What to Look for in a Roof When Buying a New Home

January 4, 2019

If you have bought a home in the past or watched any home renovation show, you already know that purchasing a house can sometimes be accompanied with unpleasant surprises and costs. When you’re buying a new home, determining the roof’s health is vital; don’t let a bad roof of a new home become a blindsiding expense!

It’s always a good idea to know what work is ahead, even if you are comfortable with buying a new home that needs fixing. Sometimes, the signs that repair is needed are obvious: mold, rot, damaged shingles, etc. But when everything seems to look fine, here are some points to keep in mind before buying a new home.

Roof Age and Maintenance

Roofs may last a long time when well-maintained, but unfortunately, they do not last forever. There are a variety of roofing materials out there that all have different lifespans:

  • Basic asphalt roof: 15-25 years
  • Architectural asphalt roof: 25-30 years
  • Metal roof: 30-50 years
  • Composite roof: 30-50 years
  • Concrete tiles: 40-75 years
  • Natural slate: 50-100 years

Material, manufacturer, and proper maintenance are all factors that contribute to the average lifespan of a roof. Getting the basic information about a roof can help you figure out what types of repairs may be needed in the future, or if you need to plan for a replacement.


Proper roof ventilation will prevent mold, wood rot, or warping on the roof. It will also reduce heating and cooling costs and extend the life of your roof shingles. A home inspector will be able to determine if the roof of your potential home is well-ventilated. If the roof does not have any or adequate ventilation, your inspector can tell you what steps are required to fix the problem.

Drainage Systems

Gutters, downspouts, and drainage pipes help to prevent water from sitting under roof shingles and damaging a home’s foundation. If the drainage system isn’t working properly, you may end up with some serious problems later on. A home that seems to be in good condition without a good drainage system could also have undetectable damage.

You may not be able to detect every roof problem during a home inspection, but try to ask the right questions to get all the information you can. Again, even if you are buying a new home with the intention of fixing it up, understanding what problems exist before purchasing will allow you to better plan ahead.

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