by Joel Kite of Independence Roofing 1836 ( 26-Aug-2016 )
How Much Does a Roof Inspection Cost? FACEBOOKTWITTERGOOGLE +EMAIL The roof is an essential part of a home, but its maintenance is often overlooked until it's too late. Most roof repairs begin when a person spots a torn or missing shingle while going about their day. They expect it to be a quick fix, but what they don't yet know is the small bit of visible damage may be a sign of longer, more extensive deterioration that wasn't noticed before. That's why conducting a roof inspection is important to a home's well-being. Inspections reveal potential issues, prevent many sudden or unexpected maintenance costs and help the roof last as long as possible. The Purpose of a Roof Inspection A proper roof inspection looks for wear or damage related to the roof's age, natural weather patterns, severe climate or storm conditions, changes in the building from renovations or settling and improper design or construction. After an inspection, it's up to the homeowner to decide what he or she wants to repair. Issues like discoloration are purely cosmetic and occur from natural exposure to weather. Excessive debris is an easy fix - just remove and dispose of it properly. Issues like leaks or other structural damage should be addressed quickly to prevent them from getting worse. An annual roof inspection prevents small issues from becoming large, expensive problems. An annual roof inspection can help find damage, debris and leaks. Leaks can lead to mold or rot in the roof, walls or insulation. If the water manages to reach the rooms inside, it damages wallpaper, paint, flooring and personal property. A bad roof can also cause the house to retain hot or cold air, increasing energy expenses. When and How Often to Inspect a Roof It's best to inspect a roof at least once per year, although a biannual schedule is recommended. An inspection during the fall ensures the roof is stable enough to make it through the winter, while one in the spring alerts homeowners to any damage that occurred during the colder months. It's also a good idea to inspect a roof after a major storm or severe weather. Many homeowners assume their roof managed to survive a destructive storm unscathed because there are no obvious leaks or damaged areas. This causes them to overlook tiny issues which can quickly become larger problems that necessitate a roof replacement. The sooner homeowners manage to repair any storm-related damage, the less money they'll have to spend in the future. Do-it-yourself roof inspections are incredibly simple. How to Conduct a Roof Inspection Do-it-yourself roof inspections are incredibly simple and sometimes even free. A pair of binoculars is the only necessary tool: A person merely stands on the ground and looks up. Homeowners should check the overall condition of their roof, keeping an eye out for debris, damage or deformations. Any obvious trouble areas should be noted and addressed immediately. It's easy to spot shingle damage, as shignles are generally torn, missing, cracked, brittle or stripped of their protective granules. Individual shingles are simple to replace, especially if they're made of a common roofing material like asphalt. Wood shingles are sometimes hard to color match, especially on older homes. All repairs to a slate roof, meanwhile, should be carried out by a professional. Slate is very heavy and difficult to install properly, and flawed repairs are just as bad as a damaged roof. Leaks are more difficult to spot, especially if they originate from an area that's hard to observe from the ground. A leaking roof doesn't always bring water into the house, making them sometimes difficult to detect from the inside. It's a good idea to get an up-close look by climbing on the roof with a ladder. This ladder should be sturdy with no rust or missing rungs and able to support the weight of the person climbing it. In addition, both legs should lie flat against the ground, and the ladder itself should extend above the edge of the roof so the climber can grasp on and pull him or herself up safely. When checking for leaks, inspect the roof for small holes and missing nails or shingles. Homeowners should also inspect the gutters, soffits, fascias and flashings. Water that doesn't drain properly causes major damage to the roof, walls and foundation down the line. In addition to the potential for overflow, standing water from clogged gutters is the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. The excess weight also causes the gutters to sag and pull from the fascia. To clean gutters, remove debris and flush them with water to make sure they drain properly. Sagging gutters also result from poor hangers or fasteners, both of which are inexpensive to obtain. Leaky gutters should be sealed, patched or replaced. Bees, hornets and wasps like to make their nests around soffits and fascias. These parts of a home also collect water and eventually mold if they aren't treated properly, so homeowners should be certain they are painted, sealed and caulked. A lack of flashing causes eaves to mold and rot. Bad flashing can result in leaks around chimneys, skylights and other openings. Flashing can also be found - but is generally not required by local code laws - around eaves. A lack of flashing causes this area to mold and rot in rainy climates and leads to ice dams in areas of heavy snowfall. Ice dams occur when the top of a roof is at a temperature above freezing and the bottom remains below 32 degrees. As heat from inside the home rises and escapes, it causes the snow on top to melt and drip down along the eaves. Since the temperature here is below freezing, the water solidifies into ice. Hiring an Inspector Homeowners can also hire an experienced professional to inspect their roof. The price for an expert inspection generally falls between $125 and $350, although some people charge less than $100. Other inspectors cost as much as $700. Most roof inspectors charge a flat fee and look at the roof with a pair of binoculars. Their trained eye can spot problem areas the average homeowner might miss. Others professionals require an additional fee to climb on the roof, and this expense can increase if the roof is designed in a difficult or complex manner. Multiple levels, a steep slope or excessively large square footage all factor into the cost of a roof inspection. In addition, some contractors charge more for older roofs or ones made out of specialty materials like slate. Heat leak occurs when the building's insulation is wet. Infrared Roof Inspection Sometimes a roof is unable to properly maintain the heat within a home or building. This makes the building hard to heat in the winter and difficult to cool in the summer, increasing energy usage and costs. This is called a heat leak and often occurs when then the building's insulation is wet. Roofs with a low slope are more likely to have a heat leak than steeper ones. An infrared roof inspection detects these instances of heat leak by locating the wet insulation during warm months. As the temperature outside cools at night, the damp insulation stays warmer longer than the dry areas. This window of opportunity is when it's time to scan the roof. Infrared technology locates the differences in temperature and shows where the insulation needs to be replaced. FHA Loans and Roof Inspection The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has provided homeowners with loans since 1934. These loans are insured by the FHA and are beneficial for first-time owners, seniors and individuals planning to make their homes more energy efficient. To purchase a home with an FHA-insured mortgage, the house must first be inspected by an approved appraiser. This person makes sure the property is safe, livable and priced at a fair market value. To pass FHA standards, a roof must look like it will last at least two years. To pass FHA and HUD standards, a roof must look like it will last at least two years. If not, it'll need to be replaced before the sale can proceed. A roof can have no leaks, holes, water damage or other problems and must appear as though it'll be financially reasonable to maintain. Per the HUD, appraisers are state certified and meet credentials set by the Appraisal Foundation's Appraiser Qualifications Board. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, adopted in 1989, outlines the performance and ethics for appraisers in a variety of fields. A professional roof inspector is therefore legally unable to determine whether the state of a roof qualifies a home for an FHA-insured mortgage. Future homeowners seeking this loan can find an appraiser through the HUD website. While appraisers check for obvious damage, they are also not inspectors and cannot guarantee a house is in perfect condition. They aren't required to step onto the roof itself, nor do they need to enter attics or crawl spaces. Buyers wanting a little extra security should pay an inspector to give the roof a thorough review before purchasing a house. Homeowners should either inspect their roof manually or consult a professional at least once a year. Doing so identifies areas that could become problems later on and reveal structural damage owners may not have noticed otherwise.