Buying a home? Check the Roof!



UPDATED 03/2017: BP Organic Shingle Lawsuit – Know your Rights! 

If you are reading this, it probably means you “Googled” things to look for when shopping for a new home, or how to know a roof’s life span.

So DOUBLE congratulations for being a smart home shopper. Knowing how much life a roof has left is critically important because unlike the more common things people see when shopping for a home, the roof is expensive to fix, and even MORE expensive to NOT fix.

The infographic above makes it very easy to check for common problems that can tip you off to the condition of your roof. Remember; the roof is your shield against the crazy Alberta Weather. If the roof is compromised, like a spartan soldier, the whole unit is. If you ever look at one of those old rural homesteads, you notice it’s usually the roof that fails FIRST. The roof can be the weakest link if not cared for, and a leaking roof, can lead to all kinds of other problems in the home.

To summarize, you need to check the roof.

When a seller is looking to list their home, as we discussed in our blog about getting more money selling your home by replacing the roof, there is a clear incentive to make sure that the roof at least looks as though it is new, and move in ready.

The problem, is that a penny saved, is a penny earned, and if they only plan to sell the home, there might not be the same care and concern for a quality installation, that you – the potential long term homeowner – might have. So the lowest bidder usually wins, and the lowest bid is achieved through cutting corners.

So it pays to look for signs of a rushed job. Low nails, Shingles over top of old shingles, weak sagging roof deck, or shingles that look crooked are all common signs of rushed, careless installation.

Now, what if you are looking at buying a house, that is openly disclosed as needing to be re-roofed? Well then you want to get an idea as to HOW BAD things are. If you are a reader from Alberta, check the south facing side of the house, it will always be the worst side.

Look for clawing shingles, or curling shingles. (looks just like it sounds) Check for dents from hail, check any metal vents or chimney caps to see if they have hail damage. If you notice that shingle is missing or looks loose, it is important to check for leaks.

Infographic: How to locate a roof leak.

Many homes shingles are actually installed on boards, not plywood, which is a good thing in a way, but it makes it very easy to spot leaks as light will commonly shine right through into the attic. Also look for nails that look too pushed in, or crooked, or perhaps popping out.

Lastly, check inside the home, any home seller with a brain will probably cover up unfixed leak stains on the ceiling with paint, so look for fresh paint on the roof, or any signs of bubbling or rippling in drywall.

We hope this helps you make an educated decision, however, we do offer a full Home Buyer Roof inspection, which we can perform for you at a minimal cost of $99.


This will get you a complete inspection of the attic space, as well as the roof, a running water leak test, and a fully photographed inspection of all roofing elements from ridge, to ventilation, to gutters. The cost of less than a hundred dollars for a roof inspection is cheap insurance against the much costlier roof repairs, or worse!

Thanks again for reading!

-AS “the website guy”