Understanding Home Roof Inspections


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Whether buying, selling, or updating a home you already own, knowing the condition of the roof is very important.

J & B West Roofing and Construction recommends that every potential home buyer get a complete home inspection before any money changes hands. It’s the best way to keep your dream home from quickly becoming a nightmare after you take ownership. The results from a home inspection will give you a powerful insight into the state of the home.

If your home inspector says the roof needs to be repaired or replaced, you can usually go to the existing homeowner to cover the expense of all necessary work. You may have a few options:

  • Ask the seller outright to pay for the cost of the new roof and have it installed. Prior to closing, it can be very difficult to get a new homeowner’s insurance policy on a home where the roof is damaged or too old.
  • Offer to split the cost. If the housing market is tough for buyers, or you think there’s competition for this particular home, then you can make an arrangement to divide up the cost of the new roof with the seller.
  • Pay for the new roof yourself. Sometimes, new owners will want to pay for the new roof themselves so they can get the materials and colors they want. It also allows you to pick your contractor, which can save you money down the road. If the seller isn’t willing to lower their price, you can actually ask them to raise it to cover the cost of the new roof. This allows you to include the cost in your mortgage loan.

If you have questions about determining a roof’s life, or questions that are specific to your potential new home, we’re happy to help. Contact us online here or give us a call at (219) 363-6151.

Inspections to Maintain Your Home

Call a roofing contractor or a licensed inspector if you are curious about the condition of your home. Any new roof system is a big investment and you’ll want all the information possible if you’re considering a purchase, think you may need a new roof, or want to change the appearance of your roof to better match your home.

Homeowners, both new and those who may be looking to sell will typically discover that roofing needs to be replaced only after serious issues occur. These can include leaks, mold, animal damage, missing shingles or moisture/heat buildup in attic spaces.

Period inspections can help you discover cracked, warped and missing shingles before the problem becomes too severe. Inspections will also check for loose seams, surface granules collecting near your gutters and downspouts, deteriorated flashings, indoor and outdoor paint issues, discolored plasterboards and peeling wallpaper.

Roof Inspection Tips

Some of the best inspectors previously worked as contractors or in the construction industry, so you can look for that experience as a confidence booster. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask how many inspections they’ve performed, if they know what’s normal for the area and how long they’ve been in this profession.

If your inspector can’t explain themselves in a way that’s easy to understand, they probably can’t do the same for problem areas in the home.

Here are some of our top suggestions for you to look for from a home and roof inspection. Whether you’re working on your own home, getting ready to sell, considering a purchase or just want to know the state of things, try to be present during the inspection and come with a list of prepared questions.

What Kind of Roof Is Installed Currently?

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Roofing materials, both the general type and the specific brand, come with a variety of unique elements that determine their life, strength and protection. Knowing the material can help you determine life, maintenance costs and more.

  • Asphalt Shingles: These are among the most common roofing materials and can be found almost everywhere. They perform well during heavy storms and cold conditions, but hot and dry climates can cut their life down by up to 40%. Proper attic and soffit ventilation is key and will prevent cooking shingles
  • Metal: Metal roofing is very durable and lasts a long time with minimal maintenance. Many people are happy to pay the additional expense for metal roofing.
  • Rubber: Rubber roofing has become one of the primary go-to materials because it is a trusted source of protections for flat and low-pitched roofs.
  • Wood Shingles and Shakes: While providing a natural look, these materials do come with some natural weaknesses. Very sunny climates and very damp climates can increase maintenance costs due to cracked or rotted pieces.
  • Slate. They’re tough and especially good at keeping rain at bay. However, slate is heavy, expensive and can be broken easily.

Is My Home and Roof in Good Condition?

You want to get both an overall estimate of the condition of the roof as well as specific lists of existing problems or areas for future concern. A top home inspection tip for buyers is to ask about the roof as it currently is and to get the inspector’s impression for how well it will stand up in the future.

Inspections are a great way to identify damage that you can’t easily see from the ground, and it’ll also let you know about weaknesses that may not have been detected yet. If a roof is wearing down prematurely or is nearing the end of a warranty, you can get a good estimate of your future costs.

Are There Any Current Problems?

