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A guide to checking your roof

A checkup on your roof system in the fall and spring will help diagnose potential problems early.

NRCA recommends you hire a professional roofing contractor to assist you with checking your roof. However, NRCA realizes many homeowners prefer to perform an initial inspection themselves. If you prefer to go that route, following are some important tips to get you started.

When cleaning your gutters or inspecting your roof system, remember important ladder safety tips:

  • Make sure the ladder is on solid, level ground.

  • Secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping.

  • Inspect the ladder, rungs and rails for damage.

  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.

  • Always use both hands when climbing the ladder.
Once on the ladder, you should look for:

  • Shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering; this indicates the end of the shingles' life expectancy.

  • Loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.

  • Excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters; granules give shingles added weight and protect them from ultraviolet rays.
Before you hire a roofing contractor, do your homework:

  • Check for a contractor's permanent place of business, telephone number and tax identification number.

  • Check references from prior customers.

  • Ask for proof of insurance (liability and workers' compensation*).

  • Ask the contractor about material and workmanship warranties.
*Note: U.S. workers' compensation laws vary by state. Consult your state's laws to determine workers' compensation insurance requirements.

Use the following form to record your roof system's checkup each fall and spring.

Your roof system's health
  Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring
Cleaned gutters            
Checked shingles            
Inspected around
chimneys and pipes
           
Checked interior walls and ceilings for water damage            
Called a professional roofing contractor            

If you diagnose a problem, hire a professional roofing contractor.


To locate a professional roofing contractor in your area, use NRCA's contractor member search.