In this post I’ll talk about something as a home inspector I hear a lot. Wheather it comes from the seller, the buyer or sometimes an agent; “The roof is new, so we know that’s not an issue.” A good inspector will know, just because the roof is “new” doesn’t mean there isn’t any chance of problems. Unfortunately as with any profession there is a wide range of skill and knowledge when it comes to roofing contractors. As with all of my post this is not meant to be an all encompassing article about roof structure and coverings. Rather it is to outline the concerns related to the thought of new roof = good roof. After reading this post and looking at the pictures you will see another example of the value a home inspection performed by a professional home inspector provides.
In this post I want to explain what is going on with the roof on this particular inspection. All the pictures in this post are from the same roof. I don’t know for sure how new the roof is, other than it was less than a year old.
The first thing I noticed once on the roof was several areas where shingles had not properly bonded. Shingles have an adhesive strip that is designed to bond one course of shingles to the other, to eventually form one uniformly bonded roof covering system. Because of the material the adhesive is made from, it is best to install shingles in warmer weather. This is not to say that you cannot install shingles in cooler weather, if warmer weather is expected soon after the installation. Problems arise when shingles are installed during long term cool temperatures. What happens is, the shingles fail to bond, and the long term exposure of the adhesive to the environment, contaminates the adhesive, so even as temps start to rise the shingles will not bond. The exact reason for the conditions I found on this particular house I don’t know, but the important part is that it was found, and reported to the new buyer so this could be taken care of before it gets worse. Left uncorrected this leaves the roof susceptible to damage by strong winds ripping large sections of roof covering off.
I also found several shingles broken off. This leaves the roof susceptible to water getting under the roof covering system and causing damage to the roof decking and structure. A couple areas someone has attempted to bond the shingles by using a nail. This is not the proper solution. In this case a qualified roofer could easy make the repairs to this roof to insure it properly functions as intended.
One last thing I found on this roof, that to be honest I was a little surprised about, since it did appear they had been installed new when the roof was installed, was the vent boot. This is a common find on older roofs, or newer roofs where the contractor decided to reuse the existing boots. These boots are installed over the vent stack and are fitted tightly to the pipe with a rubber flange. Over time the rubber flange dries out and begins to crack and develop an opening for water to travel down the outside of the pipe and into the home.
In this post I have highlighted just a few of the numerous conditions that could be present up on the roof; you would not see when you are looking at a new home. None of these conditions were visible from the ground. Often times an inspector may point out several issues that need addressing, and that can be overwhelming, it is important to remember, anything in, on, or around a house can be fixed. The intention of a quality home inspector is never to scare you or point out reasons you shouldn’t buy a particular house, rather it is to arm you with as much knowledge as possible for you to decide if this is the right house for you, and to keep you safe. Often times for less than one month’s mortgage payment, a qualified home inspector will perform a comprehensive home inspection and report to you all the information needed for you to make the best, and most informed decision on, likely the largest monetary investment of your life.