As any responsible homeowner knows, this is one of two times per year when getting on your roof to do a pre-winter inspection is a necessity (primarily because it’s the key to a home’s energy efficiency, among other reasons.) But who wants to be climbing a ladder 25 feet in the air when the weather is turning sharply colder and nastier?
That’s where your attic comes in.
According to Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, that space you’re probably using mainly for storing odds and ends can substitute, as a fallback, for the eyeball roof check normally recommended to be done every pre-winter and spring.
“Roofs actually create an insulated barrier that helps trap heat inside, and most attic spaces are located right below them,” says Joplin. “That makes them perfect for spotting potential problem areas and damage without worrying about falling off a ladder.”
Here’s what to look for while you’re up there:
• Water leaks. As sure as tweeting at 3 AM is (generally) a bad idea, it will soon storm. When it does, shine a flashlight up in the attic to check not only for water condensation, but also for water stains on the ceiling, walls, and floors. All signal that H2O is finding its way beneath your roof’s shingles or behind its flashings.
• Ventilation. “Think of the attic as the lungs of the house,” advises Joplin. “It has to be able to breathe in order to function properly.” Which is to say, vents stuffed with debris need to be cleared.
• Animal damage. You know those, “If you see something, say something,” Homeland Security ads? Well, to avoid the havoc refuge-seeking birds, bats, squirrels, and raccoons can create, warning bells should likewise sound—followed by a call to a pest-control professional —if you spot any of these tell-tale signs: nests, droppings, or gnawed wood, wires, or insulation.
• Structural problems. The mere hint of a sagging roof—look up for this one — could indicate potential structural weakness requiring professional help. And if prolonging your roof’s life is your goal, experts say it pays to consult a professional roofing contractor who is insured and uses quality materials such as the latest triple-layer line of Glenwood Shingles — the thickest of its kind, with an authentic, wood-shake look — from GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. A free service that makes it easy to find a factory-certified contractor in your area can be found at gaf.com.