What every buyer should know about roofs

Verani Realty

tools on roofAs a buyer, the condition of and the materials used on the roof of a home are something you need to know before you buy. Some materials are more prone to issues than others, some problems are minor, and some repairs may be extensive – like needing a whole new roof – so it pays to know some basic facts.

Finding a roof problem during a home inspection could mean it’s time to renegotiate with the seller on the price, lowering it to cover repair costs. It may be a deal breaker if the sellers won’t renegotiate the selling price to reflect repair costs or make the repairs themselves. However, it could just be a small issue to be addressed in the near future. Knowing the basics about roofs and roofing materials can help you navigate any red flags that come up during inspection.

Where is damage most likely to appear?

  • Damage is often caused by ice and snow that build up around chimneys and skylights, or any area where something penetrates the roof. These areas experience melting during the day and a refreeze at night when the temperatures drop. This freeze-melt cycle can cause the most damage.
  • Ice dams along the edge of a roof and within gutters can also cause damage. Some associated damage can be caused by the homeowner trying to scrape the roof to clear it of ice and snow.
  • Shingles that are curled, losing granules, or buckling from age indicate the shingles are past their life expectancy (a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years). This can allow leaks to seep to the wood below.

Which materials are used?

There are a few roofing materials commonly used today, and it is wise to know the pros and cons of each.

  • Fiberglass Asphalt Shingles: Typically guaranteed for up to 30 years, they are made of a woven fiberglass base, like a mat, are covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and then topped off with ceramic granules to protect the shingles from the effects of harmful UV rays. Average cost is $250 to $400 per square foot installed.

  • Slate: Essentially a dense, quarried rock, slate is a tremendously durable material. It is non-combustible, waterproof and requires little to no maintenance over its 50-year lifespan. It costs about $600 to $1,500 per square foot, installed.

  • Composite Roofing: It is made from poly-based products they are lightweight, fire safe, fade resistant to the sun and weather, and carry a warranty up to 50 years. Cost is about $400 to $750 per square foot, installed.

  • Metal Roofing: Capable of withstanding wind, rain, hail and fire, this energy-efficient material will not rot the way other materials eventually will and typically lasts 50-plus years. The material costs about $300 to $700 per square foot, installed.

  • Tile Roofing: Tile roofing comes in clay or concrete and can last a lifetime, but they are not appropriate for every structure since it’s heavy. Typical costs are about $200 to $800 per square foot for concrete, or $500 to $1,000 per square foot for clay tiles, installed.

The roof of any home is a vital component in maintaining its structural integrity. As you view homes, look closely for signs of damage and age, always do a home inspection before you buy, and ask your real estate professional about the age of the roof and if repairs were ever done by the seller.

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