If you have doubts about the importance of having a home inspection before you make a purchase, we advise you to take a step back and look up at the roof. Then think worst-case scenarios.
Try to imagine the structural damage a hidden leak might cause or the foundational issues that can result from a faulty gutter system. Picture in your mind a grinning roofing company owner handing you a pricy estimate to replace your worn sloped roof, which didn’t last nearly as long as you had hoped when you moved in.
Nationally, a roof replacement in 2020 will cost you, on average, anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000—oftentimes much more depending on the area of the country, the difficulty of the job, the reputation of the contractor, and materials used. Add into that the hassle of finding a trusted roofer, time off of work, and the haunting feeling that a home inspector could have alerted you that the roof was on its last legs—information that would have allowed you to secure a more favorable price for the property or help you negotiate for the seller to repair or replace it as part of the deal.
Bottom line: It pays to hire a certified home inspector, like those at A-Pro Home Inspection, to provide a visual assessment of a home’s roof system, including the roofing material, drainage system, flashing, skylights, chimney, and roof penetrations.
When it comes to inspecting a roof, the safety of the inspector will be a priority. Ideally, the inspector will be able to walk the roof, but this isn’t always possible due to weather, the severity of the roof’s pitch, roofs that could be damaged when trod upon, and those that present hazardous conditions, such as sagging. If the inspector determines getting on the roof is unsafe, the report will indicate the alternate method of inspection. These include drones, viewing from a ladder at an eave, viewing from a window, or observing from the ground through binoculars.
Since 1994, A-Pro home inspectors have spared home-shoppers some huge headaches and saved them significant amounts of money by identifying trouble areas. For all types of roofs, inspectors will ask critical questions, such as “Is immediate replacement needed?” and “Is the roof nearing the end of its life span?” Here are other items covered on our inspectors’ roofing checklist:
Description of Roofing System: The inspector will describe the roof covering (asphalt, metal, clay, composite shingle, slate, wood, roll roofing, plastic, concrete, asbestos cement, etc.); the type of membrane; chimney material (masonry, metal, metal below the siding, and others); gutter and downspout material (aluminum, galvanized steel, copper, wood, or plastic); and gutter system setup (built-in at the eave, downspout discharge above grade, below grade, or above and below grade).
Sloped Roof Observations: Is there evidence of prior repairs? Are there missing shingles? Are there nails “backing out” of shingles? Are shingles curling (a sign that roof replacement may be imminent)? Does the surface show uneven wear? Is there exposed felt/sheathing? Has the roof been installed professionally or are there signs of amateur workmanship? Is there split or loose ridge caps?
Flat Roof Observations: Have incompatible materials been used on the roof? Is there a lack of gravel or voids in the gravel? Is there evidence of seam failure? Is there moss buildup, lack of UV protection, congested drains, and other defects?
Flashing: Does flashing need to be replaced? Is there evidence of holes; rust; loose or cracked pieces; amateurish patching; exposed nail heads; incomplete installation; and other issues.
Masonry Chimneys: Does the chimney need to be rebuilt? Does the cap need replacement or repair? Does it have a rain cap/screen? Is bracing required? Is the chimney out of plumb? Is the flue liner cracked? Is the chimney’s height insufficient? Metal Chimneys—Is there rust, damage, or lack of bracing? Does it have a vermin screen?
Gutters and Downspouts: Does the drainage system need cleaning? Are gutters and/or downspouts loose, damaged, or have missing pieces? Is there an insufficient slope for the effective flow of rainwater? Should an older steel system be replaced? Is there leakage? Do the downspouts discharge water too close to the house?
An evaluation of a home’s roofing system is part of A-Pro’s 500-point home inspection. Ask your local A-Pro Home Inspection team about its complete foundation-to-roof inspection in Birmingham. To schedule one, call 205-538-2425 or visit the link below.