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What to Look for in a Roof When Buying a Home



Posted On: March 06, 2023

Are you searching the market for a new home? You might be asking yourself what some of the main things are you need to look for to know you’re getting a good deal on such a big investment. Homebuyers often look for desired floor plans, square footage, or what needs to be replaced or updated. However, have you considered one of the largest expenses on a home?

A home's roof is your first line of defense against the elements, protecting you (and your family and possessions) from rain, wind, heat, and pests. While you’ll always want a free professional roof inspection before making an offer on your new dream house, there are a few important questions to ask when you’re looking at potential candidates. Here’s what you should look for in a roof when buying a new home.


How old is the current roof?

This might seem like an obvious first question. It’s essential to know exactly how old the roof is, so make sure you get a definite date from the official paperwork from the current homeowners. Knowing when the current roof was installed is the first step in indicating how much longer the system is going to last. Different types of roofing materials last longer compared to others. For example, a metal roof can last up to 50 years with good maintenance, while a shingle roof is more easily damaged and may need to be replaced anywhere between 15 and 25 years. Read more about roof replacements by clicking here! 


What is the quality of the roof and its materials?

There is a big difference in quality between inexpensive 3-tab shingles and thicker, more durable “architectural” or “dimensional” shingles. If the roof is metal, has it been installed properly? Did the current homeowners use a reputable roofing company? If the house you’re considering has a newer metal roof, like stone-coated steel or standing seam, then you’re in luck. When correctly installed, these roofs can last 30 years or more, meaning that you might never have to replace the roof again. Ensure that all warranties (from the manufacturer for the quality of goods, and from the installer for the labor) are transferable to you after home purchase. This higher quality of roof increases the value of the house, and may increase the purchase price, but in return you get significant peace of mind for decades.


What is the current condition of the roof?

No matter the age or quality of the roof, you can expect signs of wear and tear. While we never recommend getting on a roof yourself, there are plenty of signs of wear that you can investigate from the ground. Warning signs include:

  • Any signs of shingles cracking, curling, peeling, shrinking, or otherwise becoming too worn to do their job
  • Granules in gutters or bald spots on shingles, which let in UV light that deteriorates the asphalt
  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on the flashing, gutters, and downspouts
  • Cracked and worn rubber seals (“boots”) around vent pipes


Check the attic or crawlspace

The attic or crawlspace is the first place you’ll see signs of leaking, mold or mildew, or any other way the roof isn’t adequately protecting the home. You’ll want to look out for:

  • Stains on the underside of roofing, and especially on vertical wooden supports, indicate water damage.
  • Lack of insulation, meaning that there’s not an effective moisture barrier between the living areas of the home and the attic.
  • Inadequate ventilation: air should have a clear path into and out of the attic, and all vents should be in good working order.
  • Check on a sunny day for any small pinholes of light that indicate a hole in the roofing or a weakness at the seams.


If your new dream house will need significant roof repairs or replacement in the near future, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy the house! Depending on the circumstances, you could request that the owners have the roof replaced before the sale, or ask to knock a specific amount of money to offset the cost of upcoming roof repairs. The important thing is that you pay a fair price for the house you want, and that you aren’t surprised by any upcoming (and expensive) roof repairs.


You should always consider having an official roof inspection before making an offer on a house, in addition to the home inspection. The roof inspectors report will give you further details and allow you to plan/budget for any necessary upcoming repairs or decide that the asking price is too high. If you’re ready to have your next potential home’s roof inspected, call our team at Johnson Roofing Solutions in Northwest Florida. Johnson Roofing Solutions team provides free estimates AND financing to homes and businesses across the panhandle of Florida. We have offices in Panama City, Chipley and Graceville with our service area expanding from Tallahassee to Pensacola. We are fully licensed and insured, family owned and operated and prepared to take on any roofing project from minor repairs to complete replacements or even new construction. Contact us today and let us be your solution!


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