More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. I’m buying ‘50s modern house with a “gravel” roof. Is the roof going to be a problem?

  2. What are the right words for talking about a roof?

  3. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  4. What is the cost difference between asphalt shingle and metal roofing?

  5. The inspector says that a missing kickout flashing caused water damage inside the wall. What’s “kickout flashing”?

  6. Why does my insurance company want a roof letter?

  7. What is a TPO roof?

  8. I saw some staining in the ceiling. Do you think the roof is okay?

  9. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  10. What’s the difference between a gable roof and a hip roof?

  11. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  12. What is the minimum pitch of an asphalt shingle roof?

  13. What is the minimum pitch for a metal roof?

  14. Why do my dormer windows leak?

  15. What are “shiners” and why did they make me lose my insurance discount?

  16. How can I make my roof last longer?

  17. What are the roof sheathing requirements for a roof replacement in Florida?

  18. What is the difference between galvanized and galvalume metal roofing?

  19. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  20. What is the difference between roofing felt and synthetic underlayment?

  21. What are the rules for cutting, notching, or boring holes in an engineered wood truss?

  22. Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?

  23. What are roofing purlins and battens?

  24. How can I tell if a roof has more than one layer of shingles?

  25. What is an SPF roof?

How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

   To learn more about how to recognize when it’s time to replace your roof, go to our blog: How can I tell if the house needs a new roof?

   If you want to understand the difference between an “architectural” and a regular shingle roof, see our blog: What's the difference between an "architectural" and a regular shingle roof?

    Want to know the average lifespan of different roof materials? Go to our blog: What’s the average lifespan of a roof?

  To figure out why your roof is leaking, go to our blog: Why is my roof leaking?


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

    Each roof material shows different signs of age. For shingle roofs, we check tab adhesion (how easy the front edge of each shingle flap can be pulled up) and granule loss on the surface of the shingle. The granules protect the shingle from UV-deterioration and, as they come loose and roll down into the gutter, the roof begins to age faster, with the edges starting to curl up. The photo above shows an example of shingles just beginning to curl at the front corners. Also, shingles with loose tabs will perform adequately during a normal rainstorm, but a tropical storm, hurricane, or even a severe thunderstorm, will catch the loose tabs and rip them off the roof, with water damage as a result.

   Metal roofs corrode with age, and the fasteners are the first to show rust damage. We also check for proper fastener spacing and correct lapping of the panels.

   Broken and damaged tiles, along with any improper installation, are noted at tile roofs, which are the most difficult to age by condition.

   Built-up and modified bitumen roofs are used for low-slope applications (under “2 in 12” pitch) and show signs of aging similar to shingles, along with “alligatoring” (a spreading crack pattern loosely similar the back of a gator) of the roofing tar.

   It’s an old cliché, but a good roof is the #1 protective element of your home. And a bad roof, once it starts to leak, can wreak havoc with the interior: staining, mold, and rot follow quickly. So, naturally we take roof condition seriously, and so should you.

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