You have heard annual inspections and routine maintenance is the best way to preserve the life of your Des Moines-area home’s roof. Yet you aren’t quite sure … what goes into the inspection? Should you follow the roof inspector around, holding a flashlight and answering questions? Will you need to move the holiday decorations stored in the attic? Should you clean your roof before the inspection, so your professional roofer knows you care? 

Much More Than Meets the Eye

The one part of your roof that meets your eye — the shingles, metal panels, slate, or tiles — is one of the least concerning areas for a roofer to inspect. It is highly visible so any damage can be found fast. If the roof is of a unitized material (individual shingles, tiles or slate), repairs are straightforward. 

No, the visible roof is not usually the major concern. A roof inspection for roof repairs has to dive deeper to find out if all the other parts are functioning correctly:

  • Gutters
  • Drip edge
  • Starter course of shingles
  • Boots
  • Ridge vents
  • Flashing
  • Underlayment
  • Caulking
  • Sheathing
  • Roof deck
  • Soffit vents

Before you consider doing all this yourself, please take our advice: Stay Off Your Roof! Even a single-story home’s steep-slope roof can be dangerous, so leave the gymnastics to professionals. With fall arrest equipment, training, and the right ladders, your local roofer can safely perform the inspection. 

A Typical Inspection

The fiberglass-asphalt shingle is the most popular roofing material in North America, so let’s assume your Des Moines home is capped with a fine product like GAF Timberline Armorshield II.

You need to be at home during the inspection to allow access and answer any questions at the end of the inspection. A typical roof can be inspected in about an hour, at the most, weather permitting. Inspections cannot be done when the roof is covered in ice or snow or is slippery from the rain. 

Your roofer will ask to see inside your attic. Why? The roof deck and sheathing need to be checked. The roofer will look for signs of mold or mildew, see if the wood has sustained water damage, and look for visible cracks in your home’s rafters (the wood members supporting the sheathing). 

Your biggest job? Being available without being in the way! The entire time the roof inspector is working, your best spot is a comfortable chair inside your home.

After the roofer visits your attic, expect some rooftop climbing. It may sound loud, but your roofer is actually treading very lightly, careful to avoid disturbing shingle granules that provide water resistance. 

The roofer will check every part of your roof from the outside. Flashings in valleys and around chimneys get special attention. The inspector checks the condition of the rubber boots around roof piercings: are they cracked, dried out, or loose? 

If your Des Moines-area home has skylights, the inspector will pay particular attention to the skylight flashing, curb, and caulking. These are all weak spots when installed by anyone other than a roofer. 

Much More to Do

The inspector will check the condition of three different types of shingles:

  1. Starter course shingles, along the lower roof edge, under the visible shingles
  2. Ridge shingles, which often incorporate ridge vents
  3. Field shingles, the largest expanse of shingles on your roof

Each area is checked for blistering, crazing, cupping, keystoning, cracks, missing shingles, dislodged shingles, or worn shingles. Due to prevailing winds, overhanging branches, or pests, some areas of your home’s roof could wear faster than others. 

The drip edge (metal around the perimeter of your roof, under the shingles) is checked, as are gutters and downspouts. A proper roof system provides adequate drainage, so gutters matter. The water needs to move from roof to gutter to downspout and away from your foundations. 

Much Less to Do

You have much less to do during a roof inspection than you may think. Save your questions for the end of the inspection; a roofing specialist needs to concentrate on observations and safety. Avoid following the roof inspector around, or carrying on a conversation. Wait inside your home until the roofer is ready to discuss the findings. 

Keep a list of questions you may have, plus any information you can share with your roofer:

  • Installation date
  • Warranty
  • Repair history

Expect to spend about another half hour with your roofer, discussing your roof’s condition and a recommended repair strategy. What you think is a big issue could be a quick repair. What you dismissed as minor could hint at larger problems. 

For accurate, detailed residential roof inspections, please turn to the skilled professionals of VanWeelden Company. We will arrange an appointment that works on your schedule, conduct a thorough inspection, and provide you with all the information you need to address any roofing concerns. Contact us today!