What to Look for in the Roof When Buying a Home

The roof constitutes the largest external surface area of the home and contributes a great deal to the aesthetics and safety of your property. If you are planning to buy a new home, the look and quality of the roof will be unmistakable. It is one of the most critical and most expensive features of the property.

When buying a new home, you would want roofing that is sturdy and with good integrity right from the framework to the roofing material itself. The cost implications of repairing a roof alone can be huge so you need to thoroughly inspect the roof with the help of a roof inspection specialist to determine if it is in great shape. Ideally, it would be advantageous for you, both from a cost and safety perspective, to buy a home with roofing that has recently been installed.

Many key defects in the roof may not be apparent from a casual look. So you need to carry out a comprehensive inspection of your roofing before you proceed with the purchase. Here are some of the features that you should look out for:-

Start with a visual inspection

A visual roof inspection may not unearth all the problems with roof but it can give you some important clues. Visual inspections will also show you the most glaring defects in the roofing. However, keep in mind that a lot of sellers will go out of their way to conceal obvious visible defects so you will need to go a step further in your roof inspections to ascertain whether it is excellent shape.

Some of the clues that you should look for during your visual inspections include the following:-

  • Look out for any rust spots
  • Check if the roofing surface contains any moss
  • Check if the roof shingles are curled
  • Check for any missing or loose roof shingles
  • Are there any cracked cauls?
  • Is the rubber at the base of vent pipes worn out?

The Age of the Roofing

This is probably the first question that you should ask with regards to your roofing. All roofing materials come with a warranty which specifies the duration of time within which the material should be in good usable condition. Beyond the warranty period, the material gradually begins to give way and you will have to grapple with costly and frequent repairs. The warranty for roofing materials generally ranges from 25 years to 50 years. Ask when the roof was installed and you will be able to calculate the time duration left before the warranty expires.

Apart from the warranty, there are certain telltale signs that you need to look out for to determine if your roofing is in excellent shape. These include the following:-

  • Check if the roof contains any mold. Mold is usually a sign that the roof is aging and the roofing material is beginning to deteriorate and retain some moisture.
  • Check if the roofing is perfectly flat with no curved or bulging surfaces.
  • Inspect whether certain parts of the roofing are worn out or if there any missing shingles. Deformities are generally a sign that the roof is old and in need of some restoration work.

Look for a Good Ventilation System

Your inspection of the roofing of the house you are planning to purchase should also take into account the roof ventilation. The roof might look new and in great shape but if it is poorly ventilated, it is going to deteriorate fairly quickly and sooner or later, you may need to carry out a roof restoration or replacement. It is good to come with a roofing specialist that will inspect the condition of the ventilation. Poor ventilation is likely to cause serious problems such as mould and rot. It will also lead to poor temperature regulation and you will need to artificially heat or cool your house to ensure comfort. The bottom line is that if the roof is not well ventilated, it is soon going to cost you money in one way or another.

The Gutters

Check if the gutters contain any grains of asphalt shingles. The presence of these in the guttering may be a sign that your shingles are old and worn out. That, in turn, is a sign that your roofing is old and worn out and in need of replacement.


Leaks are the most dreaded of the roofing defects. The effects can be quite intrusive with water literally seeping into the house and potentially damaging the furniture and appliances. Water leaks are also a health hazard inside the house. It is not easy to determine if the roof is leaking from a mere visual inspection of the roofing so you will have to search for clues elsewhere.

There are various signs that you should look out for to determine of the roof is leaking. These include:-

  • Dark spots at a single point or at various points on the roof ceiling.
  • Paint peeling back or flaking close to the overhangs
  • Wet areas around the fireplace
  • Gaps appearing around the chimney


Inspect the downspouts to check if the downpipes are directing water into the storm water walls. The downpipes shouldn’t be releasing water on the ground. You can also inspect the ground nearby to determine if it has been flooded in the recent past, a sign that the downpipes are not fixed properly or have not been cleaned in a very long time.

Granted, roof inspection is not an easy process to an untrained eye. That is why it is advisable to hire a professional roof inspection specialist that can carry out a comprehensive and professional roof inspection and write a report. This will guarantee that any existing problems in the roofing will be fixed by the current owner and not you, long after you have made the purchase. If the roof will require any additional repairs or restorations, make sure these are all completed before you move into the home.


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