There are numerous materials that can be used for roof systems, most of which are still used today around the world. Thatched roofs have been used for centuries all over the world and still are in England. But in North America, the most common types of roof cladding are composite shingles, wood shingles/shakes, clay tiles and slate tiles. Metal roofing is making a comeback but usually in replacement use.
Any of these materials are acceptable if installed correctly. Any type of roof system eventually will leak if not properly maintained. That's why an ASHI Inspector has been trained to inspect and report on the condition of roof systems for you.
Check your Roof
But there are a few things a homeowner or homebuyer can look for on a roof from the outside of the house.
- Are the shingles laying flat? Keep in mind that wood shakes and slate tiles have irregular shapes.
- Are there any missing shakes/shingles/tiles?
- If made with composite shingles, are they cupping, curling or showing any other signs of deterioration, like protruding nails?
- Is there moss or debris (like tree limbs) on the roof?
- Are the gutters in good shape?
Homeowners and homebuyers also can check the following from inside the house:
- Are there any stains or peeling paint on the ceiling? Be sure to check closet ceilings, as well.
- Check a walk-up attic for signs of leaks if it is accessible and safe to enter.
Another important component of the roof is the flashing. Flashing is used whenever there is any penetration through the roof or any change in the plane of the roof. For example, chimneys, plumbing stacks and skylights need to have flashing around them. If there is a wall that abuts the roof like a dormer, there should be flashing where it meets the roof. If the flashing is rusting or has sustained physical damage, it needs to be replaced.
The chimney is one of the most likely areas where a roof can leak. It also can be an indicator of problems with the roof system. The chimney is exposed to weather from all points of the compass. It is the highest point of the home, so it is exposed to wind, rain, snow and sun every day. In the winter, it has warm air coming out of it while the outside temperature may be 100 degrees colder. The extreme temperature difference can cause movement that affects the roofing material.
The chimney can be checked by an inspector for the following conditions:
- If the chimney is brick, is the brick deteriorating? Are there any bricks missing?
- If the chimney is metal or enclosed within wood, stucco, vinyl or any other building product, is there deterioration, rust or damage?
- Is the top of the chimney (the cap) in good shape?
Schedule a Home Inspection
Periodic inspection of the entire home is recommended every few years. Find an ASHI home inspector in your area to schedule a home inspection and improve your home maintenance.