“Mom! I hear something in the attic!” My daughter’s blood-curdling cry forced me to explore one area of my home that I’d rather avoid: our unfinished attic. The picture below captures my experience best. Let me tell you, it was not pleasant. As it turns out the drama was caused by a mama bird that had chosen our attic as her nesting location through an exhaust vent. By the time we had relocated the feathered family, I was itchy, sweaty, and worst of all had put my foot through my son’s bedroom ceiling. (Note the “DO NOT step here!”)
Attics may be unpleasant, but they are a vital part of the outer shell of your home. Virginia's hurricane season and severe weather bring the potential for lots of wind and water coming down on your Virginia home. Virginia winters bring rain and heavy wet snow and ice weighing down on your roof. Ice dams can damage your roof if your gutters are not working effectively.
Our home insurance experts say your home attic is the place to look for small water leaks that can become big costly problems. So, if you’re a fearless DIY detective like me, grab a flashlight and take a trip on up.
Here’s how to do a simple attic inspection:
- Check valleys, vent pipes, and areas around attic ventilation fans for dampness. These are good places to investigate signs of leaks.
- Wood that has been wet will be stained or darkened even after it dries.
- While you’re up there you can also keep your eye out for signs of uninvited pests.
- See if you can spy wet roof sheathing (that’s the wood underneath the shingles), an indication of problems with roof shingles.
Here's an expert tip: during or soon after a heavy rain event is an ideal opportunity for the detection of water problems. Old leaks show up as dark staining on sheathing- sometimes with mold and mildew!
Should I hire an attic inspection professional?
After seeing a snapshot of my attic experience, or having had one equally as harrowing of your own, you may decide a better route is to hire a pro. Hire a certified and reputable roofing contractor and they will take a look at the inside and your home's exterior. If your roof is older than 15 years with standard asphalt shingle or composition shingles, it's time to start planning for the cost of a replacement roof and have it inspected annually. We can help you recognize signs your roof needs to be replaced too!
Depending on the size of your home, a physical roof inspection can run anywhere from $200 to $600 in Virginia. Some contractors also offer infrared and drone inspections for areas that are difficult to access which can run between $400 and $600.
Attic insulation and ventilation
An attic and roofing specialist will also inspect your attic for telltale signs of existing issues from lack of ventilation and insulation (the itchy, icky pink and yellow stuff). These two sure go a long way with Virginia’s heat and humidity. Having adequate insulation and a good attic fan can prolong the life of your roof shingles and increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. That can save money on your utilities! One quality professional attic inspection - great peace of mind for big storms, winter weather, and your wallet.