What to Look For in a Roof When Buying a House

While buying a house is an ideal investment, buying the wrong house in Calgary can become catastrophic. When buying a house, it is wise to check crucial parts of the house and ensure they are in good condition, and this includes checking the roof. 

The roof of a home is a crucial part of the home, and buying a home with a bad roof can result in spending more money repairing or even replacing the roof. Hence, you want to take the time and effort to inspect the house’s roof before signing the papers.

However, the challenge in inspecting a house’s roof is knowing what to check for in the roof.

We will provide you a guide on how to check a roof before you purchase it; however, it is strongly recommended to get a proper roof inspection as the cost of not having one done can become expensive.

Here are pro-tips to get you started with what to check for in a roof when buying a house:

What to Check For In a Roof When Buying a Home

Ask About the Roof Age

The roof age is an important metric for knowing the possible condition of a roof. If the roof has just been installed, you have less to worry about compared to if the roof was installed decades back. 

However, it is worth mentioning that the interpretation to give to a roof age depends on the roof type. For example, while asphalt roofing shingles of 20 years might mean they have reached the end of their lifespan, as they have an average lifespan of 15-20 years. Furthermore, there are many variations on the quality of the product and installation the roof has received.

For example, some contractors will shingle over shingles so that they can give a quote that is less than the competition. The practice of laying shingles onto of the shingles saves time and money on the tear off. Unfortunately, it also means that you’re not inspecting the roofing surface and repairing any problems that could have arisen with the previous shingles. This is why it is not recommended.

Run a Quick Check from The Outside

The easiest means of inspecting the roof of a home is to check the roof’s condition from the outside. Even if the roof has just been installed, you still want to check its condition. Do this by walking around the perimeter of the house and noting the conditions of the roof parts. 

This quick check will expose a few damages in the roof to you, even from a distance, and if you notice any damage, inquire about the suspected damage.

What to Look For When Checking a Roof from The Outside

When you are about to buy a house, and you are inspecting the roof from the outside, here are a few things to check for:

Skylights: One part of the roof you can check from the outside of the roof is the skylights. Check for the skylights and ensure they are in good condition, as a replacement is costly. It might also help to ask for the age of the skylights. An average skylight lasts for about 20 years, meaning you should be suspicious of a skylight with an age of about 20 years. 

Ventilation Problems: Though most property owners don’t pay attention to their roof ventilation, ventilation is a crucial requirement in a healthy roof. Proper ventilation prevents mould growth and other winter conditions, resulting in a longer lifespan. It also stops an event called attic rain from happening in the winter. This means checking the ventilation of humid areas like the bathroom.

Missing Shingles: Missing shingles are the last damage to expect from a home to buy. Though missing shingles are easy to repair, leaving them unattended to can degenerate into more serious problems that will cost you more. Hence, when buying a house, it is wise to shun a home with missing shingles on the roof.

Roof Sheathing: When buying a house and inspecting the roof, check for the roof sheathing. Is the roof levelled or bent? Bending roof sheathing is a framing issue that can be difficult to correct. Though this might not have serious structural impacts on the roof, it is best to shun the house.

Run a Quick Check from The Inside

After checking the condition of the roof from the outside, it is time to check for signs of damage from the inside of the home. Majorly, you are checking for stains. 

Check the ceilings and walls for water stains, as these are common signs of a damaged roof. You also want to check for warping and bubble in the interior. Noticing any of this signifies that the roof is leaking up there, requiring repair. The concern with this is you don’t know how long the leaks have been there and their severity. Hence, you want to ask the seller about this too. 

Furthermore, you can take this a step further by climbing the attic to see the outside condition of the roof. In the attic, check for water accumulation and condensation. However, do this early in the morning before the sun rises or in the evening when the sun is setting.

Inquire about the Roof History

You can get the condition of the roof of the home you are about to buy by asking for the available information on the roof. This includes the last time the roof was replaced or repaired and how often an inspection service is carried out on it. 

Moreover, ask about the roof maintenance routine to know if the owner has been serious about maintaining the roof. If you notice that the roof lacks proper maintenance and minor damages are taken for granted, this is an enough red flag.

A bathroom vent not attached.


Buying a house in Calgary can be a difficult task since you don’t know the current condition of the house you are about to pay for. Checking the roof of the house you are buying is an important task since the roof is a significant part of the home. 

This piece has provided you with the basics for what to check for in a roof when buying a home.

However, while you can check the roof on your own, either from the inside or outside, there is more to inspecting a roof than what you can carry out on your own. Hence, you need the service of a professional roofer. A professional roofer will get on to the roof and in the attic and check every essential part of the roof. This is where Whalley’s Four Seasons Roofing comes in. 

If you need to check the roofing integrity of the home you want to buy, we are always available for you. Contact us today.

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