When looking at a home the roof is nearly the last thing that homebuyers pay attention to. Aside from the type and color of roof, most people never even give the roof a second thought. The cost of replacing a roof can be hefty, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report the pacific region’s average cost to replace a roof is $22,436 with the average return of $20,378 or 90.8 percent on investment which is much higher than the national average of 71.7 percent cost recouped.

Potential roofing problems can add up quickly. While we have been experiencing a drought here in the greater Sacramento area of California this year is bucking the trend and more homes are experiencing roof leaks and other issues with the amount of rain that we have seen so far this season.

As a home inspection company, here is what Sac Inspect inspectors look for when it comes to the roof on a property:

  • Roof covering
  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • Vents
  • Skylights
  • Flashing
  • Chimney
  • Various other roof penetrations
  • Overall roof structure and attic

It’s important to note that a home inspector is not required to walk on the roof, but rather only observe from the ground. If issues are observed with the roof then the home inspector will suggest having a professional roofer evaluate the state of the roof to see if repair or total replacement is warranted.

Roof Leaks

Roof leaks both active and inactive can present major problems. Conducting an annual checkup of the roof is an important part of home ownership and many roofing companies offer free inspection services. Items to look for that are associated with the roof leaking, include, but are not limited to: peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots around a fireplace, dark spots on the ceiling, and water stains on the carpet.

Commonly Found Problems

Throughout our experience in inspecting homes within the Northern California area we commonly see missing or broken shingles, missing roof flashing, downspouts not properly diverted away from the structure, as well as many other issues related to the roof. Different types of roofing material also have common problems associated with them. For example a wood shingle is often more prone to rot whereas a fiberglass shingle should be examined for cracks.

Evaluating the Roof

Knowing the age and condition of the roof can go a long way in determining if repair or alternatively replacement of the roof may be necessary. Not all roofs are created equal, the lifespan of a roof will vary from one house to the next as well as one location to another. For example a home that is surrounded by trees may be more susceptible to a shorter life expectancy due to lack of sunlight to dry the roof, increased chance of limbs affecting the shingle life, and other contributing factors. In the Greater Sacramento/ Northern California area we don’t have to worry about a major snow load impacting the roof as much as other areas like Lake Tahoe would.

A word of advice: Don’t always go off of the roofing manufacturers lifetime expectancy. Much like buying tires for a vehicle the average life expectancy of a roof will vary from one property and location to the next.