10 Step Roof Maintenance Checklist

Feb - 06

10 Step Roof Maintenance Checklist

When Should You Inspect Your Roof?

Ideally, roofs ought to be inspected each year before the severe weather seasons. Severe weather includes the cold winters of our eastern locations and therefore the extreme heat and direct daylight throughout Southern and Eastern summers, these extremes will age and injury roofs, therefore it’s a good plan to inspect there condition, and to examine for faults before extreme weather happens. Roofs ought to be inspected the wake of a severe weather event like a hailstorm, or damaging stong winds or snow for peace of mind.

Developing Your Roof Maintenance Checklist

If you decide to do your own roofing maintenance, it is critical to develop a checklist to use during inspections. Your roof maintenance checklist will help ensure that you do not overlook any of the elements that require inspection. Your completed checklists will also serve as proof of proper maintenance should you need to submit an insurance or warranty claim.

Here are eleven important elements to include on your checklist: 

1. Interior Signs of Roof Problems

Before you go to the roof, examine the interior of the building for signs of water damage such as mold, mildew, drips and leaks, water stains, and peeling paint. If you find any, be especially vigilant when you inspect the roof. (Be aware that leaks can travel sideways through a building, so the cause of the damage may not be located directly above it.)

2. Check for Cleanliness

Once you’re on the rooftop safely, inspect for accumulated dirt and debris. These can clog drains and cause roofing surfaces to rot or decay prematurely. Fallen tree limbs can damage roof membranes and elements – you may need to schedule tree maintenance as well.

3. Check the Roof Surface

Look for signs of damage or weathering. On a flat roof, one of the biggest problems is a low spot that will collect standing water. Make note of any blistering, cracking, tears or holes, or deep scratches in the membrane. If it is a gravel-top roof, check to see that the gravel layer is uniform and free of bare spots. For metal roofs, inspect for corrosion and loose or damaged panels. Tile and shingle roofs should be checked for loose, missing or damaged pieces.

4. Expansion Joints

If you have these on your roof, inspect them thoroughly for cuts, gaps, and tears.

5. Flashings

If flashing were required to install skylights on your rooftop you need to pay extra attention to these areas! Make sure they are not pulling away from the roof or leaving gaps.

6. Drains

Moss, watermarks, and mold are all signs of clogged drains. Check also for deteriorated or damaged flashings and seals. These will need immediate attention.

7. Exterior Structural Components

Elements such as chimneys, vents, pipes and skylights should each appear separately on your checklist. Inspect their surfaces for cleanliness, and look for signs of aging such as peeling paint, rust, rot, and moss or fungus. Also look for structural damage such as bent elements, missing parts, and sagging pipes.

8. Pipe and Equipment Supports

One of the most important things on your roof maintenance checklist should be your pipe and their supports. Check to be sure that pipes are not sagging, there are no cracks in the base of the support, deflected hangers, or supports digging into the roof membrane. 

9. Stairs and Railings

Inspect stairs, crossovers, platforms, and railings for structural soundness, loose parts and for missing or damaged elements such as rail posts and treads. Overlooked issues with these devices can later cause a dangerous and unsafe environment for roofing maintenance professionals. Contact Us 

10. Old Repairs

Previous repairs are often the first thing to fail, especially if they were not done by an experienced professional. List each repair separately on your roof maintenance checklist so all future inspectors know what to look for.

How to Use Your Roof Maintenance Checklist 

Once you have developed your checklist, it helps to have a system to prioritize issues. One simple and effective system is to use a Good-Fair-Poor rating system. A “Good” rating means the element is deemed in good shape and needs no attention beyond routine inspection. “Fair” indicates elements that are showing some wear but have not yet reached a state of emergency. These should be scheduled for maintenance and/or inspection, or be put on the list for future replacement. Items in “Poor” condition—including any issues that involve current or potential water damage—will need immediate attention. 

It is also a good idea to decide ahead of time which issues you will be handling in-house and which ones you will call in a professional to address. While doing your own repairs can be cost effective, it is better to err on the side of caution. A compromised roof can result in tremendous structural damage to your building that could eclipse any savings you might realize if you do not have someone on staff who is truly qualified to do the work. Additionally, it helps to have all your warranty information handy to double check what items can and cannot replaced free of charge. 

Exactly what to include on your checklist will depend on your unique roof. We recommend starting with the elements listed above, and add or delete items as appropriate for your building.

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