The roof structure and roof covering condition is your homes first defense against water intrusions but its condition is typically a mystery to home buyers. From the ground your roof can look perfectly fine but many important deficiencies cannot be identified until a qualified professional is able to walk the roof or at least inspect it from the eaves. This is where SiteLogic starts every home inspection and will walk the roof every time as long as it is safe to do so.
There are hundreds of deficiencies that can be found on a roof systems in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Northern Colorado, so instead of discussing all the potential problems that vary in importance, let’s use this blog to mention the main purposes of the roof system, common issues discovered on home inspections, and general maintenance you can perform to prolong the life of your roof.
Just like the entire house is a system of interdependent parts, so is the roof. A weakness if this area can limit many of your homes mechanical and structural components. All roofs should have one layer of shingles, underlayment, and proper flashing.
The first item we look at when getting on top of the roof is its ability to quickly shed water away from your home. Obviously flatter areas of the roof have the ability to pool water and a correct pitch is required to shed water. Flat roofs need an internal draining system installed. Gutters and downspouts must be kept clear by the homeowner to avoid clogs and ice damming. Furthermore, many times attached gutters are not sloped correctly towards downspouts and downspouts themselves are located too far apart for proper drainage (most standards are no longer than 40’ between downspouts).
The most susceptible areas to moisture damage on the roof is where you find penetrations. From small nail penetrations, which should not be visible, to chimneys, walls, and ventilation, these features need special flashing and a secondary protection of underlayment. All different types of roof penetrations have their own unique flashing that is inspected. Many times a correct flashing is improperly installed, and without the correct overlap or installation your flashing is deficient. Many times we find sealant used as flashing or supporting flashing which was incorrectly installed. Any time this is found, new flashing should be installed since sealant shrinks and cracks over time. Unless you are inspecting your roof sealant several times a year, this “band aid” approach will fail and be unnoticeable to the homeowner until significant damage occurs.
Although your roof will have (should have) a proper underlayment installed, the primary protection comes from the shingles. There are many types of shingles but none are impervious to damage. Weather conditions and attic ventilation play major roles in the life expectancy of your shingles. Hail and wind damage can leave your roof covering vulnerable to moisture penetrations. Lack of proper attic ventilation can create too great of a roof surface temperature that will prematurely date a roof covering. What is important in assessing damage to roofing shingles is determining if it is functional damage, which diminishes the roofs ability to shed water and/or limits its life expectancy, or if it is general cosmetic damage. Opinions vary when it comes to functional vs cosmetic damage between inspectors and insurance companies so when your inspector finds damage on the roof surface, seek a professional roofer that will give a price estimate and work on your behalf with the insurance companies. Shingles that have become brittle, cupped, or curled, may simply be at the end of their life and should be further evaluated by a professional to estimate it’s remaining life and cost to replace.
In addition to walking the roof, we are going into your available attic space which can tell the results of your roof covering quality. Water stains and microbial growth are huge indications that there is a problem with the roof.
What can you do to prevent roofing defects? Here are a few suggestions.
- After receiving your inspection report, make sure all roofing suggestions are met.
- Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
- Cut back any trees or branches within 10 feet of your home.
- Do not walk on your roof unless you have to.
- Clean algae and moss off of shingles.
- When replacing the roof covering, ALWAYS make sure your contractor takes down the original layer before putting up the new one.
About SiteLogic Home Inspections
SiteLogic Home Inspections is a local and family owned business in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our inspections and reports are designed to be one of the most helpful steps in your home buying process. Owner and Lead Inspector Joe Anderson is dedicated to making sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your home, and is available to answer any questions you have even long after your inspection is complete.
SiteLogic is a Certified Professional Inspection company. We are InterNACHI certified, so you can trust that our inspectors are among the most highly trained in the industry. Our professionally trained home inspectors use modern technology, tools, and techniques to identify deficiencies and effectively communicate what exactly it means to the current condition of your home. Visit SiteLogicInspections.com to learn more.