What You Can Do on Your Own
While there’s no replacement for a professional roof inspector, there are some things homeowners can take on.
Carefully take a look.
If you’re comfortable doing so, photograph the roof. “Annual roof photos are a great idea, as it shows the roof over time,” Shirley says. Along with a historic record, being able to share photos of potential problems can speed up the repair process, Shirley says.
But prioritize safety: Tie the ladder securely to the gutter to prevent it from falling, Shirley advises. “Inspect as much as possible from the ladder, only walking on the roof when necessary,” he says. And never, ever walk backwards.
Smart Tip: Take advantage of modern technology. “If possible, use a drone to capture photos instead of walking on steep roofs,” says Shirley.
From the ground, check out your shingles.
You can see signs of problems with shingles from street-level, without getting up on a ladder, Steckel says. “You can even ask a neighbor if they can see any curling, shrinking, or overt damage to the shingles,” he says.
Look from inside your home.
Check for damaged or missing caulking around skylights, plumbing stacks, and chimneys. “Quite a few leaks come from these small areas,” says Steckel.
Clean your gutters.
If you’re comfortable on a ladder, you can clean your gutters, removing leaves and debris, Shirley says.
You want to “make sure there is no massive amounts of snow building up,” Steckel says. A roof rake—which has a long handle, so you can use it from the ground—can help you safely remove snow.