What to Look for When Buying A Home with an Old Roof

Houston and surrounding areas like Katy, Clear Lake, Cypress, Tomball and Spring, have the fastest job growth rate in the U.S. and many folks are searching for homes to relocate to. Some might find the house of their dreams. Everything might look perfect but it’s not a new house and the roof might be an issue. A new roof is a hefty expense but it should definitely be something to consider, especially if the residential roofing is more than 10 years old.

A properly maintained roof can last more than 30 years but without a roof guarantee, that shouldn’t be assumed. Was the roof installed improperly? If not, it won’t last anywhere close to 30 years! Prior to purchasing an older home,  the roof needs to be inspected for peace of mind. Home owners can troubleshoot prior to purchase:

  • Leaks: Spotting a leak can be easy but it also can be hard! Look at the ceiling, do you see water stains? Look closer–is there bubbled paint or signs of drywall damage? The seller could have easily hid a ceiling stain with a coat of paint! If water signs are there, ask the seller for more info. If the seller suggests issues have been fixed, then they shouldn’t mind if you use a moisture meter from an residential infrared inspection company.
  • Dry rot: Look for any rotten or moldy wood in the attic, and make sure to clear away any items that might be covering the rot. Rotten wood can cause poor ventilation to your roof and ultimately make your roof sag or collapse!
  • Gutters:  Ask if the gutters have ever been replaced or repaired. Check if the drainage system is working as it should. With improperly installed gutters, water can bounce from the gutters up under the eaves or edge of the roof.
  • Chimney and vents: If the roof has a chimney, then check for any loose bricks and mortar falling out. New building codes require a flue liner, so an older home might not have them. Chimneys are usually lined with flashing that can leak when old, or improperly installed.
  • Trees: Keep an eye out for nearby trees! Is there any shade that covers the roof? Look for mold growth, which can cause a roof to age faster. Consider trees.  If you’re willing to trim the branches every so often or call an arborist, roof damage can be mitigated.

If your personal roof inspection isn’t what you would like or the roof isn’t in great condition, try to negotiate with the seller to lower the price or to have some repairs made. Contracting a professional roofing inspector can provide a certification for their inspection. Also, be sure to ask if the roof has any warranties or certifications and ask which roofing company installed the roof, if it does have any ongoing warranty or certification. And remember, cities have different codes. Katy roofing codes can differ greatly from Spring or Houston roofing codes. Be thorough.