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The booming roofing industry could be doing $3.6 billion to $7.2 billion more business. Unfortunately, a lack of manpower leaves homeowners on long waiting lists.

This is something to consider if you are looking at buying a home. You should always have a roof inspection done so you know the age and condition of the roof.

Doing a home inspection before you buy can save you thousands. Follow our guide for the ultimate roof inspection checklist.

6 Questions to Ask

As part of your inspection of the roof ask the owner these six questions. This will give you a good idea of the age and condition of the roof.

  1. What type of roof is it?
  2. How old is the roof?
  3. What is the condition of the roof?
  4. Has there been any repair made recently?
  5. Are there any visible signs of leaks?
  6. Is there a warranty?

Residential Roof Inspection Checklist

There are 7 common areas for problems when looking at a roof for potential problems. Most of them involve looking for signs of aging and water damage.

1. Roofing Tiles

Look for loose, missing, or broken roofing material. The tiles that are intact should not have blistering or curl.

Curling shingles is a sign that the shingles are at the end of their life. They may be curling up at the edges or bulging up in the middle.

Look for dark spots on the tiles. This indicates that the coating is coming off of the tiles, indicating that they are old.

2. Gutters and Downspouts

Look in the gutters for the tile granules. If the gutters have a lot of roofing tile granules this is a sign of old singles.

As the granules wear away the tiles lose their strength and integrity. Tiles that have lost the majority of their protective coating should get replaced.

Look for evidence of the gutters and downspouts getting clogged. If the water can’t flow away from the home then it begins to pool.

This pooling can happen both on the roof and around the foundation of the home. Pooling water will begin to soak into places in the home causing water damage.

3. Flashing

Flashing is the metal that protects the roof from leaking. You will find it around perforations in the roof.

Pay attention to the vents, chimneys, and skylights. These are all installations that need cutting a hole in the roof.

Holes in the roof create a weak point where moisture can enter the home. Loose, corroded, or missing flashing creates an entry point for moisture.

4. Sagging

There shouldn’t be any sagging in the roof along the ridges or center of the roof. Look both on the exterior and interior for evidence of sagging.

5. Ventilation

Homes need to breathe, so check that there is proper ventilation. This is structural ventilation to keep the home regulated for moisture and temperature.

When a home is properly ventilated there will be an upward flow of cool air. The cool air flows out through the vents in the peak and eaves of the roof.

When these vents get blocked air can’t flow and condensation forms. The heat of your attic and condensation slowly rot away at the roof.

6. Soft Spots

If there are soft spots this is a sign that the roof is already damaged by water. The water has rotted the wood away to the point where it is soft.

If the spots are very wet and soft this is a sign of a current problem. If the spots are dry and very hard then there was a past problem the homeowner fixed.

7. Water Stains

Water stains on the ceiling or walls is a sign of long-term water damage. This is an issue that has gone untreated and there could be major damage behind the wall.


Check the attic for signs of water damage also. Pay attention to the area around the vents, chimneys, and other holes in the roof.

This is the most common place for leaks. Dark spots on the wood is a sign that the wood is wet.


While it isn’t always true, fresh paint could be a sign of attempting to cover up water stains. Use your judgment as to whether it was covering damage or simply refreshing the home.

Get a Professional Roofing Inspection

A professional inspector will work with you and your schedule to make the inspection process as painless as possible. Take advantage of the professional’s knowledge and experience.

They can identify any potential problems. A quality inspector will take the time to explain what they’ve found and what it will mean for you.

What’s Included

The inspector will look at both the interior and exterior of the roof. They will look at the attic to inspect the structural support of the roof.

Upon completion, you will receive a detailed report. Roof inspections reports will outline all issues and defects with pictures.

What to Do If You Find Roofing Problems

You have a couple different options when a defect is found during the roofing inspection. The first thing you can do is to ask the seller to repair or replace the roof.

If the seller doesn’t want to do this you can ask for a credit. This will let you get the roof repaired or replaced after your purchase of the home.

You could accept the deal as is and move forward without negotiating. Finally, you can walk away from the deal.

Roof Inspection Checklist Wrap Up

Start your roof inspection by asking the current owner the home a few pointed questions. This will give you a good idea of what you are working with.

Your best course of action is to hire a professional to perform a roof inspection. They will work through a roof inspection checklist to find any potential issues.

They will look at the exterior of the roof for problems with the shingles, flashing, and gutters. Inside the attic, the inspector will look for dark spots, soft spots, and sagging.

Inside the home look for signs of fresh paint in one spot. This can be a sign of covering water stains.

If you find any of the sings of a current issue you have a few options for what to do. You could ask the seller to fix the problem or give a credit for you to fix it.

You could move forward without negotiating. Finally, you could walk away from the deal.

Check out our blog for more information on home inspections.