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

Transcript

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.

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inspecting an asphalt shingle roof in Tucson

When To Replace Asphalt Shingle Roof

Today we're going to look at the process of looking at a newly installed asphalt shingle roof inspection for proper manufacturers installation instructions. We'll look at what a roof inspector might look for and find, as well as some typical mistakes that are often made when asphalt roofs are installed.

The edge of the roof where the water runs off is called a drip edge. A drip edge typically there's two or three problems with a new installation. One would be the starter course. The starter course is the course of shingles laid down first as a roof installation is put together. On top of that goes the first course, so well you typically see on the drip edge is the first course. The starter courses is actually just below it.

So what's supposed to happen with this kind of roofing system, if the starter course is put down correctly, is that the first course actually adheres to it. The typical case of a starter course not installed correctly is obvious when there's no adhesion of one to the other. The drip edge courses end up not being bound together like the rest of the courses will be.

The other issue is the felt underneath the shingles has no drip edge flashing. The flashing is a metal strip that basically just protects the piece of drip edge molding from water damage over time.

Some of the penetrations on a rooftop or other points of contingency when it comes to new installation, one thing that needs to be looked at is where the flashing is located. What I mean by flashing is basically that you first have "the boot", which is the piece that the items penetrate through, then you have a piece of flashing that are usually nailed down, or stapled. In this case they've sealed over a nail head which is perfect. Over time those tend to leak.

well sealed nail holding metal flashing to rooftop

Same thing on furnace vents and water heater vents. We have what's called a storm collar, which basically protects the boot, or the piece below where the vent pipe penetrates through the roof. The storm collar should always be low over the joint and sealed. With a furnace vent, it's same thing; making sure all the nail heads are sealed, and the storm collar is down tight as well.

Now chimneys are probably the one penetration in a roof that are known to leak the most. Something that often is found missing is the cricket. Crickets are required for building code on any chimney that is 30 inches wide or greater. In many cases you'll see that you have a lot of surface area that is above the chimney, up to the ridge, where all the water is going to collect and divert down on top of this area. So a cricket is basically a piece of sheet metal, in most cases, or sometimes a constructed roof, and it diverts the water around the chimney to prevent it from blocking up. It also prevents debris from blocking up behind the chimney, which can cause damage. Another name for a cricket is also a saddle. No matter what you call it, the flashing on these should be nailed down and the nail heads should be sealed up.

The area of the roof where the water does not roll off is called a rake edge. Flashings are recommended, and drip edge flashings, like we discussed earlier, are required.

One of the most susceptible areas for water damage on a chimney is going to be the bottom corners. It's very likely to find some water damage, and you want to be sure that if there is damage, it hasn't just been shingled over and not repaired. In a lot of cases the guys that put these roofs on are in a hurry. They've got more jobs to do and the faster they can get this roof on, the lower the labor cost. The problem is, if you install the shingles in a way that exposes any type of nail head, this becomes a leak point. It usually doesn't happen right away, but it can happen very quickly, depending on how the roof wears. Generally you will have water penetration at an exposed nail head maybe 10 to 12 years down the road.

What you should be looking for is to make sure there are no nail heads exposed around any shingles. Each section of shingles is called a tab. Another very important thing to look at is the way that the tabs are the shingles are fastened. You do that by just lifting up some of the new ones. As as the roof begins to get hot from the sun, the adhesive strip along the edge is going to glue down one tab and make it pretty hard to get up without damaging it. So looking at a roof on a cool day, or looking at a roof right after the installation is the best time.

The edge where the two shingles come together are supposed to be three-quarters over from the edge generally speaking. Something to look out for where these meet is how deep the nails has been driven into the roof. The problem if they get driven in too deep is that if a high wind were to get underneath it, very little of that nail head is left to be compressing down on the shingle, and the shingle can actually incur some damage. So by driving the nail head too deep, there's the possibility of the shingle lifting off and away from the nail more easily, causing damage.

So as you go up looking at how the shingles have been nailed down, you're going to want to look for consistent patterns as well as distances from the butt edge. Also, look for nails that might have been driven at an angle. It's the same issue as before if the wind gets underneath the tab and lifts it, especially if the angle is pointing over toward the point of the shingle, then we do tend to have more wind loss. So checking these some areas at random is the best way to determine whether or not the roofer did a good job.

