Inspecting your own roof is fairly simple. Stand back far enough in your yard to see your roof. Depending on the pitch of the roof you may need to stand across the street or in your neighbors yard. You may also need a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at your shingles.
things to check out
The shingles on your roof should be sitting nice and flat with no bubbles, raised areas, curling shingles or missing shingle tabs. Also look at all of your flashing and vents to make sure it is all sitting flat with no exposed or rusting nails. If your roof looks good upon the visual inspection then it’s time to go into the attic. Take a flashlight into the attic with you and inspect the underside of all of the roof decking. You should look for water stains and rotten wood, as your looking at the decking notice whether any of the nails coming through are rusted. Next look at all penetrations in the roof (pipes, vents etc.) and once again look for any water stains or rotten wood. As your crawling through the attic notice the insulation or floor of the attic and look for any water stains. Now it’s time to check for proper ventilation. Look along the ridge of your roof and make sure you have some type of openings for ventilation. The optimal ventilation will be ridge-vent, which will be a 4″ opening along the peak of the ridge, if not you should have individual vents with 8″x8″ openings about 4 or 5 feet apart running along the ridge about a foot or so down the roof from the ridge. You may also have an electric fan on your roof. Check and see if it is equipped with a thermostat, if so turn the dial down as far as it will go and see if it turns on. It will probably have to be a warm day to check the fan because the thermostat will most likely only go down to about 85 degrees. These fans sometimes have a dial for humidity also, if so check that too. In our area ( Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake ) we experience hot temperatures and high humidity in the summer and many summer-like days in the fall winter and spring so these types of fans are always working overtime and tend to breakdown before they should. Also look around the perimeter of your roof where it meets the attic floor and look for soffit vents, make sure that insulation or debris has not blocked these vents. Soffit vents are important because they work in tandem with the ridge vents to provide a continuous air flow through your attic. You may also have gable vents at either end of your attic in the walls, these vents provide some ventilation but are really an inferior type of ventilation because hot air only wants to rise, it does not want to move sideways. Ventilation is one of the most important parts of your roof because it will increase the life of your shingles and roof deck.
Shingle manufactures will not honor the shingle warranty if your roof does not have proper ventilation. If everything I’ve mentioned here looks good on your roof it most likely has plenty of life left. If your roof does not look satisfactory you may want to contact your local roofing contractor before more damage occurs.