If you are buying a house, one of the things you need to request is for the roof of the property you are buying to be certified. Roof certification is given by a roofing contractor. A roof certification is used to show the life expectancy of the roof of any given building. Before a contractor issues a roof certification, he/she must first inspect the roof of the house. This paper will explain to you what a roof inspection entails and the factors that are considered during a roof inspection.

What is a Roof Inspection?

Roof inspections involve an analysis of:

  • Possible roof movement
  • Condition of the roofing materials
  • Drip edges, caps and ridges
  • Soundness of gutters, downspouts and drains
  • Flashing around chimneys, roof pipes, vents and valleys
  • The mounting of air conditioning units

If the roof of a house requires repairs, the roofing contractor will issue certification after the repairs have been done. If the house has a metal roof, then a metal roofing contractor will be hired. However, if the roof does not need any repairs, the contractor will give an estimate of the roof's life expectancy and issue a certification. The certification is valid for 2-5 years.

Factors that Influence Roof Inspections

Type of Roof

The main roofing materials are:

  • Metal/Steel
  • Shingles
  • Wood
  • Clay/Concrete Tiles
  • Synthetic

Age of the Roof

Metal roofs can last for more than 40 years whereas shingle roofs have a warranty of 20-50 years depending on the quality of the shingles. Wood on the other hand can last for up to 30 years. Slate and clay can last for over 100 years.

Roof Pitch

The pitch of a roof is the measurement of its steepness. A steep roof has a high pitch. Many roofing contractors charge more to work on roofs that have a high pitch. This is because roofs with a high pitch require inspectors to be extra cautious to avoid falling or slipping. Roofers use boards attached on the roof's decking when working on high pitched roofs. Steep roofs are more expensive and take more time to install since boards need to be attached and later removed as the roofer is working. The pitch of a roof determines water drainage and the type of roofing materials that are used. A contractor will want to make sure water drainage is okay and that the appropriate roofing materials are installed. For example, asphalt shingles are installed on roofs that have a pitch of 2:12 or greater.

Number of Layers

The more layers a roof has, the more protection it offers a building/house. Some jurisdictions limit the number of roof layers that a house should have. For example, in many places 2 layers of shingles are enough, but in areas with strong winds or heavy rain, 3 layers may be required.

Past Roof Repairs

In many jurisdictions, sellers are required to disclose past roof repairs to get roof certification. Seller disclosure regarding roof repairs is important because a roofing contractor will inspect whether the repairs were conducted correctly and if they are likely to cause problems in the future.