Walk around your home a second time, but this time look up. Look at the overhang. The shingles should e flush with the roof. If the edges are curling up, it means that your shingles are reaching the end of their lifespan. When first installed, shingles are soft and pliable. As they age, however, they become brittle and the corners curl up and break. 

3. The Gutters and Concrete Splash Block: You should be cleaning your gutters each fall to remove the leaves, sticks, and debris that accumulates during the year. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, water damage, and even pests and vermin. When you are cleaning out the debris, look for gravel. Asphalt shingle manufacturers coat each shingle with a protective, gravel-like substance to protect it. As a roof ages, this gravel wears off and is rinsed into the gutters and concrete splash block. It is a clear sign that your roof is nearly the end of its useful life.

4. The Attic: While your first instinct, when you walk in to your dark attic, is to turn on the light, wait. Take a look around, Your attic's ceiling is the underside of your roof and may have a secret or two to share with you. If you see pinpoints of light shining through, it is an indication that water is also getting into the space. Precipitation, in the form of rain, snow, and even ice, can enter your home through the exact same hole. This minor inconvenience can turn into a major repair rather quickly, call in a roofing contractor as soon as possible for an in-depth look.

5. The Insulation: If you have exposed fiberglass insulation, touch it. Does it feel damp? Insulation has a tendency to act as a wick and suck up any water. If it is damp, you have a leak somewhere in your space due to a failing roof. The Environmental Protection Agency states that mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours and that the source of the water needs to be dealt with immediately.

6. The Roof Decking: If you have a ladder and can walk around on your roof safely, try to get up there at least once a year. You are first looking for any damaged or missing shingles, but you are also taking note of how your roof feels underfoot. Your roof decking should feel solid. If you would describe it as 'squishy', 'bouncy', or 'soft', you need to call in the pros for more information. Anything that doesn't feel firm under your feet is more than likely due to older shingles that have lost their effectiveness or due to improper installation.