Roofs are an essential part of the house. They keep you dry and safe at home, they help to keep your home insulated and comfortable, and they can even boost the resale value of your house. But keeping an eye on your roof isn’t always easy.

Finding roof damage before it becomes a problem is essential for protecting yourself from leaks and other damage that will cost you time and money. So if you want to know how to inspect a roof for damage, read on.

Step 1 – Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, gather your supplies. You’ll need a ladder or a few chairs if there’s no ladder nearby, a flashlight, phone, pen and paper, camera, and tape measure. If possible, try to have a friend help you with this step—it can be tricky to inspect the roof when you’re alone.

Make sure weather conditions are favorable: if it’s raining or snowing heavily outside, wait until the storm has passed before climbing on to inspect your roof. Remember that roofs can be slippery even when they aren’t covered in ice.

Step 2 – Find a Safe Place To Stand

If you’re on a roof, ensure you have the proper equipment. You’ll need to find a safe place to stand while inspecting the damage. If the roof is too steep, you may be unable to rely on your two feet for balance. Use a ladder or scaffold instead of standing directly on top of the building.

how to inspect a roof ladder

If there’s no other way around it, bring along some sturdy rope or chain and use them as safety lines in case something goes wrong and your footing gives out. This way, if something unexpected happens during your roof inspections, there won’t be any injuries of not utilizing proper precautions beforehand.

You can also use specialized tools like roof jacks which allow access without needing any ladders—step right up onto these devices. They feature adjustable legs to accommodate different types of roofs, such as flat ones versus sloped ones. Keep an eye out for signs indicating where each leg should go before adjusting accordingly.

There are also options like roof mounts that attach right onto existing structures, such as chimneys, so workers don’t have to worry about falling off while doing their jobs at height.

Step 3 – Look at the Roof Itself

Now that you’ve prepared the supplies and equipment, it’s time to get on top for a thorough roof inspection. The next step is to inspect the shingles themselves. Inspect them for missing shingles, damaged shingles, curled shingles, broken nails or staples, and dents on the surface of the shingles. If you see any damage like this, assess how serious it is.

If only a few stray nails need driving back into place or if there are only a couple of dents in some small areas on your roof, then you can touch up those areas with some extra nail holes using a hammer or screwdriver before laying new shingles overtop.

Keep in mind that as long as there isn’t much visible damage to begin with—and especially if there aren’t many leaks—your insurance company may not cover it under their policies since they might consider this “normal wear-and-tear.”

If there are larger sections of missing shingles or big patches where nails have come out completely, those areas will need to be replaced, plus any other damaged parts.

Step 4 – Look at the Flashing Around Your Chimney, Vent Pipes, and Skylights

Now that you’ve looked at the entire roof, it’s time to go for a structural inspection to check out what’s going on with your chimney, vents, and skylights.

These are areas where metal or plastic pieces cover the point of contact between the roof and walls, which is important because if water comes into contact with these points without protection (like flashing), there will be potential for leaks.

Be sure to look for any telltale signs of rust or other damage to these pieces; if you see any, it’s probably best not to try repairing them yourself unless you’re an expert.

roofing contractor with clip board shows how to inspect a roof for damages

Step 5 – Look for Stains on the Ceiling Inside Your Home

The next step in your roof inspections is to look for water stains on the ceiling inside your home as part of your interior inspection. If you see any stains that look like water damage or mold, there’s likely a leak somewhere in the roof caused by extreme weather like heavy rain.

Look for mold or mildew growing out of control inside your walls and ceilings, which is another sign that there may be leaks in your roof, as well as providing a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause health problems if inhaled by someone in the house.

Step 6 – Look for Puddles and Leaks in the Attic

To check the attic, you’ll need to determine where the leak comes from. Look for stains on the ceiling and walls that indicate wet insulation, mold, or mildew.

There are several ways to check this, but one of the easiest is inspecting your gutters. If there’s a lot of debris in the gutters, it could mean that water isn’t getting where it needs to go—and could leak into your roof down to the attic.

Step 7 – Call for a Roofing Professional

If you’ve determined that there is a problem and need to hire a professional roof inspector for proper roof inspections, there are some things to keep in mind, like calling more than one company for estimates. You want to compare estimates from several companies to find the detailed report and best deal.

Get it in writing what each company will do and how much they will charge for the work. Ask them if they are licensed, bonded, and insured—and require them to provide proof of this before starting any work on your property.

You should make sure the roof inspector has a good reputation with other homeowners or businesses that have used his services in the past, which is especially important if he’s going to be working inside your home.


These steps will allow you to quickly and easily check your roof for damage when learning how to inspect a roof. If you find any problems, call a professional immediately to ensure that you get professional inspections and repairs done as soon as possible.

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