Although home inspections include the roof, no inspection can predict when a roof will fail. In some instances the inspector may be able to tell you if the work on the roof is substandard or if it is already problematic. They may also point out indications of past problems, leaks and/or repairs.
Pay special attention to any roof that has very little pitch. These are called shed roofs and are usually found over porches and some room additions. Water will not run off easily and these types of roofs are more prone to leak. They should be covered with roll roofing instead of shingles if the pitch is less than 15 degrees.
Most home inspectors perform a visual evaluation from the yard and/or a visual inspection of the attic space to determine the condition of the roof for their report.
Jeff’s Note: When estimating remaining roof life, use a 20-year figure. If, for instance, the roof is 15-years old, it will likely need to be replaced within the next five years. If numerous patches, repairs, and indications of problems are evident, the roof is unlikely to last 20 years. Cheaper materials, direct sun exposure, poor ventilation and other situations may also reduce the life of a roof.
The following figures (in US Dollars) are for estimation purposes only, your cost will vary based on the actual size of the home and the grade of the roofing materials used:
|Size of House||Standard Roof||Standard Roof Requiring Removal of Existing Roof*||Architectural or Dimensional Shingles||Arch/Dimensional Shingles Requiring Removal of Existing Roof*|
Jeff’s Note: Sometimes a new roof is installed over an existing roof. However, there should never be more than two roofs on a home due to the weight of the shingles.
Roof repairs can add up quickly. It is frustrating to repair an old roof only to have it develop a new problem a few months later. The life expectancy of a roof is about 20 years. If your roof is approaching 20 years of age, it is often more cost effective to replace rather than repair it. Otherwise, you may still be forced to replace the roof, and you will lose the cost of the repairs.
Roof leaks are common around chimneys and skylights.
Leaks may occur where two planes of a roofing system come together to form a valley.
Toe Board Holes:
Roofers nail 2×4 “toe boards” to the roof decking to help them stand while installing the roof. When the job is complete, they remove these boards and fill the resulting nail-holes with tar. Often, some of these holes are overlooked and water seeps in, causing dry rotting to the roof decking and/or soffit. These leaks can also cause water spots on interior ceilings.
Once the toe board holes are located and repaired, there may be other associated costs. The damage to the roof decking, unless severe, can usually be left until the roof is replaced. Soffit damage may also require repairs. Painting may be required for the soffit and the ceilings. Since it’s nearly impossible to match paint, the whole ceiling will probably need to be re-painted.
Typical Repair Costs
Jeff’s Note: For those of you doing this yourself, be sure to use a primer such as Kilz on the interior spot before painting to prevent the stain from bleeding through the new paint.