Identifying Problem Roofs during a home inspection
Asphalt Shingle Roof
A roof is one of the most expensive components of a home. Hundreds of different materials have been used as roofing material from sticks to plastic, and grass to glass. When you are looking for a home you need to know what type of roofing material is installed if it was installed correctly, and the current condition. A thorough home inspection will include a detailed evaluation of the roof. A roof in poor condition can be a deal breaker, so here are some things to look for that can give you a heads-up about the condition of a roof.
The majority of the houses we inspect range in age from the 1950’s to new. The most common roof material we see in San Diego is the three-tab composite asphalt shingle roof. It is made of oil-impregnated fiberglass material, with an aggregate (which looks like kitty litter) pressed into the surface. The aggregate adds color, but its primary purpose is to protect the shingles from UV exposure. Once the aggregate is worn, the shingle deteriorates rather quickly. The majority of asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of 20 or 30 years.
Worn Asphalt Shingle
Before making an offer on a house, take a close look at the roof. If you see worn areas or a shiny reflection, this indicates that the shingles are nearing the end of their life. The shiny reflection is the fiberglass core of the shingles that is showing through indicating worn shingles. You can also do some simple math to estimate the age of the roof. If you are looking at a house built in 1970, the house is 40 years old. Assuming that the house originally had Worn Aggregate a 20-year asphalt roof, it was most likely replaced in the early 1990’s. That means that the current 20-year roof is nearing the end of its 20-year expected life.
If you can, look in the gutters and around the perimeter of the house for evidence that the aggregate is washing off of the roof. If you see piles of gritty material which is the same color as the roof, you’ll know that the roof is deteriorating.
If you are purchasing a house that is 20 years old or more, take the time to look at the roof. You could save yourself heartache later.
If you live in the Minneapolis Saint paul area and you are considering hiring a home inspector contact Inspections Plus. With over 25 years in the building and inspection business Inspections Plus has the experience you can rely on.
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