Purchasing a new home is an exciting prospect, but it can also be a stressful one. You want to make sure your new home is in good shape and will protect your family, keeping you comfortable and safe from the wind and weather. Whenever you visit a home for sale, keeping an eye out for a few details can help you assess the condition of the roof before you make any further decisions. Understanding the signs of major and minor roof damage can help you assess any potential home’s needs and whether it could be the right home for you.
Look for Water Damage
Water damage is one of the most common—and potentially costly—types of damage that affects residential roofs. While you’re making an outdoor inspection of any potential home, take a moment to look up at the roof. Keep in mind that you may need to step back to the edge of the property to get a clear view. Look for signs of water damage that include dark streaks or stains, peeling or curling shingles, visible rot, moss, or corrosion, bowed or clogged gutters, and pooling water on the roof or around the home if it has recently rained. If the roof is made from clay tile, look for deposits of dirt and debris, which signal poor water flow and drainage from the roof and could be the cause of leaks or other trouble later on.
Look for Signs of Age
An older roof doesn’t necessarily spell trouble, but a roof that’s showing clear and abundant signs of its age should be a cause of concern. Check asphalt roofing for signs of excessive granule depletion; when the coating of asphalt granules has washed or worn away, the shingles are left vulnerable to further wear, while granule runoff can clog or damage the gutters. Split, cracked, curling, or missing shingles are another clear sign of age, especially if you notice a large number of damaged areas over the entirety of the roof. Check clay tile roofing for cracked or missing tiles as well, which could let water inside and affect the weather-tightness of the roof. If the home has a metal roof, look for loose panels, signs of corrosion, or missing fastenings; check a foam roof for holes in the membrane or widespread discoloration or changes in texture.
Talk to the Roofer
One of the simplest ways to evaluate a roof’s quality is to talk to the roofing company responsible for installing the roof. If you are seriously considering a home for purchase, ask the current homeowners when the roof was last repaired or replaced and which company was hired for the work. Even if the roof looks fine to you—and your home inspector—it’s still worthwhile to perform a little research on the reputation of the company responsible for the home’s roof. Talking with the roofers themselves about the job they performed will also give you a clear picture of the roof’s current condition and whether there may be any potential roofing concerns in the short or long term.