Roof Inspection Can Be Done Through the Attic, Experts Say

If climbing several stories onto a pitched roof to check on its condition throws you into a near panic attack, there is another way to assess whether this part of your home is in need of repair.

While a quick roof-check is preferable and recommended, you can avoid the rain and wind by checking your attic instead.

“Roofs create an insulated barrier that helps trap heat inside, and most attic spaces are located right below them,” explains Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, which is championed by GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. “That makes them perfect for spotting potential problem areas and damage without worrying about falling.”

Since preserving the roof is one of the most important aspects to home repair maintenance, it is crucial to look for the following potential problems:

• Water leaks. The best time to visit the attic or crawlspace to check for leaks or damage is during a rainstorm. Take a flashlight and run it along the ceiling, floor, and walls and look for stains, condensation, and dripping water. These signs indicate that water has made its way behind flashing or under the shingles.

• Damage by Animals. Roofs can be a haven for birds, bats, and rodents of all kinds such as raccoons and squirrels. Telltale signs of droppings, nests, or gnawed wood, wires or insulation merit a call to a pest professional immediately.

• Ventilation. “Think of the attic as the lungs of the house,” says Joplin. “It has to be able to breathe in order to function properly,” he adds. This means that if the vents are littered with debris, they need to be cleared.

• Structure. If you see even a hint of sagging (look up for this one), it could mean potential structural damage or weakness and require professional repair.

For those who prefer a spring inspection to winter (although twice a year check-ups are necessary, say experts), there’s still a way to do so without risking life and limb—by using binoculars to zoom in on loose shingles or broken gutters.

Prolonging your roof’s life should be every homeowner’s goal. To do so, you may need to consult a professional roofing contractor who’s insured and uses quality materials like GAF’s Timberline American Harvest shingles. To find a factory-certified contractor in your area, visit

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