Many homeowners are eager to get their roof inspected when they book with us.
The roof can be an area of concern when buying a house, as you generally cannot make a good visual assessment of the entire roof from ground level. Building and pest inspectors are limited as to how much of the roof they can inspect.
Prior to booking a building inspection, you need to be aware of exactly what parts of the roof are and aren’t inspected.
In this blog, we explain the limitations of a building inspection and the various issues that can be found in roof areas.
The limitations of a building and pest inspection and your roof
When conducting a building inspection, there are limitations as to what can be inspected.
Firstly, safety must be considered. As such your roof will only be inspected if it is safe to do so.
For instance, an inspection of the internal roof cavity will depend on the dimensions of the manhole and roof cavity.
The manhole must be 400mm x 500mm to be considered safe for an inspector to enter.
Similarly, the crawl space must be 600mm x 600mm for it to be safe to inspect.
In addition, the inspector will not enter a roof cavity unless it is safe to do so. Hazards such as foil installation will prohibit a physical inspection of the area.
For the external roof, the inspector is also limited by the height of the roof. An inspector can conduct a visual inspection from a 3.6m ladder if it is safe for them to do so.
Likewise, an inspector cannot climb onto a roof. This is for their own safety as well as the possibility that it could do damage to your roof.
If closer investigation of the external roof is required, you should engage a company specialising in this service that has the equipment to perform the inspection safely.
Common issues with roofs
Metal roof cladding
Metal cladding is commonly used as a form of roof exterior.
However, metal roof cladding comes with its own set of problems that can be found during a building inspection.
These problems often include loose panels and rattling noises.
Rust and corrosion
During a building inspection, any rust found on your roof exterior, soffit, interior or anywhere else will be noted in the report.
Rust can come from many different places.
Metal roof cladding is designed to resist rust, which is brought about by exposure to moisture.
Damage such as scratches can expose the more vulnerable core of the metal to moisture, leading to rust and corrosion.
Similarly, if the metal cladding is designed using incompatible metals, galvanic corrosion will take place.
For example, if a roof is made with steel and aluminum it will quickly rust.
Using the wrong type of roof sheeting for roof pitch
Particular types of roof cladding can be completely wrong for roofs of a certain pitch.
For example, having corrugated iron on a low-pitched house is a bad idea. This is because of the dips found in corrugated iron, called valleys.
During heavy rainfall, these valleys overflow with water and pour into the gaps between adjacent roof sheets.
It trickles over the edge of the roof sheet and into the roof cavity. This can result in leaks, mould and other moisture damage occurring.
Tiles are a popular form of roof exterior. Roof tiles have different problems that your building inspector will look out for, compared to metal roof cladding.
Common problems for tiled roofs include warped, cracked or loose tiles.
Over time, the tiles that make up your roof will age and deteriorate over time.
Furthermore, they can become damaged due to exposure to the elements, protruding nails and people walking on your roof.
Damage such as cracks can cause water to leak into the roof cavity.
Tiles can also be knocked loose by animals or severe storms.
Inspecting gutters is a regular part of a building inspection.
The main thing an inspector will look out for is if there is damage to the gutters or if they are clogged by debris.
If your gutter is damaged or clogged, water can spill onto your property and seep into the foundation, causing structural issues long term.
Similarly, debris in your gutters also creates a fire hazard.
A building inspector will let you know if these problems exist and will refer you to someone who can fix them.
Looking after your roof following the building inspection
After your building inspection is completed, you will receive a detailed report with photo evidence of any issues found by the inspector.
The defects in your home will be considered either minor or major.
The report will also have recommendations listed. For example, an issue found in your roof will come with a comment such as “Maintenance by a licensed roofing contractor is recommended”.