Whether purchasing a new home or an older home, roof repairs or replacement can be a costly addition to a budget.

There are three common roofing materials used: composition/asphalt shingles, wood and metal. Out of these, asphalt shingles is the most popular due to its durability, easy installation and economical advantage.

Asphalt shingles on a roof.

When inspecting an asphalt roof, you want to search for broken, damaged or missing shingles. You also want to check to make sure the flashing is in good condition. Typically, flashing that has loosened or deteriorated from weather can lead to roof leakage.

Aesthetically pleasing, wood shingles (done properly) offer a natural look to a house and offers around a 30 to 40 year lifespan. However, the cost for wood shingles is higher than other types as well as extensive maintenance is necessary. When inspecting wooden shingles, you want to research the type of wood used since different types offer different pros and cons. Additionally, wood is prone to mould issues, rot and infestation by insects.

It is beneficial to have a home inspector check the roof soffits for stains or signs of decay. You may also want to ask your inspector if there are issues with ventilation, gutters and the condition of the chimney itself. A leaking roof can cause water damage on the ceiling of your attic and will also cause mould growth. Cracks, splits and weakened beams can all also be signs of moisture issues.

Asbestos-containing materials were used in roofing until around 1990. Since roofs have a life expectancy of around 30 years, it can exist in older homes.  A visual inspection and testing done by a professional can determine if the hazardous material is apparent.

Despite this extensive list of roofing issues, most homebuyers can negotiate with the sellers for hefty repairs. The most important part to take away from this is the underlying fact that not all faults in roofing are visible, especially mould and asbestos. It is always recommended to hire a professional to perform a detailed inspection.



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