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

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

   To learn about how an inspector evaluates a roof, check out our blog: What do you look for when you inspect a roof?

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  To read about issues related to homes of an specific era or type of house, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  4. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  5. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  7. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

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

  9. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

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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.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

  1. Bullet Curling - Look up the slope of the roof from the ground, and search for shingle edges that are beginning to curl upward, another sign of advanced age.

  2. Bullet Cracked, Damaged, and Missing Shingles - As shingles age, they get brittle, are easily damaged, and begin to break loose in places.

  3. Bullet Loss of Tab Adhesion - If you feel comfortable putting a ladder up to the edge of the roof, try lifting the front edge of a few shingle tabs you can easily reach, a couple of rows back from the edge. They should be impossible or difficult to pull up, and make a ripping sound if you can pull one up. If they are effortless to lift, and make no noise at all--well, that’s not good. It means that the shingles are susceptible to being blown off in a windstorm.

  4. Bullet Deteriorated Flashings - Any roofer will tell you: most roof leaks occur at flashings. They are the most difficult part of a roof job to do correctly and, when they start to rust and come loose, big-problem leaks follow. Look at the edges of the roof and at roof penetrations--like skylights, chimneys, and plumbing vent pipes--for any signs of damage or deterioration.

   As part of your home inspection, we will walk your roof, where practical, and take photos of it’s condition. You will get our estimate of the age of the roof, it’s condition and estimated additional life (based on average lifespan). Also, we scan the ceiling with an infra-red camera looking for moisture accumulation from a roof leak that might not be visible as a stain yet.

   After you move in, we recommend that you eyeball the roof at least once a year from the ground while walking around all sides. As an alternative, many local roofing contractors will do a scheduled regular roof-check every year or two, along with minor upkeep maintenance, such as removing leaf debris or branches near the roof, or replacing a few damaged shingles, at a reasonable cost.

 

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