Most homeowners never think much about the roof over their heads, but it’s what protects your family and home from the elements and it can be easily damaged by weather and will probably eventually need to be replaced, if you live in the home for a long time. Most roofing materials will last for at least 20 years, depending on the material composition.
One thing you should incorporate into your routine is regularly inspecting your home’s roof for damage. This is especially important after a severe storm or natural disaster, but should be done at least once a year!
You can make many observations about your roof even from inside your home, including watching for dark spots and “bowing” on ceilings and dampness around fireplaces and water pipes leading to hot water heaters, swamp coolers, etc. On fireplaces, it is common for the roof flashing around the chimney to loosen, which allows water to seep into the woodwork around the flue!
Even more roof wear and tear observations can be made from outside by actually going up on the roof and inspecting for damage. If you are uncomfortable with ladders and high places, you may want to invest in a pair of binoculars to enable you to see the roof up close without actually going up there. You can also always hire a professional to inspect the roof, many of which will do so free of charge.
On the outside of your home, you should watch for peeling paint underneath the roof over hangings, caulking that is cracked or peeling, rusty flashings around fireplace chimneys, skylights, evaporative cooler/AC units, etc. You should also watch for warping and worn shingles, if you have asphalt roofing. Any sign of mold could mean unseen roof decaying and needs immediate attention to prevent further damage that can happen very quickly once it gets started.
If you are diligent about inspecting your roof, you should be able to observe any damage before it gets out of hand and requires expensive repairs or roof replacement. Most roof leaks can be easily repaired if caught early since they often are fixable with a little caulking. If your roof suffers damage from a severe storm or natural disaster, the repair and/or replacement should be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy and you should contact a professional roofing contractor to undertake repair or replacement as soon as possible to mitigate roof damage.
If you have to replace your roof, the average cost is around $21,000 for asphalt shingles and the prices goes up from there for more durable materials like metal and tile! Inspect your roof regularly to make it last as long as possible!