What Does Your Attic Say About Your Roof?

July 14, 2014

Each and every day, your roof takes a beating. Shingles are designed to last decades, but they have to bear the brunt of rainstorms, snow, and 95-degree weather, and even a small imperfection in your roof opens the door to bigger leaks down the road. Most roof problems never display visible signs from the outside, so you won’t be able to tell that there’s a leak simply by looking up at your roof while standing in your yard. At least once a year, you’ll want to climb up into your attic or crawlspace to manually inspect your roof from inside.

Safe Inspection Tips

Unless you have vaulted ceilings, you likely have an attic or crawlspace that’s shaped like a triangle. Your attic floor is made up of ceiling joists, which are spaced 12 to 24 inches apart, and most ceiling joists are never covered by plywood or another surface that’s safe to walk on. When you crawl up into your attic, make sure that you step very carefully to avoid putting a foot through your insulation and drywall.

Always wear a respirator when dealing with fiberglass insulation. The tiny fiberglass particles itch like crazy when they land on your face and arms, and you don’t want to breathe them in. Your insulation could also harbor a variety of nasty diseases and mold.

Common Problem Areas

Roofing leaks typically develop where sheathing panels meet, at valleys, siding, chimneys, skylights or vents, but severe weather can cause damage anywhere. Although the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get the kind of severe weather other parts of the country do, like hail storms and hurricane strength winds, we do get prolonged rain – which can be even more damaging to a roof. Long-term leaks are more dangerous simply because fewer homeowners recognize the signs.

Types of Damage to Look For

Do you see sunlight? If so, it’s a bad sign. Visible sunlight means that you already have a large hole in your roof, which means that water damage and expensive repairs aren’t far behind. Most roof damage requires a closer inspection, and you’ll need a flashlight and moisture meter to ensure that your roof is still in good shape.

Pay close attention to roof framing members as you conduct your inspection. Make a note of any discoloration on the sheathing panels, and use your moisture meter on each joist. Mold starts growing at about 27% moisture, so shoot for 5% to 15% just to be on the safe side.

Modern roofs aren’t just designed to keep water out; they’re also designed to let water inside your roof escape. Water damage can negatively impact your roof’s permeability, trapping humidity inside the sheathing panels and framing.

Need a professional roof inspection in Portland? If so, contact Interstate Roofing today for a free estimate. Our roofing experts will give you all the information you need about the current state of your roof to make the right decision for your home.