Home Inspection- Inspecting the Roof
What’s important during a roof inspection?
As Home Inspectors we see a wide variety of installation practices and roof covering materials. Some are better then others. The overall purpose of inspecting a roof during a home inspection is to see if the roof is functioning as it should, and determining how long it will continue to function.
Inspecting for defects comes natural when our inspectors are on the roof. During a Home Inspection it is not our job to comment on cosmetic preferences, like the color of roof shingles for example.
Common defects found during a Roof Inspection…
- Missing, damaged or worn shingles
- Exposed nail heads without sealant
- Missing or damaged flashing materials
- improper installation
- Roof sheathing materials that have been damaged by water intrusion
- Plumbing vent stack that has been capped off or sealed by a homeowner
- Lack of underlayment at the eaves and rake
- Ice dam build up
So, how do we conduct a Roof Inspection?
As long as it it safe to do so, we actually walk on every roof. It still blows my mind that many inspectors do not. This provides a better, hands on close up examination of the flashing, roof covering, drip edge flashing, chimneys, gutters, etc. Actually walking on the roof also allows us to better asses the structural integrity of the framing members, and sheathing that support the shingles.
When it is not possible or safe to walk on the roof, the next best option is to inspect on a ladder from the eves. If the roof is covered with snow, we can brush off a section of snow to physically inspect a sample area of the roof covering and drip edge flashing. Major problems such as ice dams can be discovered this way. Finally, if the eaves are inaccessible by ladder (which is rarely the case) our next best option is inspection from the ground with high powered binoculars.