Roof Inspection Tips – What to Look For

Roof Inspection Tips For Cement Tile Roofing - Roof Inspectors Better Catch These Problems

We're going to show you guys what they call a concrete tile roof and the kinds of things that might turn up during normal roof inspections. This particular concrete tile is an s-tile, and has like a little hump in the s-tile. It's standard weight, real heavy-duty tile, a really good tile. It can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. 

You will start getting couple leaks, there's some pretty important components of it, like at the ends you have these mortars - there can be a little bit of a crack, nothing too huge or falling off, so that's okay.

ridge tile mortar
straight rows of roof tiles

Now when you get your roof inspected, it's nice if the inspector looks and makes sure the rows are all nice and straight, like you can see that they are here. 

Something else you need to make sure of, so you know your roof is good, is the distance in these rows, from the overlapping end of one tile to the next should be no more than about 13 1/2 inches. You should have a full three inch head lap, so that way the nail head is nice and covered. When you see nice straight rows, you've probably got a pretty good, clean roof.

If you have a good roof, you should keep it that way; good and clean to maintain it in good working order.  A couple of things you want your roofer to check is these plumbing and heating flashings. 

You can see that from time to time these need to be resealed. The collar right here, that needs to be resealed. You can see somebody resealed, that they put new sealant over old sealant and it's the wrong sealant. That should be cleaned off a redone. And you can see here's another one right here.

They just didn't bother to do it right. Look at the big crack, water will get down in there. You have to to clean all the stuff off, chip it off, reseal with a polyester based sealant, and you're good.

cracked seal

See they got the mortar up underneath these ridge tiles, it looks really nice.

It is a good idea to keep this roof as inspected - you want to check some of the critical flashing areas like this chimney area. You want to make sure the previous roofers who were here didn't leave trash or debris behind it (like that tile).

tile removed and not replaced

Then make sure that they didn't leave any areas without tile. It's all going to rot out and they can't even see it from the backyard. You walk around you never even see this then bam! Big leak right there. So whoever was here last just neglected to do that. And there's the tile right there, it almost looks like they just took it out and set it right there. It looks like it's just removed from wherever it should be and put right there... Maybe job security? Don't really know.

You see the mortar again. We use mortar like you use grout to keep water from getting under areas, and that's what it looks like when it's not on there very well. So push it back in that spot, it needs just a nice little mortar ball right over this area and it makes the water go this way and that way, and not under here.

Right there, they're missing a tile too. So I mean the roof looks great, but this is just a few little things you really need detail-oriented person to go through and make sure that all this stuff is looked at.

Again, you can see some more cracked mortar, cracked tiles, more cracked tiles. See these are the low-hanging fruit - everybody's going to see those, but they miss some of these other things. It's nice if your roofer will check this for you right here - these caps, they come off. They're supposed to be on here tight, and you see that's not tight. That will just blow right off. We have to go out and do service calls for these all the time. You fix that by just putting a sheet metal screw right there and it never comes off.

Also, you get these rows of tile that they don't nail down because they don't want to put a fastener right through, up against the wall where there's a bit of flashing, and make sure they don't come loose. Every now and then they come loose, and they start sliding forward. And then when they do that, they get totally loose and a big gap. You need this resealed and reset.

That's an indication of a paint job. the sun side of your fascia always wears out. Once you get this paint starting to peel, the water starts going in and soaking into the wood and you'll have to replace it. It's very expensive to replace. Any roofer or anybody's probably going to charge you about $50 a foot to take off these tiles, break back the area, remove the paper, prime and paint this piece. Considering it's about a 20-footer, you're looking at $1,000. How much does it cost to paint it? I'd paint it if I were you. Lesson here being keep your fascia painted at all times.

fascia needs painting

These are just some of the things that if you have a really good roofer, they'll cue you in on them so you don't get stuck with these roof problems.

See again the fascia really needs to be painted. That row of tile is probably loose right up underneath here. Little details show that you need that fixed all the way down.

We work on these roofs all the time. All we do is fix these concrete s tile roofs, flat tile roofs, clay tile roofs. If you want it done right, we'll make sure we check everything and get it fixed

More Roof Inspection Tips


hey I'm Andy Christie's safe homes Canada home inspections were a civil engineering based home inspection company in central Ontario we inspect houses for people usually people buying houses if you're hiring a home inspector you want to ask them some questions before you hire them number one ask them how they inspect a roof if they don't say that minimally they put a ladder up on every side of a roof so they can very carefully examine everything don't hire them find someone who's committed to the athletic the athletic job of actually dragging a big ladder around a house no matter how tall small every house middle of winter they need to work hard to see the roof the most common problem a truce these days in Ontario involves the misuse of nail guns quite often actually every single week we find roofs we inspect roofs that have been reshingled or at new houses that have been recently shingled where nails are not fully sunk this garage includes a number of locations where the nails are not fully sunk it's pretty easy to spot but you actually have to be down at the end of the roof looking up to get a good picture of it to really understand what's going on if you see cavities if you see these little dark cavities under the shingles you can just put your finger under there and feel the top of the nail head lots of people pay roofers a lot of money thousands of dollars they come they use nail guns they rush through the job nails aren't fully sunk eventually quite often the nail heads create penetration points in the shingles and obviously might lead to premature failure the shingo and roof leakage it's something that people need to know about and if again if you're hiring an inspector you want an inspector who's going to get up on every side of the house and carefully look at the shingles from below that's the job the job is not standing on the ground with a clipboard in your hand making excuses that there's too much snow you can't see the shingles even in the middle of winter you can always see something and frankly if I'm paying a home inspector money hundreds of dollars I want them to at least make an effort to get up on the side of the house sure ladder out hustle a bet show some dedication to the process Andy Christy safe homes Canada see you soon you

Don't wait to learn that you have a roof leak by finding water on your floor - request that a professional roof inspector, who knows roofs backward and forward and understands how insurance coverage works, come and access your roof and help prevent future damage before it's too late. Call around and you may even be able to find a local roofing business that is willing to provide a free quote to check the health of your roof adn look for needed repairs. Once things are in order, it's a good idea to regularly have your home checked for potential issues through routine inspecting. In every community you'll find professionals more than happy to go up and check the condition of your roof, report back and fix any problems before they turn into a major roof repair project and a potential safety hazzard to your home and family.