Something else to be aware of is that it's not unusual to have a couple of different guys on site from the company doing a roofing job. So you might have one guy using nails and the other guy using staples. It's the same issue with the staples - if you have the staple at a bad angle, it can be a problem because as the shingle comes up under the wind, if the staple is at an angle, it can actually tear across the shingle and it could come off real easy. To be right, inspect to make sure the staple should be parallel with this edge of the shingle going across. So we should see those running straight horizontally only. But again, these guys are often in a hurry and the idea is to get out of here as fast as they can without asking any questions, so they can get on to the next one. And often they're not standing in a perfect location that allows them to hit these things straight, because of their wrist angle.

With a plumbing vent, you might see a hybrid rubber / metal flashing for the boot. In hot, sunny areas like Arizona, these aren't the best way to go because they take on an enormous amount of UV radiation from the sun. Anything made of rubber like this is going to really get beat up by the sun. It'll probably last the 20 years the shingles are supposed to last, but it wouldn't be unusual to see them fail prematurely. Also the plumbing vent is supposed to be painted with the latex paint to prevent UV damage as well.

new rubber boot for roof penetration
sun damaged rubber roof penetration boot

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. Roof inspections today can save you a mountain of grief and work tomorrow.


Call around and you may even be able to find a local roofing business with inspectors who are willing to provide a free quote to check the health of your roof and look for needed repairs. Once things are in order, it's a good idea to regularly have your house 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 hazard to your home and family.

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top of a tile roof being inspected

Do You Need Your Roof Inspected?

Making sure that the roof over your head is solid and leak free is important. Getting a residential roof inspection by a professional inspector or licensed roofing contractor will ensure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises with your roof not doing its job.

While many people get their roof inspected after severe weather such as high winds or hail storms, if your roof is more than 5 years old and hasn’t been inspected, it’s something that would be a wise preventative measure for you to take.  

It is generally recommended that a roof be inspected in the fall, before winter weather hits and may make necessary repairs difficult if not impossible.  Obviously that’s not the case here in Tucson and southern Arizona!  However, taking seasonal weather into consideration, having your roof inspected before the monsoon season rolls in would be wise.  

With the powerful winds, driving rain and occasional microburst of extremely damaging weather, weaknesses in your roof could be exposed in an unpleasant way. And similar to snow and ice, monsoon weather can make getting a roof repair done tricky.  Better safe than sorry and know if and what needs to be done to get your roof in top condition before you have problems.

If you never had your roof inspected, you might have some questions about the process.  Here are some of the more commonly asked questions and the answers.

What is looked at during a roofing inspection?

A professional roofer or home inspector will be looking for different things, depending on what kind of roofing material is on your home, but there are some common things that apply to all roofs, such as:

  • Signs of water damage - if you have a flat roof, they will look for areas of ponding, or standing water that will deteriorate the roof at an accelerated rate. Other roofs that show sagging or otherwise uneven roof planes may be signs of problems, so they’ll be looking for that as well as the overall condition of the soffit, fascia and gutter system.  Damaged or poorly installed flashing or clogged gutters can also lead to water damage, as would lifted or otherwise displaced shingles or tiles where water could get underneath.
  • Deteriorating shingles - shingles may still be in place, but may have curled or simply deteriorated over time, losing their effectiveness.  If your gutters or roof valleys are filled with shingle granules, that’s a sign that they need to be replaced.  The granules need to be in place to help weigh the shingles down and to protect the asphalt material from the damaging UV rays of the sun.
  • Damaged flashing - as mentioned above, cracked, separating or otherwise improperly installed flashing or missing fasteners will create a situation that can, and eventually will, allow water to get past it, leading to roof deterioration.  
  • Roof protrusions - where vents, skylights and other protrusions come through your roof, there should be a good, solid seal.  Sealing materials and different kinds of roof coatings will degrade over time causing vulnerabilities to water leaks. 

Warning Signs that a Roof Inspection is Needed

How do you know if you need a professional roof inspection?  Beyond the previously mentioned fact that any roof over 5 years old should get checked out just to make sure there’s no problems developing, there are some clear signs that something has already happened and you need a pro to come determine precisely what it is and what it will take to get it fixed.

If you see any signs of leaks, whether it’s actual puddles of waters on the floor or stains on the walls or ceilings, or perhaps ‘bubbling’ of paint, you need to have your roof checked out by a competent roofer. 

