How to Spot a Bad Roof From The Ground

By August 1, 2021 October 6th, 2021 No Comments

The real estate market in Omaha is hot and homes are selling fast. Ryan Rener, a real estate agent with Omaha Homes For Sale, said many sellers are expecting offers with no home inspection. “I don’t ever recommend buying a home without an inspection, but in this market a home inspection makes an offer less desirable.” 

If you have to write an offer without an inspection, it’s important you know how to spot issues during the showing. It’s not always necessary to take a ladder and climb to the top of your roof to spot problems. You can often spot the results of roof damage without ever leaving the ground. 

When you inspect the roof of your potential purchase, be on the lookout for: 

  • Green
  • Damaged or Missing Shingles
  • Rusty Gutters

The roof is one of the most expensive home features. When you see signs of wear and tear, or a shoddy roofing job, take a closer look. You should be able to identify and note these things from the ground. But beware, your own inspection is not a substitute for a professional home inspection or roof inspection. 

Green On The Roof

One of the things you should look for on the roof is green, or greenery. It might be helpful to grab a pair of binoculars if you cannot get close enough to spot the issue. The green might be algae, moss, or rotting leaves. 

Walk around the house and check the roof for:

  • Algae
  • Debris
  • Leaves
  • Moss

Roof shingles covered in green mold

The presence of algae, moss, and rotting leaves might mean that the roof is in disrepair. At best, it means that the roof is soaking up rainwater and moisture like a sponge. At worst, algae, moss, and other greenery might have soaked through to the wooden structure underneath your roof. That means the house you have your eye on might be dank, decaying, and moldy. 

Damaged or Missing Shingles

Roofing shingles create a watertight seal on a roof. When there are shingles missing, the seal is broken and water can leak through the roof. One thing that damages shingles is the hot air trapped in the attic. 

Missing and damaged roof shingles

Sometimes that hot air causes shingles to fail. They buckle, curl, or warp. These malformed shingles break the seal. The damaged shingles let water into your attic and prevent proper ventilation.

Curling shingles should be replaced, so if there are several it is a red flag. If more than one-quarter of the shingles are curled–that roof will need to be re-shingled soon. Make sure to include the cost of re-shingling when you consider your offer. Another thing that happens is shingles can get blown away or damaged. 

There are several different types of shingles made with different types of materials. The list that follows is not exhaustive, but provides some obvious things you should inspect: 

  • Asbestos/Slate/Clay: breaks, chips, cracks, missing 
  • Asphalt: looking for smooth looking shingles, this is a sign of old or damaged shingles
  • Metal: corrosion, rust, splits
  • Wood: dry rot, cracks, missing

Finally, missing shingles let water into the roof just like curled or damaged shingles. If there are a lot of shingles missing, the roof may have already suffered expensive damages. 

Rusty Gutters

Fully functional gutters are essential for keeping your roof in good shape. One sign of a gutter problem is rust you can see when you look up at them from ground level.

Rusty rain gutters

Rust usually indicates that expansion and contraction have caused a gutter to come apart at the seams. Spot repairs are often possible, but extensive rusting is a sign gutters need to be replaced.

Are you ready to purchase a home? If so, read What To Look For In A Roof When You’re Buying A New Home to learn more about a roof’s value. It will provide you information, and help put you in a knowledgeable bargaining position. 

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