"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 attic. The picture below captures my experience best. Let me tell you; it was not pleasant. As it turns out, a mama bird that had chosen our attic as her nesting location through an exhaust vent was causing all the drama. By the time we had relocated the feathered family, I was itchy, sweaty, and worst of all, I 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 significant wind and water coming down on your Virginia home. Virginia winters bring rain, heavy wet snow, and ice weighing down 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.
How to do a simple attic inspection
We highly recommend hiring a professional to do an annual roof inspection, inside and out. In between those services or after severe weather or wind, it's a good idea to look, especially for signs of water.
- Check valleys, vent pipes, and areas around attic ventilation fans for dampness. These are good places to investigate signs of leaks.
- Wet wood will be stained or darkened even after it dries.
- Check 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 to detect water problems. Old leaks show up as dark staining on sheathing- sometimes with mold and mildew!
Why hire a roof and attic professional?
Hire a certified and reputable roofing inspector annually. These experts are trained and have experience. If your roof is older than 15 years with standard asphalt or composition shingles, we recommend planning for the cost of a replacement roof in the next five years. There are predictable signs that your roof may need replacing.
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. 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.