Roof inspections for new homeowners
Do you need a roof inspection?
Sometimes, yes. You should always get a full home inspection when purchasing a new home. There was a time when it was common to waive inspections, but regardless of how badly you want a home, you should always get an inspection, so you know the condition of your home. This goes for the whole home, but also the roof. Think of home inspectors like general practitioners; they sort of have to know a little bit about everything. Think of a roof inspector as a specialist. If your home inspector returns with anything about your roof on their report, you need to call a roof inspector to take a closer look. You will want someone with the expertise to get to the root of any issues.
What gets inspected?
When your roof is inspected, the inspector is looking for any damage to your roof. Damage can be caused by leaks, mold, moss, etc. inspectors also look over the integrity of your roof, like the full condition of roofing materials and the Condition of flashings and roof penetrations. Your inspector should inspect not just the roof but things that are involved with your roof, like any skylights, pipework that should be sealed, and even your gutters.
Roof questions to ask when you are buying a home.
If you are shopping for a new home this year, here are some things you should find out about the roof of your dream home before you drop that offer.
HOW OLD IS THE ROOF?
You must ask this question even when looking at a home you are considering buying. The homeowners/sellers of a new home like to tell you when there is a new roof on the house, but they frequently won’t mention anything about the roof unless it is new. Anytime a large project like a new roof is done to the home, there are receipts; it’s important to get proof the roof has been fully replaced or repaired. Make sure that their paperwork matches up with what they are saying.
WHAT QUALITY/TYPE IS THE ROOF?
Be sure to ask what the quality of your roof is. Make sure good quality roofing materials were used when it was last redone. Also, it’s important to note that not all roofs are created equal for the places that they are. For example, here in Arizona, tile roofs are popular because they last a really long time, but asphalt shingle roofs are used too. Understanding the difference in the longevity of these two types of roofs in Arizona is important. It may not be something you need to deal with immediately, but just understand that you will probably need work done on a shingle roof way sooner than a tile roof.
HOW WORN IS THE ROOF?
Most of the time, a home inspection is done on your home before you buy it unless you opt-out… P.S. Never opt out of a home inspection. Also, did you know that you can choose your home inspector? Most of the time, the homeowners hire the inspector, or one of the realtors will set it up, but you can always get a second opinion. Not all home inspectors are created equal, and not all spend enough time inspecting the roof. The roof is a very important part of your home and not something that should be looked over quickly. If you happen to see ware and tear on the edges of the roof, or perhaps some minor things are mentioned in an inspector’s report, it is ok to ask for a roof-only inspection. Knowing how worn the roof is is key to deciding to buy a home. A roof can be a very large expense, and even if it warns, knowing this information can help you avoid costly surprises down the road.
How heat can damage your roof.
Arizonians are no strangers to harsh summer heat. Unfortunately, our roofs can’t get out of the sun, so they take a beating most of the year here. Being aware of this helps catch signs of roof degradation.
What is roof degradation?
Roof degradation can be caused by extended exposure to direct sunlight. This can compromise your roofing material and may result in shingles buckling, eroding, and peeling back. This then exposes the wood beneath the shingles, leaving it vulnerable to rain. What roofs are susceptible to roof degradation? Older roofs. If your roof has been up for over 15 years and you notice balding. When it is time to replace your roof? Try to return before the heat of the summer months set in.
SIGNS OF HEAT-DAMAGED ROOFING
There are a few tell-tale signs your roof has suffered from heat damage.
Some signs are curling shingles, deteriorating or balding shingles, Peeling, Buckling, and Eroding. Once you notice these signs of damage, it’s best to call in the pros to look into possible repairs or replacement options.
Heat-related threats to roofing
Heat-related threats to the roof are extremely common and can be one of the leading causes of roof damage. Between the increase in humidity that comes with the late summer months and constant exposure to sunlight, the roof can experience a decrease in its lifespan during this timeframe.
The sun is closer to the earth in the summer, so this leaves your shingles exposed to more UV rays than any other time of the year. Direct exposure to sunlight can age your shingles, causing them to peel or erode. Tile roofs are better for Arizona because they bounce heat and absorb less UV light.
Other heat-related damage can be when thermal shock occurs. This is when the roofing system expands and contracts due to constant heating and cooling. The more this happens, the more strain is put onto your roof, decreasing its lifespan. You can expect cracks and splits from thermal shock if you have an older roof.
Spring Cleaning Roof Checklist
It’s barely the new year, but spring will have rolled around before you know it. It will soon be time to check on your roof to get ready for the summer.
Here is a list of a few things to check once it starts to warm up.
Clear Off All Debris from roof and gutter – We all know that wintertime creates all sorts of messes from trees; this means it’s not just on the ground, it’s also on your roof. If you have a lot of trees that drop leaves, be sure to check your roof and also your gutters for fallen leaves.
Examine Your Roof for Loose Shingles – Look around your roof and ensure all the shingles have made it through the winter. Things like hail and storms through the winter can damage and loosen shingles. It is important to find loose shingles and fix them before they cause any issues.
Damaged Tree Branches – If you have damaged or dangling tree branches close to your roof, have them trimmed or removed. Branches that fall can cause future costly repairs.
Can you replace your roof in the wintertime?
