Most home shoppers get a home inspection before finalizing an offer, but a separate roof inspection is also a good idea. Unlike home inspectors, who only do a cursory check of the roof, a roofing inspector is better trained to locate and predict roof problems.
1. Past Damage Assessment
Just because a roof looks fine now doesn't mean that there hasn't been damage in the past. An inspector will look for signs of past damage. This part of the inspection typically takes place in the attic, where the inspector can easily see if there are patches on the roof sheathing, water damage on the sheathing, or signs of water damage elsewhere in the attic. It's important to verify this past damage has been fully addressed prior to purchase.
2. Current Damage Warnings
Current damages can include everything from a missing shingle or two to major leaks that are actively leading to water damage in the home. Depending on the extent of the damages, you may want to make their repair a contingency of purchase. Even if you don't, they are something you will need to address as soon as the purchase is finalized so that further damages don't occur.
3. Age and Lifespan Determination
Sometimes a home seller can provide you with the exact details of the roof installation, down to the age of the roof and who put it on. In other cases, the current owner may not know the information. An inspector can get a good estimate on the current roof age as well as provide an educated estimate on how many more years are left on the roof before you will need to think about replacement. If nothing else, this helps you develop a roofing budget for the future.
4. Potential Problem Spot Identification
A huge reason to get an inspection is to learn about potential problems. Your inspector can point out issues with roof drainage that may lead to winter ice dams, or they may draw your attention to overhanging trees that will drop litter on the roof or tear shingles in a storm. Knowing the issues can help you make an informed decision on what types of roof upgrades or maintenance will need to be done after the purchase.
5. Modern Safety Installations
Safety codes for roofs evolve over time as new conditions, knowledge, and tools develop. If you are buying an older home, you want to make sure that the roof is up to modern standards. For example, hurricane strapping may now be required in areas prone to wind storms, or earthquake brackets may be a recommended retrofit in earthquake susceptible regions.
Contact a roofing inspection group like Top Tier Home Services near you if you are in the process of buying a home.