Some types of roof damage are easy to see -- whether that means you notice some shingles are missing or whether you smell a musty odor on the second story from water damage and wet spots on the ceiling. However, if you're buying (or considering buying) a home whose roof is old but not yet visibly damaged, it may be easier for the seller to get away without doing any repairs.
Here are four signs that the roof could be developing problems or might easily develop them in the near future. If you spy these problems yourself or see them on the inspection report, you'll know that the roof could be headed for trouble.
1. Inadequate Ventilation
Some roofs are designed to be a closed system with no ventilation, but if yours has any vents at all, it's the other kind: the kind that needs lots of ventilation to stay healthy. Unfortunately, low ventilation levels are all too common. Inadequate airflow can lead to problems such as:
- Unwanted heat being transferred from the roof to the living space
- Mold and mildew colonizing the roof and attic
- Water damage compromising the roof's integrity
- Damp conditions attracting insects such as termites
As you can see, this problem is not only an energy drain but can also cause severe damage to your home. If you discover inadequate ventilation before closing on the house, be sure to check for these attendant problems and factor in the expense of repairs (or get the seller to agree to pay for repairs).
2. Gutter Symptoms
The gutter system is critical not only to protecting a home's foundation from water damage but also to keeping the roof safe and healthy. In addition, the gutters collect whatever drains off the roof. Check the gutters (and the area where the downspouts drain out) for roof granules falling off the shingles, indicating that the roof is deteriorating quickly.
Gutter symptoms that could cause problems for the roof later on include:
- Debris-filled gutters, which can back up and cause leaks
- Weak or poorly-attached gutters, which can fill with ice, collapse, and damage fascia and other nearby roof components
- Slow-draining gutters (or insufficient number of downspouts), which can cause rot at the eaves
- Gutters without flashing, which allow water and dampness to contact the underside of the roof's edge
Keep an eye out for any gutter problems to save money in the long run.
3. Flashing Problems
In addition to gutter flashing, you need to keep your eyes peeled for any deficiencies in the rest of the roof's flashing. The roof should always have solidly installed, undamaged flashing around the chimney and other roof penetrations, as well as on each edge (wherever the roof meets a wall).
If you see bent, missing, or otherwise damaged or compromised flashing, that's a big warning sign; the roof could already have a leak.
4. Cheap Roofing Materials or Installation
Some sellers get the roof replaced so a home will sell better, but they're not really invested in the longevity of the new roof. Because of this, they sometimes install a new roof with cheap materials or even inexpert craftsmanship rather than hiring a reputable roofing company. Don't skip getting a roof inspection just because the roof is newly replaced.
Some easy-to-identify signs of a poorly done job or poor-quality materials include:
- Missing flashing (as mentioned above)
- Shingles that aren't lined up correctly
- Shingles that don't match
- Shingles that appear damaged (perhaps they were even damaged during installation)
In addition to these, sellers may use many other, less obvious ways to cut corners (such as by using too few fasteners when installing the shingles), which is why a professional inspection by an experienced contractor is needed.
Whether any of these warning signs are discovered during the home inspection or whether they weren't obvious until you moved in (maybe the seller took steps to hide the problem), you'll need expert help to get the problem fixed. A good roof is a prerequisite of a secure home, and we can help you achieve that. Get in touch anytime to discuss an estimate or appointment.