When buying a home it is always important to insist on a total-home inspection – and most buyers won’t pay for a house until they have one. This is wise because an expert may find major flaws in the home that are not immediately evident, even in a brand-new construction. But what most homeowners don’t realize is that they should perform a similar inspection on their own home every year to get ahead of any developing problems in the home.
Now, I am not saying that your eyeballing the foundation or rafters can take the place of a certified home inspection, but as you learn to identify changes in your home you can begin to recognize those things which indicate major problems and which changes are normal wear and tear for a house.
As you know, Lone-Star Roof Systems is a quality roofing company that provides professional service for all your roofing needs. Naturally, this post will focus a bit more on the signs of a failing roof. However, the links posted below give a comprehensive checklist for home inspections and tips on when to call in the pros.
- Damp ceilings, water spots, wet attic insulation and ceiling drips can all be signs of a leaky roof. When shingles become damaged or are not installed properly these water-related damages can develop. If the problem is not too serious or pervasive, minor repairs can be performed. If you have multiple leaks or a very bad leak you may need to replace more than just the roof.
- Shingles that curl, break, or have lost their textured top layer are most likely very old. The average life of a shingle roof in the south is less than 15-30 years. These roofs likely need to be replaced.
- Visible discoloration or streaking of shingles can indicate organic growth beneath and on the shingles. This should be professionally inspected and treated or replaced with organism-resistant shingles.
- Wood shakes require more maintenance from day one. You should be on the lookout for mold, rot or decay, cracked/broken shingles and missing shingles. These roofs require special care and should be repaired or replaced by a professional.
- Flat roofs should not have obvious patches, cracks or splits as this may be an indication of damage that will have be to repaired. Blistering, alligatoring, and wrinkles can be indications of improper drainage, as can silt deposits. These roofs will likely need more major repairs or total replacement.
- Always have your flashing inspected: flashing that is improperly installed or sealed can cause major leaks at the most susceptible junctions in your roof.
- Lookout for excessive use of roofing cement/tar/caulk – this is evidence of an amateur job in installation or repair and should be watched carefully.
- The soffits (an installation under the eave of your home) and the fascia board (which is tucked just under the shingles facing the outside of your home) should both be in good condition, with no rotting or discoloration. The image on the left shows the location of these items.
- Exterior venting for the eaves and attic should be clean and unobstructed. These vents should not be painted over.
- Gutters: not every home needs gutters, but they are highly recommended for areas where rain is a frequent occurrence. Gutters help maintain the integrity of several aspects of the home where rain could cause erosion and decay by shunting this runoff away from the foundation. There should not be any rust or buildup of dirt or leaves in gutters as this negates their function. You may also want to check for warping or unusual installation techniques.
- If your home has a chimney make sure that it is properly flashed and does not lean. Check the chimney cap for leaks to avoid future surprises.
- Finally, take the time to climb up in the attic and examine the decking and rafters for your roof. These plywood boards and 2x4s hold up your roofing material of choice. Any warping, rotting, or discoloration may indicate that the deck and/or rafters need to be inspected and possibly replaced (an expensive but worthwhile venture). There should be no visible caving of the roof between rafters inside or outside the home.
It seems like a long list of things to check for just one aspect of your home, but it is worth it to keep water damage and other dangers out! As always, feel free to contact Lone-Star Roof Systems for a free evaluation and estimate.