Buying a Property? Consider the Roof’s Integrity Before Money Trades Hands

Buying a new home is undeniably exciting — but it can also be stressful. There’s lots of paperwork and legal documents to work through, large amounts of money need to be exchanged, and there’s the devil on your shoulder with a nagging doubt: ‘is this the right one?’

Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true steps you can take to alleviate concerns and feel more comfortable about your decision over a specific property. One important step is to thoroughly inspect the roof before any paperwork is signed and any money is spent.

The roof on any property is important; it protects the home’s integrity and contents from unfavourable weather. So how do you know if a roof is in good condition?

Ask for Records

Properly installed shingle roofs should see the home through 20 to 25 years (barring extreme weather events where shingles may be uprooted).Metal roofs can last up to 50 years. If the current homeowner has had the roof replaced recently, ask for the invoice or sales receipt. Cross-check the installer for integrity and a positive reputation. Companies like Professional Roofers are an excellent benchmark for a premier roofing business with many years in the industry.

Similarly, if the homeowner has paid for recent maintenance updates, ask to see paperwork confirming them. Check with the install team to see if this was a Band-Aid solution or a long-term fix.

Check the Flashing

Don’t just look at the roof itself; consider its supporting elements, like the flashing. Flashing is the flat material used to waterproof the roof’s perimeter where it meets exterior walls and around the chimney. The flashing should be flush and not buckling, and ideally, it’s made of metal. It may need to be replaced sooner than later if it’s made of other materials, like tar or cement.

Look for Signs of Distress

If the roof has moss growing on it, if shingles are curling at the corners (or missing), and if the roof itself is bowing, you’ll likely need to update it soon after you’ve moved in.

Another possible sign of an aging roof is shingle debris in the gutter and downspouts. Note that this type of run-off can also be a sign of a new roof that’s shedding loose particles after installation.

It’s always a good idea to get a home inspection; ask your inspector to take a keen look at the issues mentioned here and consider paying a roofing company to come to the home during the inspection for a specialist’s insight — they’ll also be able to give you an approximate estimate on a roof replacement should they feel it’s necessary. This can give you leverage in negotiations should you still wish to pursue the purchase.

Check the Interior

In the attic, bring a flashlight and look at the peak of the roof and at the attic corners for dated watermarks (sometimes this will look like faint white lines) and water damage. If the attic is inaccessible, look at the ceilings and the walls of the rooms on the upper floor for signs of water.

Look for Pooling Water

Where roofing sections connect — also known as roof valleys — snow and rainwater may start to pool. If you’re visiting the home on a rainy day, be sure to look at these areas. While a small amount of water is ok, heavy pooling is worth a second look.

Final Thoughts

Buying a new house is a special experience. With some pre-emptive measures, you can wean out homes that may cost you more money than you’d like. Proper roof inspections will set you up for many happy, maintenance-free years in what could be your dream home.