In some climates, like here in Phoenix, winter is a great time to get a new roof. Winter in colder climates isn’t always the ideal time to have your roof replaced because ice and snow can make being on your roof very dangerous.
You also must remember that when your roof is being replaced in the wintertime, your home won’t be as protected as it should be to keep the cold out. While roof replacements under good conditions are quick. You always run the risk of your home being exposed to winter elements. In Arizona, we don’t have to worry too much about super cold temperatures, ice, and snow, but depending on the winter, we have rain, and damp conditions can cause a bit of ice on early morning roofs.
So we say yes, your roof can be replaced in the wintertime; it’s just important to make sure that all the weather conditions are ideal for protecting the safely of workers and your family.
How does hail impact the life of your roof?
Hail is one of those things that happens without warning, and there is no way to protect your roof from it. Depending on where you live, hail can be a once-a-year occurrence or a constant threat to your roof. What is so bad about hail? Does it damage your roof as much as we have all been told?
The most common issue that hail causes are leaks. Shingles can be damaged or moved depending on the size of the hail that is hitting your roof. The speed at which hail hits your roof is enough power to shift shingles around or break them, which can lead to leaks in your roof. In addition to leaks, hail can cause holes in your roof, depending on the hail size. Golf ball-sized hail and larger is the most problematic, especially if you haven’t had your roof inspected or replaced in many years. Hail can easily mangle an old or damaged roof.
When your roof is damaged by hail, and it’s not addressed, your roof is exposed to elements like rain and extreme heat and sun that the shingles usually protect it from. Anytime the asphalt under the shingles is exposed too long, the aging process of your roof is accelerated.
After any hail storm, large or small, it’s important to have a trusted roofer inspect for damage.
Standing water on a flat roof
Having gutters installed is the best way to ensure that you have no standing water on your flat roof. Gutters drain and divert the water from the roof and into an area around the house that is a safe distance from the foundation.
If you find standing water on your roof, here are some things you can do. If you have gutters and there is rainwater buildup, be sure to clean and flush the gutters to make sure the path for water to drain is clear. Standing water with clear drains and gutters may mean a low spot on your roof needs repair. If water stands too long in one area, it can create a sag that will hold water even with the best drainage.
If standing water on your flat roof is an issue you can’t solve, please reach out and have a professional check things out. If you have fixed your drainage and standing water is still an issue, have a roof inspection done. A professional can ensure you don’t have water damage or low spots that were created by past standing water.
If you are having issues with standing water on your flat roof, give us a call (602) 743-3175
Have you heard of living roofs?
What is a living roof?
A living roof is a roof that is covered in greenery and plants. A living roof must be properly built and waterproof for plants to thrive.
What is the purpose of a green roof?
Living roofs, or “green roofs,” are aesthetic and a great way to conserve energy by keeping your roof cooler. Like natural insulation, heat is absorbed into the roof instead of attracting it.
Are they good for the environment?
Yes, green roofs not only help with cooling costs, as mentioned above, but they also produce oxygen and remove air particles like all other plants on a larger scale.
Are living roofs hard to maintain?
A living roof requires very little maintenance. The grass and earth protect the waterproof layers from sun damage, so the roof lasts indefinitely. And you never have to paint it or replace tiles.
A few things to consider before dividing if a living roof is for you.
Keep in mind that a living roof isn’t for everyone. They are easy to maintain, but you still need plant knowledge to keep them alive. Climate plays a role in a living roof as well. Dryer climates create the issue of water usage, while humid climates are the best choice for these roofs to thrive with less watering. Also, keep in mind where you live; if you live in a subdivision with an HOA, check with them before making any large changes to your roof. It’s unlikely that your HOA will allow a living roof, as most like for all homes to match color schemes that don’t include green roofs.
Algae and Moss on your roof on Arizona?
Arizona is a “dry heat” most of the year, but not 100% of the time. Check for moss and algae during the monsoon months; once it’s there, it doesn’t go away; it just dries up when the air gets drier. So yes, you do need to check for moss and algae in Arizona. It may be a smaller chance, but never zero.
Moss and algae can cause significant corrosion to your roof’s shingles. If you find moss or algae growth on your roof, removing it or controlling it is important. Cleaning it yourself is easy but a task that only some are willing or ready to undertake. You can get zinc or iron solutions at your local hardware store to prevent further outbreaks. Cleaning a current outbreak can be as simple as dish soap and water but can sometimes need higher-strength cleaners. Please call a professional if you need help cleaning algae and moss from your roof.
Roof cleaning DOs and DON’Ts
- DO use equal parts bleach and water. It’s important to remove not only dirt but any algae or mildew that may be growing.
- DON’T use a power washer on shingles – Power washers are too strong to clean shingles; the force will break them down.
- DO let the bleach and water solution set for up to 20 minutes and then rinse it away with clean water.
- DON’T forget about your plants and shrubbery around your home when rinsing off the cleaning solution. Wet any plants with water and then cover them with plastic to protect them.
- DO clean your roof on a cool day, with cloud coverage and no wind.
- DON’T wait until your roof is covered in algae or moss to clean it. It’s always better to keep your roof clean rather than waiting until it’s a big task.
- DO Hire someone to clean your roof if you are unable to clean it yourself safely.
- DON’T clean your roof without taking proper safety precautions.