House hunting can be quite the adventure! There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you’ve found “the one” but it’s important to take a closer look before putting in that offer. Because roofing systems are one of the most expensive features of a home, it’s crucial to give it a thorough inspection. Join our expert roofing team as we review the most important questions you can ask your realtor and home inspector and learn what to look for before you get keys!

How old is the roof?

When you visit to view the property initially, you’ll want to stand at a distance and inspect the condition of the roof. Look for any worn-out spots or places where shingles are missing – these are sure-fire signs that the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan.

While it is okay to buy a home with an older roof, you do want to make sure that any pre-existing roofing issues have not led to larger issues within the home. Your home inspector should be looking for signs of interior and exterior leakage, ceiling damage, and evidence of water stains. Work with your realtor to ask the current homeowner about the age of the roof and any past maintenance. This will give you an indication of how much time you have left before replacement and if the previous owners took good care of the roof.

Does the roof have a good ventilation system?

Close up photo of roofing vent

You might come across a home with a brand-new roof, but that’s only part of the puzzle. For roofing systems to successfully protect your home, they need to have proper ventilation. You’ll want to make sure there are enough vents throughout your roof to allow air circulation to prevent condensation and the growth of mold and mildew. Air vents are also important for proper temperature regulation. Poor ventilation can wreak havoc on your energy bill and put additional wear and tear on your HVAC system.

Are the gutters in proper working order?

Your gutters are part of a larger storm water management system also known as a “seepage system” which includes downspouts, gutters, and drainage pipes. It’s important to have your home inspector get up on the roof to inspect the seepage system and determine if it is in proper working order. They’ll check for water stains and signs of deterioration around the gutters and drainage pipes to check for leaks or blockages. Please leave this activity up to the professionals to be as safe as possible.

Are there leaks?

A leak in the roofing system is usually a sign of further damage somewhere else in the home. Make sure your home inspector checks for leaks and water damage in the valleys of your roofing system, along the chimney flashing, and around any skylights and vents. Leaks can cause serious internal damage that can easily go unnoticed until the problem is too severe to manage alone. Leaks can damage insulation, create a breeding ground for black mold, and even weaken the foundation of your home.

Close up of roof with yellow mold and damage

Is there mold on the roof?

While some molds are more noticeable especially when severe, there are some that cannot be seen easily with the naked eye. This type of fungus can come in all different colors including white, green, or black and in all types of shapes. Mold can form on the roof, between walls, under floors, and in less visible spots. Typically, the main reason for mold development is a poor ventilation system and water leakage. It also is seen more frequently in areas with hotter climates.

Mold can hold moisture and speed up the deterioration of the roofing system. Not only does it affect the look, but it creates a putrid odor. Between the odor and health risks, it can make it difficult to live in the home. Work with your inspector to verify there are no signs of mold on the roof of your potential home before putting down that deposit.

Close up of water running out of downspout

Are the downspouts in good shape?

It’s easy to check if all of the downspouts are working properly. Look for any signs of past flooding or excessive water flow around the downspouts. This likely means the soak wells are not the appropriate size or that they require cleaning, which can get expensive.

When in Doubt, Ask the Experts

It’s important to have everything thoroughly checked when buying your new home. It’s important to hire a trusted professional to inspect the home and write you up a full report. Repairs to the roof should be done before you move into your new home to avoid any bigger issues.

​​If your roof needs professional help and you’d like a trusted expert’s opinion, reach out to Big Fish Contracting – we’d love to talk to you about how we can fix it! Contact us through our contact form or give us a call at 262-470-1114 to set up your free roofing estimate.