How to keep your roof in tip-top shape

Neglecting roof maintenance may result in leakage

How often do you think about your roof? Chances are, unless there’s a major hail or wind storm, you aren’t sitting around thinking about the state of your shingles. It’s easy to go months, or even years, without so much as a quick glance up at your roof — until it starts to leak, that is. And once your roof starts to leak, the damage has likely been brewing for a while…meaning it could be a real pain to repair. Inspecting your roof annually and knowing some telltale signs of damage is the best way to make sure your roof stays in tip-top shape for years to come.

Your roof inspection checklist

Generally speaking, it’s best to call in a professional to inspect your roof each year. But you can also inspect it yourself between professional visits if you’re comfortable doing so — and if you’re prepared to do so safely. We’ve got some tips for what should be included in your roof inspection.

Exterior roof inspection

Damage to the external parts of your roof can lead to leaky ceilings, mould that can be dangerous to your health, and even structural damage to other areas of your home. Here’s what should be checked in an external roof inspection:

  • Obvious, visible structural damage
  • Cracks in the chimney
  • Blocked or broken gutters
  • Damaged fascia (boards that run along the roofline and hold gutters in place)
  • Standing water, dirt, or debris
  • Damaged eavestroughs
  • Wood or other materials that are rotting, mouldy, or covered in moss
  • Shingles that are curled, buckled, cracked, broken, blistered, or missing
  • Rust buildup on flashing (metal used to cover roof joints)
  • Vents or skylights that are dirty, peeling, rusting, or covered with moss
  • Clogged drains
  • Loose or exposed nails
  • Sagging areas
  • Missing or cracked caulking around flashing
  • Lots of shingle granules in gutters (indicating that shingles are decaying)

Interior roof inspection

When your roof is damaged, there are often signs on the inside of your home, too. Watch out for these signs that your roof may be damaged:

  • Cracked wall or ceiling paint
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Water staining or leaks on ceilings or interior walls
  • Moisture or mould on walls
  • Ventilation issues
  • Light coming through cracks
  • Sagging between rafters
  • Roof sheathing damage (this might be harder to spot, but you’re looking for damage to the flat panels under the shingles that provide support to the rest of your roof)

If you notice any signs that your roof may be damaged, be sure to call in a professional roofing contractor right away so they can complete any necessary repairs.

Remember ladder safety

If you decide to inspect your roof yourself, you’re going to need a sturdy ladder and someone to spot you (standing below the ladder and holding onto the bottom while you’re up top). If you’re not familiar with proper ladder safety protocols, it’s best to leave the climbing up to a professional.

Does home insurance cover roof damage and leaks?

Most home insurance policies cover roof damage caused by unpredictable perils like hail, fire, or severe wind. However, if your roof is damaged by a peril that isn’t covered by your policy, then repairs won’t be covered. Most home insurance policies also exclude damage caused by wear and tear, defect, breakdown, or faulty workmanship — so if you neglect to keep your roof properly maintained and it starts to leak, you’ll have to cover the repairs yourself.

If you’re wondering whether your own home insurance policy would cover damage to your roof, reach out to your licensed broker. If you’re shopping for home insurance and don’t already have a broker, find one near you today.

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