Roofing Southwest Blog > Routine Roof Inspections

Routine Roof Inspections

October 12, 2017

Why don’t we make roof inspections a regular part of our home or business routine? Well, the roof is just there, right? I mean, if it is doing what it is supposed to do, why worry? Because neglect is the most common cause of roof replacements and costly repairs. Because neglect is expensive! Studies have shown that a neglected roof will last only half of its expected service life. So it is your choice – spend a little money on yearly inspection and minor repairs, or a lot of money a whole lot sooner than you planned on roof replacement.

Here are some tips to help you get organized for a roof inspection:

Step 1: Gather the Paperwork

If you haven’t gathered all the relevant paperwork in one place, that should be your first step.  Several helpful items that come in handy during a roof inspection include:

  • A copy of the warranty – both for installation and materials.
  • A list of the names and contact info for companies who have previously worked on your roof.
  • Architectural plans of the roof, which shows all equipment and previous leaks and repairs.

Step 2: Pick a Time

Armed with all that information, pick a time of year when you should schedule an annual roof inspection. For homeowners, time change (either spring or fall) is a good way to remember that your roof is due for inspection. In severe weather climates, it is probably a good idea to inspect the roof as soon as the severe weather season is over. Here in the southwest, after Monsoon Season is a good time to get it done — the professionals can check for any hidden storm damage.

Schedule a yearly reminder on your calendar. 

For commercial building managers, a yearly property inspection is generally a standard operating practice and should also include a roof inspection. Actually, a roof inspection twice a year is recommended for commercial and industrial properties, since they tend to see a lot more roof traffic than a residential property.

Step 3: Pre-inspection

Before you call in the professionals, do a quick inspection of your own. We find that so many “roof leaks” aren’t actually failure of the roofing materials, but rather failure of any one of the following:

  • Walls, drainage and glazing failure.
  • Window and wall sealant failure.
  • Cracks in plumbing or HVAC pipes.
  • Sealant failure of skylights, chimneys or other roof penetrations.

Step 4: The Inspection

Now you are ready to call in the professional roofers for an inspection. Here are all the things they should be looking for:

Overall Impression

  • Is the roof covered with debris – leaves, plants, bird nests or dropping?
  • Is there old or neglected equipment on the roof, like air conditioner or evaporative cooler?
  • Is the coating intact?
  • Is the roofing material intact?


The roofing industry has some neat toys these days, like infrared scans that can immediately show where water might be hiding in the roofing materials.

Drainage System

  • Are there areas of standing water?
  • Are the gutters clogged?


  • Is the flashing and sealant in good repair around all roof penetrations — HVAC, plumbing stacks, chimneys, skylights, exhaust vents, etc.

Step #5: Repairs

If the professional roofers recommend repairs, have them done immediately. Small problems can turn into big problems in a hurry, so invest a little now and prolong the life of your roof — and protect your wallet from costly roof replacements!


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