Buying a new home can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Don't let the excitement rush the process. Your roof protects 98% of what's inside your new home. You don't want to overlook a roof inspection before buying a home and find out a year or two later there was evidence of major roof issues at the time of your home purchase.
As we all know the Wichita, Ks housing market has been booming for the last few years and isn't expected to slow down anytime soon. I have been called too many times to fix roof leaks within a year or two of people buying their home. We are going to go over some tips and what to look for in a roof report to help separate fact from fiction in the roofing industry.
Tip #1 - What Shingle is on your roof?
The first step in a proper roof inspection is determining what the roofing material is. In the Wichita market, most high-end roofs will have concrete tile, clay tile, Davinci Roofscape tile, or shake, and we still see a fair amount of wood shakes on homes. There have also been a lot of synthetic products installed over the last 20 years that are now discontinued and are getting harder and harder to find for future repair issues.
Tip #2 - It's what you can't see that counts
Outside of workmanship and installation techniques, the materials used under the shingles play a huge role in the life of your new roof and keeping moisture from getting inside your new home.
Determining what type of underlayment is on a high-end roof is crucial. There are 4 types of underlayments used today. Tar paper in a 15lb and 30lb, synthetic underlayment, ice and water, and high temp peel and stick underlayment. Different roofs perform better with different underlayments. An asphalt shingle roof with 30lb felt or synthetic felt is fine and will complement the roof well. Water typically doesn't run under asphalt roofs and on top of the underlayment very often. Davinci and Tile roofs perform much better with a high temp peel and stick underlayment. The goal of the underlayment should be to match the life expectancy of the shingle.
Time and time again we see roofers using the wrong underlayment for the wrong application during roof inspections. Roofers will use a synthetic underlayment on Davinci and Tile roofs to save money, but the difference can be a roof that lasts 12-15 years before problems start to a roof that should last 40 to 50 years with a high temp peel and stick underlayment. I always say the roof material is what gives the roof the look and color you want, but the underlayment and workmanship are what keep the water away.
Tip #3 - Roof Flashings and metal accessories
There are so many different gauges of metal from 24, 25, 27, 29 gauge metal that is used for different roofing applications. If you are purchasing a high-end home and the roof has Davinci or a Tile roof you want to make sure the metal is of equal quality. A 24 gauge metal will last much longer than a 27 or 29 gauge metal. Most roof leaks will start in a valley, chimney, or pipe flashing. It is important to have high water areas checked out and make sure they are installed properly, with the proper materials and flashing.
"We've seen a trend in the roofing industry to use a drone to inspect roofs. They fly the drone around to see if there are any broken tile or missing shingles, then don't get on the roof for any further evaluation"
Tip #4 -You have to get on the roof to inspect it!
There are so many different factors that go into the longevity of a roof. Flying a drone around to look for broken tile and missing shingles is just one small factor of a roof inspection. It is very difficult to see hail damage from a drone, you can't see workmanship issues, you can't determine if chimney flashings are installed properly, and you can't see the underlayment. This is a red flag if you get a roof report and you only see drone pictures of your new property or roof.
Don't Let Your Dream Home Turn into a Nightmare
There are a lot of great realtors, roofers, and home inspectors in the Wichita area to help you navigate your new home purchase. These are some general tips to help navigate your roof inspection when buying a new home. Not every roofer has the knowledge or firsthand experience dealing with high-end roofers like Davinci, Tile, and Wood shakes. The best material and underlayment are still no substitute for experience and proper installation.