There are plenty of roofing & gutters articles, most of which focus on do-it-yourself projects that teach you what to do if your roof is damaged. Still, the problems occur when you are not even aware that your roof has problems, resulting in damages worth a fortune. Roof problems are recognized at a later stage, when the damage has already been done and it actually starts leaking. A professional roofing inspector, however, is trained to detect and provide an accurate roof inspection report and provide a certification, and we all know certifications sell homes.

Homeowners generally take roofing problems seriously when they notice roof leaks or brown stains on the ceiling. It’s already too late then, and the roof repair may cost a fortune, that is if they don’t need a roof replacement altogether. Evidence of roof leaks may be seen only after two to four years of leaking inside your house, and this delay may cause fungus, dry rot or insulation damages in the ceiling.

Get a Certified Roof Inspection at Least Once a Year
It may seem costly, but it will cost you far less than getting a roof repair or replacement. Getting a certified roof inspection once every year will avoid roof failure and add to the life of the roof. In fact, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends two roof inspections each year – before and after the winter season in cold and rainy climates.

Homeowners can conduct a general primary roof inspection themselves, looking out for buckling, curling or blistering roof shingles, loose material around chimneys or pipes or excessive shingle granules in the gutter, but getting a certified roof inspection is always better. A professional can detect any problems more easily, can notice previous roof repairs and can provide an accurate roof inspection report, listing all problems that need to be dealt with.

Request a Written Report on the Damage
When getting a professional roof inspector to assess the condition of your roof, ask for a detailed written report of the damages he has found. Also, an accurate roof inspection report should include photographs and sketch of the roof indicating the areas of concern.

Free Roof Inspection Offers
To get more customers, many roofing contractors offer free roof inspections and present a detailed report, along with estimated expenses for the roof repair. It is advisable to get the inspection done by several roofing companies, and also hire a professional who does not offer roof repairs. This way, you can make sure the contractor is not recommending unnecessary repairs just to get more money. On the other hand, Richard Boon, Deputy Technical Director of Roofing Industry Educational Institute, does not recommend free inspections. According to Boon, the free inspection charges are actually included in the estimated repair costs, thus making you pay the same amount in the end.

Roof Inspection Checklist for an Accurate Report
It is vital to get an accurate roof inspection report regularly, both for the inside and outside of the roofing structure. If you do, however, prefer to inspect the roof yourself instead of paying a professional, here are some tips on what to watch out for:

Outside Roof Inspection
As long as you have a good, unobstructed viewing point of the rooftop, it is easy to inspect a roof from the outside. This roof inspection checklist of problem warning signs will help you detect potential problems:

loose or missing shingles or tiles
blistered, curled or split roof shingles
loose nails
exposed nails
dark patches on asphalt shingles
large amounts of granules in the rain gutters – granular coating is wearing away
sagging in the ridges or in the center of the roof
rusted or corroded metal, loose shingles in the valleys, plumbing vents or near chimneys
broken or loose shingles at ridge lines and hip lines
rusty metal or loose shingles where vertical sides of the house meet the roof
blisters, depressions near vent pipes, clogged drains on flat roofs, separations in flashing
overflowing gutters or excess water pooling near the foundation of the house
Indoor Roof Inspection
This indoor roof inspection checklist includes problem warning signs to look for during an indoor roof inspection:

sagging decking between the rafters
outside light seen through the roof
signs of leaking in the attic area – dark spots in the wood (especially around chimneys, vents and other holes to the roof)
wet or soft dark spots mean they are a current problem, dry and hard dark spots indicate an old problem that has been fixed
signs of leaking or water damage – water stains, sagging ceilings
These, however, are rather primary roof inspections. The checklists will give you a starting point and highlight potential problems and warning signs to look out for, but it is always best to hire a professional roofing contractor to do the job. He will know all there is to know about roof inspection, asphalt shingles, chimney flashing, cedar shingles, metal drip, roof replacement, storm damage, roof repair costs and so on. And frankly, compared to the costs of repair if problems are detected too late, the fee is insignificant.