As the leaves begin to fall and the temperatures start to drop, Minnesota homeowners are reminded of the imminent arrival of winter. With heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures characteristic of the state’s cold season, ensuring the integrity of your home’s roof becomes paramount. One effective way to do so is through a diligent roof inspection.

While professional inspections are highly recommended, a DIY approach can be a good preliminary step. Here’s a comprehensive 10-point plan to assist Minnesota homeowners in conducting a basic roof inspection:

1. Gather Necessary Equipment

Details: Safety first! Equip yourself with a sturdy ladder, non-slip shoes, gloves, and safety glasses.

Signs of Wear: Check your equipment for stability, especially if you haven’t used them in a while.

Professional Assistance: If you’re uncomfortable with heights or don’t have the right equipment, consider calling a professional from the outset.

2. General Overview

Details: Before ascending, observe the roof from the ground. Look for any obvious signs of damage, sagging, or irregularities.

Signs of Wear: Uneven roof planes, sagging sections.

Professional Assistance: If the structure appears compromised, contact an expert.

3. Examine the Shingles

Details: Check for missing, cracked, or curling shingles.

Signs of Wear: Discolored or damp shingles, granules in gutters.

 Professional Assistance: Multiple damaged shingles warrant a professional’s attention.

4. Inspect the Gutters

Details: Ensure gutters are securely attached and free from debris.

Signs of Wear: Rust or discolored streaks, sagging sections.

Professional Assistance: If water flow seems restricted or the structure appears weak, consult an expert.

5. Check the Flashing

Details: Look for signs of damage or rust around the chimney, vents, and skylights.

Signs of Wear: Loose or missing sections, visible cracks.

Professional Assistance: Damaged flashing is a primary source of leaks; professionals should handle replacements.

6. Survey Roof Valleys

Details: As natural collection points for water, valleys need particular attention.

Signs of Wear: Worn shingles, debris accumulation.

Professional Assistance: If wear is excessive, or if there’s water infiltration in these areas, seek expert advice.

7. Examine Vents and Skylights

Details: Ensure these structures are intact without cracks or breaks.

Signs of Wear: Cracks, leaks, or drafts in the interior.

Professional Assistance: Any damage in these areas can cause significant energy loss and should be addressed by a professional.

8. Inspect the Attic

Details: The underside of your roof can reveal a lot. Look for signs of moisture, mold, or daylight seeping through.

Signs of Wear: Wet insulation, mold growth, or any light penetration.

Professional Assistance: These signs typically indicate significant roofing issues; an expert should be consulted immediately.

9. Check for Algae or Moss

Details: These can indicate moisture and can damage shingles over time.

Signs of Wear: Dark streaks, green patches.

Professional Assistance: While some DIY solutions can remove moss or algae, recurring issues should be addressed by professionals.

10. Evaluate Overall Roof Age and Health

Details: Consider the age of your roof. Most shingle roofs have a lifespan of 20-25 years.

Signs of Wear: Multiple areas of concern, frequent leaks.

Professional Assistance: If your roof is approaching its typical lifespan and has multiple problem areas, it might be time for a replacement. Discuss this with a roofing expert.


While a DIY roof inspection can be beneficial, it’s crucial to remember the limitations of such an approach. If during your inspection, you find multiple areas of concern or feel uncertain about the roof’s integrity, it’s imperative to seek a professional opinion. 

Remember, winter in Minnesota can be unforgiving. The weight of snow, the potential for ice dams, and the freeze-thaw cycle can exacerbate minor roofing issues, turning them into major problems. Taking the initiative to inspect your roof before winter fully sets in can save you from unexpected complications, expenses, and ensure the comfort and safety of your home’s occupants.

Need a Second Opinion on Your Roof Inspection?  

While a DIY check is a great start, professional insights ensure nothing is missed. If any aspect of your 10-point inspection raises concerns or if you’d prefer an expert’s touch to guarantee your home’s readiness for winter, Exterior Plus is at your service. Let our experienced team give you the peace of mind you deserve. Schedule a Professional Inspection Today.