What to Know About the Roof Before Buying a House

Are you planning on buying or selling your house this summer? There are a lot of things to consider when house shopping. Make sure that you don’t overlook the roof. The roof is an element of a home that is very costly to replace. You want to make sure you know it’s condition before you close on a new home. Next time you’re looking at a house, ask these questions to find out more about the health of the roof.


What to Know About The Roof:

How Old Is It?

The first thing you want to find out is how old the current roof is. When you know the age, you can determine how soon it will need to be replaced. Each type of roof has it’s own estimated lifespan.

  • Normal Asphalt Shingles: 15-20 years
  • Architectural Asphalt Shingles: 25-30 years
  • Metal: 35-50 years
  • Concrete Tile: 35-50 years
  • Wood Shake: 20-40 years
  • Slate Tile: 60-100 years

If the age of the roof is unknown there are a few warning signs of an old asphalt shingles roof: loose granules in the gutters, bare spots, curling or cracked shingles, and exposed nail heads.

How Many Layers are Under It?

Roofing regulations limit the number of layers of roofing material can be on the roof deck. Depending on your local codes, the number may vary. But the standard limit is two layers – original roofing materials with one layer over the top.

What Quality of Shingles were used?

There’s no debate that the quality of the roof depends on the quality of the shingles. If high quality materials were used, the roof will end up on the higher end of the lifespan depending on the type. It will also reduce the amount of repair work needed before a full roof replacement. You can ask about the quality of shingles that were used, but in most cases you can just tell.

Who Installed It?

Having high quality materials isn’t enough to ensure a roof will last. It also depends on who installed it. The roof should have been installed by a professional roofing contractor, not uncle John. Find out who installed the current roof and ask for any documentation from the project.

What Maintenance Has Been Done?

Find out any recent repairs that have been done to the roof. This could indicate future problems, or just reassure that the roof was well maintained. Ask for documentation of any repairs along with roof cleaning and gutter maintenance.

Also be aware of the maintenance required for the type of roof it is. Different types of roofing materials require different maintenance techniques. Wood shakes need preservative treatments while slate needs no maintenance at all.

Is there Proper Ventilation?

For a healthy roof there needs to be proper ventilation in order to prevent structural damage to the structure under the shingles. Things to look out for that are signs of poor roof ventilation is dry rot, sagging and crumbling.

Some of the questions on this list are a little harder to answer yourself. To be safe, get a professional contractor to do a roof inspection. Do this either before you officially make an offer or during contract negotiations. If you’re selling your house, it doesn’t hurt to get a roof inspection and be prepared for when a potential buyer asks for one.

Whether you’re buying or selling your home, contact ARC Contracting for a free roof inspection.

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