Using Your Attic to Determine the Condition of Your Roof

What homeowner wants to brave the winter elements to check on the health of his roof? And yet, given the crucial role roofs play in determining a house’s efficiency (yes, that means utility bills) most people think they have no choice but to go mano-a-mano with all that snow and ice, ladders, and recreation of a bad Christmas comedy… Turns out most people are wrong, you can just check your attic instead.

So here are 4 simple checks to mark off your list while looking up:

1. Animal damage. Have those pesky birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons have gotten snuggly in your attic?  Any signs of nests, droppings and gnawed wood, wires or insulation, should set off a red-light alarm in your head. First, call a pest professional immediately. Second, call a roofing specialist to asses the damage.

2. Leaks. “Tut tut, it looks like…” a fancy Nor’easter? It’s gonna rain. It’s gonna snow. It’s going to get ugly. And when it does, shine a flashlight up in the attic in search of not just dripping water and condensation, but also water stains on the ceiling, walls and floor.

3. Ventilation. “The attic is like the lungs of the house,” says Joplin. “It must be able to breathe in order to function properly.” Therefore, if your vents are stuffed with debris, they need to be cleared.

4. Structure. Now that you’re in the attic, take a look up. Are sections of the roof sagging? If so, that signals potential structural weakness requiring professional repair.

**Bonus tip: Of course, for those who insist on venturing outside in the cold (because that’s how we separate the men from the boys, of course)- You can still check for structural deformities without climbing any treacherous ladders by using binoculars to zoom in. From the safety of the ground, quite the novel idea! Look for missing shingles, and broken gutters.