Should you Buy a House with an Old Roof?
When you are buying a house there are a ton of variables to consider. It is time consuming and potentially stressful to find a house that exactly fits all of your specifications. Once you find that at a suitable price, there is still a need to have it inspected to make sure that there are no hidden problems. So what should you do if the house you are considering fits your ideal in every way, is located in a great neighborhood, falls into your price range, but has an old roof? Well, take a look at the information provided below to help you make your decision.
The first question to consider is how old exactly is the roof? For this you need to find out the age of the house and whether the roof has ever been replaced. This information is typically available from the local property appraiser’s public records online and from the city or county building department, whose records may be online or require a phone call. You can also ask the information from the realtor and the sellers, who should ordinarily provide it to you.
It is important to keep in mind that unless you are buying or building a new house, the roof will be somewhat aged. Even if the roof has just been replaced, the sheathing (the wood decking) is typically not completely replaced (unless the whole roof was in very bad shape).
Some roofs can last up to or even over 30 years, depending on the material used and the weather conditions in the area. So, once you know the age, it is important to ascertain the roof’s condition.
What’s the Condition?
Make sure to check the condition of the roof both on the exterior and in the attic. You can do this yourself or hire an inspector. It is important that the inspector knows roofing materials, how they age, and how they should be installed. For this reason, you should consider getting a roof inspection from a professional roofing contractor. Most reputable contractors will do this for a modest fee.
On the exterior of the roof you need to check for missing or damaged surface materials, like shingles or tiles. Loss of granules (the rough exterior of shingles) can also be a cause for concern. Look for granules (they look like sand) in the gutters and around the exterior of the house. Also check for soft spots on the roof, as this is indicative of dry rot in the wood sheathing, which usually results from poor attic insulation. Stains and mold or algae growth can also indicate problems already in place or problems to come.
Roof replacement is an expensive process. Even roof repairs can easily run $1,000-$5,000 dollars. So, it is important to know when a home is just not worth the investment. Below are some warning signs that big expenses will arise in the near future.
Are there missing shingles or tile on the exterior? Are many shingles loose and easily liftable? If this is the case, the roof is no longer doing its job of protecting the interior from water. This indicates potential water damage on the interior, which means that you will not only bear the cost of fixing or replacing the roof, but also interior damages as well.
Do you see any signs of rotten wood or mold? Check the interior ceilings and walls, the wood sheathing and trusses in the attics, and check for soft spots on the roof. Rotten wood, in any part of the house structure, signals major damage and major repair costs, likely requiring full roof replacement and potentially hiring a framer and/or an engineer to make sure that the structure is sound.
In the attic and in the interior of the house check for stains, even small ones. These can be found on the interior of the decking, the ceilings, and even the walls. Feel the area around any stains you may see to check for softness, as this indicates potential rot in the wood. Rotten wood is indicative of ongoing damage and costly issues in the future.
So, should you buy a house with an old roof? That depends on the condition of the roof. If it is aged but in good condition and all other parameters of the house suit, then it is a fine investment. If, however, you notice some of the problems mentioned above, you might want to reconsider the purchase. The seller may be willing to negotiate the price or do roof repairs before the sale. While this depends on the market, it does not hurt to ask. When buying, just make sure that you are aware of present and potential future costs and how much you can afford to spend. And, finally, make sure that you have the home and roof inspected by a qualified individual.
If you have any questions about your roof, need a roof inspection, or want a free estimate for your roof in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906!