Five Tips for Inspecting the Condition of a Roof
One: Look along the ridge of the roof (where the slope meets) to get a visual of how straight it is holding up. If it has become uneven in the middle, the roof is highly suspect for needing thicker roof sheathing. While this should not keep you from purchasing a home or demand that you need an immediate roof replacement, it does show that when the time comes to replace the roof, the sheathing will definitely will need to be redone.
Two: Inspect the roof joints, valleys, bases along protrusions where pipes come out, the bottom of chimneys, etc. to see if there has been an application of tar or other moisture barrier. If there has been, chances are there has been a leak. This may indicate that the roof is coming close to its replacement time.
Three: Check for flashing. You need this to ensure water flow is being properly directed away from your home and your roof. It should be visible between shingles where you have a roof valley and along the edges. You should also see flashing running up the side of your chimney, if you have one. You may see it intermingled or layered with shingles, but they will be running up the side of your chimney just a bit, from the bottom-up. Make sure they are installed properly, and that they are in good condition because this is a common place where leaking first occurs.
Four: Visually inspecting the condition of the shingles is probably the single best way to get an overall indicator of the roof’s condition if you are not able to climb up there and walk around (as you probably cannot do if you are the potential buyer). Look for loose or missing shingles. If there are many, a roof replacement is probably not far off in the future of the house. Also look for shingles that are worn, missing much of their gravel, or curling at the edges, all indicators that the life of the roof is coming to a rapid end. Another indicator of roofing problems is if you see patches on the roof or different colored shingles in a spot, which indicates a leak has been patched.
Five: Check the underside of the attic to help you determine if the roof is in need of repair. If you see leaks on the ceiling of the attic or where there was obvious water entry, there is a fairly high chance that it is time to get a new roof on the home. You also want to look for rust streaks that may indicate that the types of nails used for the roofing have rusted through and are in need of replacement.
These five tips will help you make a determination as to whether the roof that is in place is coming to the end of its life. If you are buying and you do determine wear that needs to be replaced sooner rather than later, you may want to ask that a bid for the roof be included or deducted from the asking price. If you are the current home owner, and you suspect it is time for replacement, now is a good time to start getting price bids for the work because with roofing, it is better to put preventative measures in place that it is to have to put in temporary fixes (because once you have gotten to the point you need a fix, water has compromised the structure). In any case, remember these tips are to help you get an estimate time of when the roof may need replaced. You should always hire a professional to check as well, as they can determine issues you may have never known or thought of in your own inspection. These five steps, however, will allow you to make a basic determination of the roof quality and move forward accordingly.