How to Properly Inspect a Roof

Roofs are your topmost line of defense from the elements—literally. They’re arguably one of the most important parts of a structure, so when a leak or crack is not detected and fixed on time, it can lead to a world of trouble, especially in terms of costly repairs. That’s why regular roof inspections are important.

Roof inspections are also important during the selling process. Most buyers hire home inspectors. If you have overlooked any necessary roof repairs, the inspectors will likely detect them, possibly costing you the sale. So, what should you look for when inspecting a roof?

Let’s dive in.

First, you should invest in fall protection equipment.

A proper inspection will require you to get on the roof (we suggest you call Gotcha Covered Contracting instead). You’ll want to be secure when walking around up there checking for various issues, so you’ll want to invest in a fall protection kit. These kits come with all the safety gear you need to move freely and work on the roof, including a safety harness, a roof anchor, rope, and a lanyard.

Now you’re set for a roof inspection. Here’s what to do once you’re actually up there.

  1. Assess the Integrity of the Shingles

Look for shingles that are loose or missing. Be on the lookout for shingles that show signs of heavy degradation, such as bald spots and severe curling. These flaws are usually an indication of weak points where water can seep through and cause leaks.

It is normal for roofing shingles to have some curling, but severe or abnormal curling shows that your shingles are approaching the end of their useful life.

  1. Check the Drainage System

Are there large areas of stagnant water that never seem to dry off?

Standing water can result in premature roof failure, especially when the water leaches the chemicals that keep roofs flexible out of the membrane. Furthermore, if there is a puncture in the area of stagnant water, all of the water may end up in your house and cause extensive damage.

You can solve the problem of standing water by removing the gunk from around the drain. Another effective solution is to snake the roof drain pipes or down spouts.

  1. Don’t Forget the Expansion Joints

During your inspection, don’t disregard any expansion joints that run across your roof. Some roofing companies don’t seal expansion joints properly, leading to the expansion joints cracking at the ends, so be sure to look out for this issue.

Inspect rubber bellows. Do they have cuts or open laps? Have they been repaired with roofing cement or other unsuitable materials?

  1. Check Around the Roof & Flashing

As you’re walking around the roof, check the overall condition and age of various components. Besides checking for missing, broken, or worn shingles, also check for soft areas on the roof’s surface. These soft areas might be indicative of rotting wood underneath your shingles which could b be related to damaged flashing.

Additionally, check for any signs of rotting wood on the fascia. You won’t get the necessary support for your gutters from rotting fascia. Don’t forget to assess the soffit for openings, cracks, and damage that could be caused by animals or water that hasn’t been appropriately directed away from the building.

  1. Inspect the Walls and Other Interior Areas

You need to check the walls and glazing. Leaks from the wall, window problems, and sealant are often mistaken for roof leaks.

Check for cracks and water stains that could be indicative of problems in these areas. The most notorious culprits are pipes, conduit systems, and other connections that pass through the wall as they are often left unsealed.

Other interior arrears you should check for leaks and mold include the following:

  • The attic
  • Ceilings
  • Skylights
  • Area around chimneys and vent stacks
  • The back walls inside cabinets
  • Roof-mounted exhaust fans


If your roof has seen several decades of use or has had to weather a great deal of bad weather, you might want to inspect it. While roofs suffer damage, some of the damage might not be noticeable right away. Performing regular roof inspections with the help of the tips above can help you identify any damage and save you costly repairs in the long run. Note that not every problem can be detected by the untrained eye, so it’s advisable to work with a professional roofing inspector.