It’s settled. You’ve found your dream home and lucky for you it’s new construction. You’re excited by the proposition of being the very first family to live in your new home. This can be a very exciting time. But don’t be so naive to assume that new homes are constructed mistake-free. A home inspection can tell you a great deal about your future home. But, did you know that a roof inspection could save you thousands?
Hopefully you have done your due diligence and hired an independent home inspector before closing. Most banks require this step, and we agree that it is critical. But, we have all heard stories or had friends that purchased a new home without an inspection, and after the warranty period ends, problems arise. A good home inspector will look out for your interests and give you piece of mind that you have made a solid purchase. I bet you even assumed they properly inspected the roof.
I’m buying new construction and I’ve already had a home inspection. I don’t need an additional roof inspection!
Think again! When it comes to your roof, I would suggest hiring a reputable roofer, in addition to the basic home inspection. You see, most home inspectors will not actually step foot on the roof, for good reason. They will put their ladder up and climb the ladder take a look at whatever they can see without actually walking on the roof. Most are not allowed to get on the roof. It’s a safety issue in their profession. And to be honest, I can’t blame them.
I bet you’re thinking, “what about the parts of the roof they can’t see from the ladder?” Now you’re starting to see why a roof inspection by an experienced roofer could save you thousands of dollars in repairs. This is even true for brand new homes! As roofers, we have extensive training, specialized equipment and daily experience at navigating roofs of any pitch. We are perfectly trained for the job. Not to mention, our insurance allows us on the roof, unlike many home inspectors.
Here are some of the most common issues we see while performing inspections on newly constructed and older homes:
- Holes left from “toe boards” were not properly sealed. Toe Board Holes – Even after the shingles have been installed and the siding is already on your home, people still need to get on the roof. Painters will often nail 2 x 4’s on top of the shingles so they can safely navigate the roof to paint the home. When they are done, they should apply caulk to the holes where the 2 x 4’s were nailed. Most of the time they don’t use the correct caulk and they don’t even apply it in the right manner. The shingles should be lifted up gently to prevent tearing and a good roofing caulk like NP1 or Geocell should be applied over the hole and under the shingle. For even more protection, a small piece of granulated ice & water shield can be applied over the holes. This is one method Roof Authority utilizes to provide additional protection. We see these leaks all the time. It is very common for homes that are 5 years old or less to suddenly start showing signs of leaks in random places. A roof inspection and a simple fix like this will prevent those leaks from occurring, and potentially save you thousands of dollars.
- Ridge Vent Ventilation – New homes are very often, inadequately ventilated (click here to learn more about roof ventilation issues). Proper roof ventilation is critical for the life of your roof and the comfort inside your home. Make sure that the intake vents under your soffit haven’t been covered with insulationl This allows the air coming in to flow efficiently. If a ridge vent has been installed, verify the decking at the top of the ridges was cut out on both sides. This allows air to escape. Additionally, be sure you actually have enough ridge to have ridge vents. Only an experienced roofer can be sure your ridge is long enough for appropriate ventilation. We often see a 3200 sq ft home that was recently built and only has a few box vents to let hot air out. Having a professional get up on the roof to make sure you have the correct ventilation system is crucial to helping your roof meet the manufacturer’s life expectancy.
- Drip edge does not extend past gutter. Drip Edge – All builders know that drip edge must be installed per building code, but most of them don’t know how it should be installed, or what kind to use. Make sure the correct profile is installed on the eaves & rakes. The correct drip edge for your rakes is not the same kind that goes on your eaves (above your gutters). Verify that the drip edge on the eaves is installed before the roofing felt and shingles are installed. On your rake edges make sure the drip edge is installed after the felt and before the shingles. Lastly be sure the gutters don’t cover the face of the drip edge. The drip edge should extend into the gutter to keep water from getting behind them. A recent roof inspection identifies the HVAC stack not shingled properly prior to a home purchase. Shingle Installation – Different types of shingles have different types of installation methods. Make sure the correct pattern, nail placement & nail quantities were used. You don’t want a strong wind blowing off the roof on your new home! If the shingles were installed improperly the manufacturer will not honor the warranty.
- Flashing – Was the proper flashing used to prevent leakage into your home? Is the flashing on the roof installed in the correct manner? Are there “kick-outs” at the bottom of walls and corner posts? These are questions that an experienced roofer will evaluate while performing a roof inspection. Flashing is designed to keep the water out of your home and on top of the shingles. Let’s make sure the flashing is doing its job.
- Penetrations – Are all the mechanical penetrations on your roof (pipe boots, HVAC stack, etc) shingled and sealed properly? You’d be surprised to know, that many times, they usually aren’t properly installed. Make absolutely sure that rain collars are installed on top of the pipe boots. You would be surprised to know how many leaks we see on new homes, due to negligence on simple things like this.
- Warranty – What does your roof warranty consist of, and where is your copy? Every shingle or metal manufacturer offers a basic warranty on their products. You should ask for a copy of that warranty in case you have any defects with the product down the road. It’s important to know who made your shingles. At the very least, a roof inspection can inform you of the condition of your shingles and identify improper installations that could have affected your roof warranty. Roof Authority offers warranties of up to 50 years (click here to learn more about Roof Authority’s unmatched 50 Year Parts & Labor warranty)! It is also a very good idea for you to know what is covered and who to contact in 10 years, should there be an issue with the product. Ever heard of Atlas Chalet (click here for a local news story)? Probably not… Google it. Once you hear this story, you may think again before purchasing a home without an inspection by an experienced roofer, such as Roof Authority.
These problems can and should be avoided. You are spending a lot of money on your new home and deserve to have your roof installed properly. Hiring a professional roofing contractor to give it a good look before you close on your home will protect your investment and give you peace of mind for many years. Did we mention it could save you thousands?
Finally, if you enjoyed this article, check out our other articles in the Knowledge Center. We have lots of great roofing information to help you better care for your home. Also, please don’t forget to share this article with your friends. Convenient buttons appear just below this post.
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