One of the most important parts of a home inspection is the roof. Most homebuyers and sellers are focused on the age and condition of the roofing material and for good reason; repair or replacement of a home’s roof is one of the most costly. A home inspector will determine the integrity of a roof, how long it may last and when it will need to be replaced.

Typical Roofing Problems include:

  • High nails – roofing nails can sometimes move upward and push on the shingles. If not hammered back down, they can punch through the shingles resulting in holes and leaks.
  • Split shingles – broken or cracked shingles give water a place to leak into your home.
  • Flashing – flashing is the metal that is installed by sliding it under the shingles where the shingles meet up with an edge (including chimneys and plumbing vents). Improperly installed flashing can allow water to leak underneath the shingles.

What Could Be Wrong?

Different roofing materials have different issues. Wooden shingles should be inspected for rot. Metal roofs should be inspected for rust. Fiberglass shingle should be inspected for cracks. Also in different climates shingles should be inspected for blow offs, tearing and moisture damage. It is important to hire a professional home inspector experienced with inspections in your specific locale and for your specific type of roof. The cost for your roof inspection may vary based on the expertise required for a given type of roof.

Does an Inspection Cause Damage?

A home inspector does not need to remove any part of your roof. They are trained to correctly assess the lifespan of the roof visually. While your home inspector is not required to climb up onto the roof, many will if the situation is safe and they can do so without damaging the roof covering.

Home inspectors can also use advanced techniques such as infrared roof inspections where they don’t even have to touch the surface of the roof itself to determine a roof’s integrity. This process uses infrared rays to locate parts of a roof that are at higher or lower temperatures than the rest of the roof. These “hot spots” can show an inspector just exactly where heat is escaping.

Infrared roof inspections may be priced differently than a standard roof inspection.

The roof is the shield for the whole home, and it probably takes more abuse than any other element of the house. Because replacing a roof can be quite an investment, insurance companies and lenders require that this is checked off. It makes sense for these companies to protect their investments, but a homeowner should want this to be secured as well. You don’t want to be stuck with a bill that you weren’t expecting, and you also don’t want to sell a home to a family and put them in the same spot.

Big Problems Often Start Out as Small Ones.

Even if you’re not selling or buying a home, it’s smart to have your roof inspected every two years. Because so many factors affect the condition of the roof, you may need to flex your inspections to account for weather damage, the direction of the sun and insulation issues.