How to Give Your Roof a Spring Inspection

how to inspect your roof

Whether there’s a polar vortex, an unusually cold winter, or a lot of rain, Mother Nature takes her toll on your roof. A spring roof inspection can help you assess winter’s effect on your roof, chimney, vents and gutters.

What can Happen

1. Snow and ice can put extra pressure on roof shingles, possibly causing them to crack. Shingles can also bend under the weight, forcing them apart from other shingles, creating gaps where cold air and moisture can enter the house.

2. A warming period, followed by more sub-freezing weather, can cause snow and ice to melt, then refreeze. The resulting ice blocks rain and melted snow from flowing into the gutters, creating pools of water and adding to the weight on the roof. Roofers call this condition an ice dam.

3. In cold climates, attics have more insulation to keep heat inside. Since warm parts of the country don’t usually need the extra insulation, heat can more easily escape through the roof. This can cause snow to melt and reform as ice, increasing the risk for ice dams and shingle damage.

What to look for:

  • Start by checking your attic or top story. If you see signs of moisture, water spots or feel a cold draft, it’s possible you have missing shingles or gaps between damaged shingles.
  • Next, walk the perimeter of your house. Look for shingles that have fallen off the roof. Mark the location so you know where repairs are needed. In addition, check for ice buildup or pools of water under the roof eaves. These can indicate you have blocked gutters or an ice dam. Icicles hanging from the roof can also mean that your roof has pools of melting water behind an ice dam.
  • Use a step ladder to eyeball your roof and gutters. Look for rough edges or cracks in the shingles or holes near vents. Check the chimney for cracks or holes too. If you see ice or accumulated debris in the gutters, it’s a sign the gutters need cleaning. Check the downspouts too, to make sure they are unblocked and undamaged.

    You can give your roof a pretty thorough look from the ladder. Remember to use extreme caution if you decide to climb onto the roof in early spring. Uneven shingles and patches of ice pose a serious risk of tripping and falling. Call a professional for roofing repairs in early spring or wait until you’re sure the roof is dry. Try Angie’s List to find a reputable service in your area.