What to Look For (In a Roof) When Buying a Home?
December 29, 2022 Admin
Are you in the market to buy a new home, an older home, or a historic home?
Too often, home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, take their roofs at face value. It looks ok, right?
Unfortunately, many areas of your new roof aren’t visible to the naked eye and might have damage. For example, there could be unnoticed wind roof damage, problems with the roof gutters, or leaks that form during heavy rain that slowly cause damage.
East Texas’ weather is tough on roofs. Not only are there regular heavy wind storms that tear up and weaken shingles and tiles, there are also heavy rain storms and long periods of humidity. And don’t forget the occasional tornado!
The rain and humidity cause damp places to quickly grow mold and mildew and even begin to rot. Unfortunately, rot, mold, and mildew can too easily grow in difficult-to-notice places. This is a problem not just for your home but potentially for your health.
A roof inspection by local professional roofers is necessary because of the combination of visible and invisible potential issues to look for in a roof when buying a house.
A good place to begin is the age of the home and roof. With all the weather wear and tear, roofs in Texas last, on average, around 10-15 years. This isn’t terribly long in the life of a house. When was the home’s roof last replaced? When was it last repaired, and what repairs were made? Does the seller have proof of how old the roof is?
Before you schedule your official inspection, it’s possible to do your own preliminary inspection just by looking the roof over and paying attention to certain details. We don’t recommend getting onto a ladder if you’re not experienced, but a lot can be seen from the ground.
How does your roof look? Are there loose shingles or tiles? Curled shingles? Can you visibly see mold or mildew? Does it look like the gutters have been cleaned? Are there stains along the eaves? Are there places along the wall base and roof joists that appear damp or stained? How does the wood feel? Is it damp? Is there moss growing anywhere?
Does your prospective house have skylights? While skylights might be aesthetically pleasing and let in extra light, they’re also a primary cause of leaks and roof damage. Especially if they haven’t been installed properly or have been left in for longer than 10 years.
First, find out how old the skylight is. Can you see visible water damage around the skylight? Do the previous owners or tenants say it leaks during heavy rain? If that’s the case, it may have compromised the roof around it. In this case, the window itself will need to be replaced, and perhaps portions of the roof as well.
What is the home’s ventilation system like in the roof? If a roof isn’t properly vented, it can cause both short and long-term problems. This is especially true in hot, humid places like East Texas.
What condition are the gutters, downspouts, and drain pipes? Are they full of debris? Damp? Broken or nonexistent? Drainage is an important part of keeping roofs in good condition. If the roof doesn’t have functional drainage in place, chances are there is water damage somewhere.
When it comes to the interior of your home, you can look for visible problems like mold, mildew, water stains, and cracked or stained plaster/drywall. Especially check upstairs in any attics or crawl spaces.
Unfortunately, some of the more insidious issues with your roof aren’t immediately visible, which is why it’s important you have professional roofers perform an inspection. With their expertise and diagnostic equipment, the professionals will be able to determine if there are leaks or faults.
If you and the roofers determine there are indeed issues, you have options. The cost of roof replacement and/or repairs should be negotiated into the purchase price. This is another reason it’s important to have an official inspection—so that an official report and quote can be written up for both buyer and seller.
If the repairs needed are minor, you could negotiate to have them fixed before the house is signed for.
While it might seem daunting to buy a home that needs roof work, you’re not in the process alone—call your local roofer today and make an appointment for an inspection.