As you’re likely familiar, without ozone, all life on earth would be insanely hard to sustain for a reasonable period of time. Everything on it would suffer from a lack of, there we say, roof. With this analogy, we’ve come to our main point. The roof is a crucial part of your new home. Hence, accurately evaluating it when buying a house is a necessity. Luckily, it’s alleviating that you don’t have to do the whole “roof inspection before buying a house” ordeal on your own.
Inspection by someone experienced
If you’re uncertain about doing it by hand, it’ll be helpful to hire professionals that have experience in all things related to real estate construction, including roof inspection. Finding a local expert is always a better choice as they’ll intuitively know, amongst other things, to recommend certain things rather than others based on environmental factors. That being said, it’s advisable to verify the credibility and trustworthiness of the people you hire. Ask around and browse the internet about their previous work; something will probably turn up. It does seem a bit over the top, but better safe than sorry.
Inspecting it yourself
Whether someone is helping you or not, it goes without saying that you need to be there for the entire process. This is a very delicate task, so to keep this roof inspection reasonably light, here’s a list of things that must be checked.
Otherwise known as the material used as a protective layer from water, dust, and other substances. By nature, it also adds to the durability and longevity of the building. Now, you need to be on the roof to see these. They’re found on the intersections of the chimney or if the house is in the shape of an L, the joints where the two roofs connect. They are usually made of steel, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, PVC, etc. If it’s a metal, avoid alloys that look corroded or can corrode in the future (copper is best in this regard). Rubber, PVC, and similar materials (being relatively new) have an innate resistance to thermal expansion and contraction, making them ok candidates. Avoid putty and tar for all intents and purposes as they aren’t very reliable long-term.
The importance of gutters is found in water drainage. Rain and other debris can severely damage the integrity of your home if the gutters aren’t doing their job correctly. Gutter guards help the water flow by keeping everything else outside like leaves, tiny rocks, insects, etc. Check whether the guards are adequately attached. They mustn’t be nailed to the roof because this leaves holes behind that defeat the purpose of the roof. Usually, they’re in a shape that attaches with a snap to the gutter. Sometimes they are fastened to it. Ideally, the material should be stainless steel as it’s very durable and won’t toxify the water drained. Furthermore, examine the guards on downspouts. Those get clogged up pretty quickly, which again keeps water where it shouldn’t be.
Depending on your budget, gutters made of copper, zinc, stainless steel, and aluminium are all viable options. Copper and zinc are more expensive since they’re impenetrable by corrosion. Copper is easily recognizable by its golden-brown colour. Aluminium is uncostly, but we suggest avoiding it, as it’s the weakest metal from the pack (not much stronger than your average soda can). This leaves us with stainless as pretty much the best all-around. It’s strong, doesn’t rust, resistant to thermals, and cheaper than most.
Roof and pitch
There are different roof pitches expressed in ratios of 12. It naturally follows that some roofs are steeper, and some are flatter. For example, a 1/12 roof pitch is like saying: “For every 12 meters that the roofline goes straight, it goes 1 meter up”. This helps us determine what material we expect to find on the roof. Different slopes require different materials. For example, a nearly flat roof (1/12) requires waterproof material like tar or gravel because the stuff that falls on it doesn’t roll off so easily. A steeper roof can be made of many materials, with clay, concrete, slate, and metal having the longest life expectancy. Structural deficits are easy to spot once you’re close enough, like physical damage, misaligned tiles, corrosion, etc.
Usually made from wood, there are two types. Rafters and trusses. Rafters’ shape can be thought of as a 5-year old’s house drawing. They are a part of the outer wall of the house. On the other hand, trusses are industrially premade “wood triangles”. These can be seen in the house’s attic. Ensure there are absolutely no bends, cracks, or any physical damage whatsoever. Queen, king, fink, and attic trusses are the most widely used.
This one is pretty straightforward. Roof insulation is a cover found on the attic and ceiling. Besides being a thermal barrier, it also acts as a sound one. When buying a house, you’ll usually be given an EPC (energy performance certificate) that can be useful in determining how good the insulation is (if you find any). If your desired house doesn’t have any, you should consider investing in it as the energy savings will probably pay off in 3 years. Let us mention some of the more popular types of insulation:
- Spray foam: An all-around solid solution that, additionally, helps prevent condensation and the collection of dust.
- Glass rock and miner wool: Very popular and eco-friendly, its easy handling makes it very easy for everyday folk to set it up.
- Aerolite: One of the oldest roof insulation materials perfected for durability while staying ultra-light. Its benefits are very comparable to its much more expensive counterparts.
In all probability, a house that ticks all the boxes we mentioned above is a rare occurrence. This makes it more likely that you will have to do some long-distance house hunting. Therefore if buying from afar is something you want to do, you must have a strategy before making your choice.
On average, the best real estate prices appear in late summer. Avoid city centres as the houses could be more expensive than, for example, in the suburbs. If you have an old place that you can sell, put it up for sale. Get informed about the area you’re buying in – environmental factors, crime rates, economic and political stability, inflation rates, etc. The real estate market is complex, so analyzing the stock market can also give additional information on future prices. In conclusion, this is an enormous commitment, which is one of the reasons you must not skip a roof inspection before buying a house.