What to Look for in a Roof When Buying a House

What to Look for in a Roof When Buying a House

Purchasing a home is an incredibly exciting experience, congratulations! We know there are a ton of things you’re looking for in your new home, and adding to the list can sound stressful, but hear us out. Pay attention to the roofs of the homes you are viewing. A sturdy roof is crucial because let’s not beat around the bush, roofs are expensive! What should you look for in a roof when buying a house? We’ve got you covered, so keep reading for some factors to consider.

Roof’s Age

One of the first things you’ll want to note when looking at a home’s roof is age. There are a couple of things that give away a roof’s age that you can look for, so stand back and take a look at the following:

  1. Mold. Is the roof laying flat, or do you notice bulges? Bulges can be a sign that mold is silently lurking beneath the surface.
  2. Missing shingles. Shingles are one of the most important elements that protect your roof and home. If you notice missing shingles, there are two very likely possibilities: The roof recently experienced storm damage, or it’s getting old and worn out, so be sure to inquire about the reasoning behind the deformities.

Another thing to consider is how certain types of roofs last longer than others. Is it a roof made from metal, tin, composite, or cedar? Each material requires different levels of care and has a unique lifespan. Certain materials will require frequent inspections and care, so that’s something to consider when purchasing a home. 


Lucky you, you’ve found a house with a brand new roof! Nothing to worry about right? Well…don’t jump the gun. Just because the roof is new, doesn’t mean it has the proper ventilation. It’s important to ask about the ventilation mechanism to ensure that air and sunlight are able to come through as intended. 

Without sunshine and air, you could run into a myriad of problems like the formation of mold. More on that later.

Drainage Pipes

If you’re able, hire an expert to take a look at the roof’s gutters and drainage pipes to make sure everything is in working order. You do NOT want a roof that doesn’t drain water properly. 

Pro tip: While your expert of choice examines the gutter, have him take a look at the shingles to make sure they have the proper coating. They should be small grains that offer protection from the sun.


This seems obvious, but if you noticed anything leaking from the roof you’re looking at, try to get that taken care of prior to purchase. Otherwise, you may be dealing with damaged floors, paint, and furniture. A professional will need to determine the source of the leak because it’s not always as black and white as you think. Most leaks occur in plumbing vents or chimneys, and often reveal themselves after a rainstorm. 


As previously mentioned, mold typically shows itself by warping the roof and changing its flat design. Mold should be addressed as soon as possible because a moldy roof can affect the inside walls, causing health and structural issues, and a smelly home. No one wants that! 

The source of mold is usually from water intrusion, so if you notice any large gaps in the roof, it’s best to have someone examine it to make sure there isn’t any mold hiding.


If you notice water draining right onto the ground, that’s a pretty good sign that the downspouts aren’t doing their job. All water from downpipes should release into stormwater wells. If you notice water gathering, that could mean the wells need a good cleaning or to be resized, which can cost you lots of money.


Walking on top of an older roof can be dangerous due to weakened beams and boards from long-term weather exposure and decay from moisture. If it’s possible, hire a professional inspector who can get up on top of the roof safely and look for any structural problems that might need attention before closing on the property. 

Man in blue shirt and hat on a ladder drilling screws into metal roof.

Flashings & Sealants 

Flashing is used around chimneys and other areas where two different building materials meet in order to reinforce them against water damage and seal them from air leaks which could lead to significant energy losses over time if left unchecked. Make sure these are all present around any area where flashings are typically found (such as around skylights) so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises after closing day! 

Ridgeline can Help

The professionals at Ridgeline know how important a good roof is when it comes to purchasing a home. If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call at (256) 325-1345 and visit our website for more information about our services.

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