Leaks, rot, cracks, gaps, and holes can cause significant damage to your home. A quality inspection will look for these elements not only on the roof but in the attic and all interior spaces. Your inspector will know the danger signs and can often spot attempts to hide damage.

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A good inspector with proper certifications and training will know when to look beyond fresh paint to see if there is an issue that wasn’t properly repaired. Attend the inspection and ask about trouble spots if you are concerned.

Were There Any Recent Repairs?

The home purchase roof inspection should note if there was any recent work, or if parts of the roof seem mismatched, indicating an area of wear or damage. You are within your rights to ask the homeowner or contractor about the repairs.

If the work was done by a reputable contractor and they used high-quality materials, you might be able to have the roof’s existing warranty transferred into your name when you purchase the home.

What About that Warranty?

Some warranties will last for the life expectancy of the roof, usually prorated to 40 or 50 years. Discuss warranties with your agent. Typically, the inspector will not have any idea about the warranty, but they may know the contractor, so ask here, too.

Are the Accessories in Good Condition?

A roof often comes with many different elements unique to the home and installation. These will include things like siding, soffit, fascia, gutters, downspouts and more. Your inspector should be able to see if they’ve been installed properly and if any maintenance is needed.

All of these elements are designed to keep the roof and home healthy. If they’re compromised, water and debris could pile up or leak into the home, generating long-term problems.

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Mentioning them can also prompt your inspector to give you a full rundown on the roof. You may hear about cracked boots near vent pipes, rust spots, damage to the chimney cap or discoveries like asphalt grit in the gutters. All inspections will come with a very detailed report with pictures and descriptions of all areas of concern.

These recommendations and suggested areas to check and review are backed up by the National Roofing Contractors Association, which has a mission to protect homeowners.

Top Maintenance Check: The Ventilation

Proper ventilation is one of the biggest factors determining the durability and lifespan of a good roof, regardless of age.

Poor ventilation can trap heat or moisture in the attic area of your home. As these build up over time they do damage to the internal pieces of your home and your roof. Rafters and sheathing can start to rot, shingles may buckle, insulation becomes less effective and risks to your walls all increase if the ventilation isn’t working properly.

Your roof should be installed in a way to encourage ventilation and minimize the chances of vents from becoming blocked. Inspectors should check for boffle and soffit vents, ridge vents and other systems.

The attic will need a gap-free layer of insulation to protect both the roof and home below, open vents that can allow air to move and pass freely and other structural protections.

It’s always best to contact J & B West Roofing and Construction to understand what your attic needs. Requirements vary greatly across the U.S. based on local weather, sun exposure, humidity, shade and more. There are also specific considerations for each individual home, including the pitch of the roof.

Nothing that’s available on the internet can provide you with a 100% correct assessment or requirement for your individual home, which is why it is important to consult your trusted contractor or home inspector.

What If the Home Needs Repairs or Other Help?

A pre-sale roof inspection for the homebuyer is always a great step, as it can help you determine whether the purchase is right for you. You will be happy to hear that you can often choose your own contractor and inspector to get an opinion on the home.

Locating problems during an inspection can be upsetting, but they may not mean you need to drain your savings. If your roof leaks, you may or may not need it have it replaced completely. It all depends on the leak.

Sometimes, a roof may leak as a result of loose flashings or only a small part of the roof system is damaged. In the case of small problem areas, a localized repair can solve many issues. However, if the damage is systemic or mold and mildew are permeating the majority of your roofing materials, then you’re likely looking at a full replacement.

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An inspector who determines the damage and its extent can help you understand the potential possibilities for causes. Sometimes this can include improper installation or previous repairs. If that’s the case then you should contact your previous contractor about their warranties and protections to see if you’re still covered.

Unfortunately, in our area not all roofs perform well. If the damage was caused due to poor or improper materials being used, then you might face the full cost of a roof replacement.

Where to Go from Here

We suggest you look no further than J & B West Roofing and Construction for an honest assessment of your property. We offer a range of full exterior home services and know what to look for when it comes to safety and beauty.

We are happy to answer the questions you may have from a home inspection or to discuss possible warning signs. Our team will provide you with a free evaluation and inspection so that there are no surprises along the way. Our no-obligation quotes can even help you judge other bids, which J & B West Roofing and Construction will often meet or beat.

Get started today and set up a time for your inspection by clicking here or by calling (219) 363-6151.