Do I need a new roof?

Where is this leak coming from?

Oftentimes potential clients call to see if we’ll do an inspection of their roof. They feel like their roof is getting older and that they might need a new one. Or they may have suddenly noticed water coming into their home without an obvious source. Not wanting to replace it before it’s necessary, they have us check out their roof so that they don’t get to the point where it needs to be replaced urgently. We never charge for our inspections. We are glad to take a look and let them know, in our professional opinion whether or not they need a new roof or if there is a repair needed.

Here are some of the typical things we find.
• Storm damage (wind or hail)
• Ice dams
• Curled shingles
• Missing shingles
• Rubber roofs with damaged seams
• Chimneys that are not flashed correctly
• Missing wall pan
• Roofs that have been repeatedly caulked the “Band aid” approach
• Plumbing and electrical pipes that have missing or cracked seals at the roof line
• Top cap on the chimney isn’t in good shape, allowing water to leak in
• Roofs that are older but still have some life left in them
When Kevin is doing the inspection he will walk the roof, noticing “spongey” areas, which indicate that the roof has likely leaked and damaged the roof deck underneath. The image below shows what he found under the spongey part. This was actually caused by poor ventilation.

He will look closely at all roof penetrations to verify that they are well-sealed. The image below shows what it looks like when installers choose to use tar to seal up around a chimney rather than using the right flashing. Over time it cracks and separates allowing water to leak in.

He looks at gutters to see if they are cleared of debris. Sometimes this will show, as in this image, that their shingles are losing granules – indicating that it might be time to replace. Sometimes he just notices that the gutters are choked with leaves, birds’ nests, pine needles etc. Leaving the gutters clogged can cause water to back up into the house. In a situation like this, Kevin will offer to install gutter covers.

Worn or missing shingles are noted. Sometimes, as in the first image shingles are missing due to storm damage from wind. Sometimes as in the next image the damage is just due to age and sun.
If the roof line butts up next to a wall, he will check to make sure that the wall is water planed correctly so that water won’t leak through that area.

Any issues that become apparent will be photographed so that he can show the homeowner where there’s a concern.
Sometimes we find things that don’t initially appear to be roofing issues. Like our client who had an issue with a mildewy smell in their home and deteriorated stucco board in multiple places around the exterior. Upon inspection Kevin noticed that the roof, which was replaced 10-years earlier, was missing kick out flashing. Kickout flashing is a specialized, custom-bent piece of galvanized steel that directs the rain water away from the lower wall. First, we installed the flashing, then the stucco sheathing as well as the OSB wall sheathing needed to be replaced and the whole house needed to be re-painted. So, they didn’t need a new roof – but they did have a lot of other repairs that became necessary because their previous contractor didn’t pay attention to details.

We will also work on commercial projects. A very common issue we find there is detail work on their rubber roofing that has failed.

We pride ourselves in giving our clients an honest estimation of what, in our professional opinion, is the condition of their roof. Many times, we have surprised customers by telling them that they could likely get another 5 years out of their present roof. We have been thanked countless times for being honest; sadly, that’s not always what they expect from contractors. Sometimes these clients choose to go ahead and get a new roof done right away. Other times they opt to wait a bit to save up. Either way, we give them the information they need to make a wise, informed decision.
So, if you have noticed a leak or if your roof has been on for a while and you are concerned that it might have aged past its prime, give us a call for a free inspection.