A great deal of people inspect their roofing during the Summer and Fall. This is to check that the roof is ready for winter. Different materials wear out in different stages. Depending upon the weather in your area, it may be recommended to do inspections quarterly. For those with reasonable weather, inspections can be done annually. This means that for those with extreme weather, every season should involve you looking for damage to the studs, shingles, and roofing boards. If you have had a large ice, snow, wind, or hail storm recently then consider taking an extra look. Be on the constant look out for damage to interior walls and ceilings. This can be a sign of leakage in the roof and cam quickly lead to mold and mildew.
What are you looking for when you are inspecting your roof? It all depends on what type of roofing you have. Every type has flashing. This is the metal piece that fit around things to keep the water or other elements outside of the house. The flashing protects small openings around the chimney, dormers and/or vent pipes. If a piece of flashing becomes loose then water will be able to reach interior walls. This can result in rotting of the walls and basic infrastructure.
One type of roofing is that with the asphalt shingles. These have a surface that is a lot like tiny rocks or gravel. As the shingles age they begin to break apart and this results in them warping which causes the shingle to curl up. Also look to see if they are tearing at any point. Once either of these happens you have to replace them.
If you still have wooden shingles or shakes for your roofing then look for obvious signs of rotting or warping. It is recommended that you don't walk on a roof made of these materials due to the instability that is possible.
Metal roofing should be checked for leakage, seams that are coming apart, or rusting. While these are suppose to last a minimum of 50 years, extreme weather conditions may influence the actual life of the roof.
Once you've inspected your roof it is time to determine if it can be repaired or if it will have to be replaced. The basic decision to repair or replace roofing comes down to how much damage there is to the existing roof. In any case, roofing is a home improvement task that adds beauty as well as functionality to your home.
The basic rule for people in the housing industry is the 1/3 rule. This means that if 1/3 or more of the roof has been damaged then it probably needs to be replaced. If less than 1/3 is damaged then it's time to break out the tools to repair it. Do not try to take short cuts when looking for someone to repair the roof. Doing so will only lead to greater and more expensive problems in the long run. If your home is relatively new then you may want to check to see if the warranty is still in effect.