Of course any kind of new drafts that can’t be pinpointed to a faulty window or door seal may indicate a bigger problem with the roof.  If the problem is there, the sooner you find and address it, the better (and less expensive) it will be for you before the corrosion sets in.  One thing that is certain with roof problems - if left alone, they will get worse over time.

Other benefits of having your roof inspected

If you’re putting your house on the market to sell any time soon, having a roof inspection in advance and in addition to a general home inspection, is advisable.  Finding and fixing any potential issues before a prospective buyer uses a small issue to try to leverage the price down further than necessary will help you.  And because most lenders require a roof inspection before they will agree to lend on a home, and your buyers will need to get home insurance to keep the property insured, you’re getting out in front of things rather than potentially being hit with a bad surprise just as you think you’re getting ready to close on the deal.

Furthermore, if you find that you needed a new roof, the sooner the better.  If you neglect the small problem, putting of the ‘big expense’ of a new roof, the cost will certainly go up as the damage to the roof gets worse over time.  So sooner is better than later whether it’s a small issue that can be fixed quickly, or an issue that requires an entire roof replacement, it’s better to know and act as soon as possible.

One thing worth noting; according to the National Association of REALTORS® report entitled, “Remodeling Impact Report”, homeowners recovered 109% of the cost of a new roof when they sold their home.  While we’re not sure of all the different ‘projects’ that were included in the report, we do know that a new roof was the only one that returned more than the initial investment.  That’s a far better situation than getting nickel-and-dimed to death due to a small, previously unknown roofing issue, or having a deal fall through altogether.  

In the same report, homeowners who got a new roof and stayed in the home reported that their “Joy Score” - a measure of how happy or satisfied they were with their remodeling project - was a 9.2 out of 10 (with 10 being the most satisfied and 1 the least).

How to Perform a Roof Inspection According to the InterNACHI® SOP

Transcript

According to the InterNACHI home inspection standards of practice, the inspectors shall inspect from the ground level or the eaves, the roof covering materials, the gutters and downspouts, vents, flashing, skylights, chimney and other roof penetrations; and the general structure of the roof. The inspectors shall describe the type of roof covering materials, and shall report, as in need of correction, any observed indications of active roof leaks. The inspector is not required to walk upon any roof surface.

In this example, we're gonna inspect this 1971 ranch house today. We're gonna use the InterNACHI standards of practice. Remember this is a visual inspection, so we're gonna focus on the sops. The sops say we start with the roof, so we have our ladder set up, let's get started.

Remember we are required to inspect the roof but we're not required to walk it. We are required to say what type of roofing material it is, and observe either from the ground, from the ladder, or roof edge, binoculars etc. When it's safe we like to walk them, because it's really hard to see the penetrations the sidewall flashings etc, with either a drone or a camera on a stick, or just binoculars. So nothing really beats walking it but inspector safety really takes priority over everything. So when you are walking a roof climbing a ladder, remember your three-point connection always have a hand on the ladder. Don't carry things extra. When we're here, we can check and see how many layers etc we have and our flashings. We want three rungs above the ladder, so when we get off we can hang on. Let's inspect the roof. Okay as we get on the roof we are required say what type of roofing material, (this is asphalt composition shingles), we're required to look at the venting, we're required to look at the visible flashings, things like that. Okay we have a drip edge flash. Right here is where we could look and see how many layers of shingles, very easily. This is a step flashing or a sidewall flashing. They're supposed to terminate within three-quarters of an inch of the bottom of the shingle, because we have nails. So this one's a little high, there's one up here that's a little high. So my report would say a few of the step sidewall flashings were installed improperly.

We want to see that it sheds the water to right here and we want to shed it after the nail, not on top. So that one right there is a little bit off. We do have a counter flashing, a lot of jurisdictions won't require that because of the overhang here, but it's still a great idea.

The singles themselves looking pretty good shape. You know we're gonna walk around the roof fill it for low spots, looks like we might have a little hail damage. Here we have our nail heads we want to make sure that they're all caulked. A single nail head that's not caulked will fail a roof. So coming on the back side again, here we have some hail. There's a hail hit, look at her out I can see a hail hit, hail hit... So the roof does have some hail damage over here. It's probably enough that if somebody argued they could get a hail claim on the roof, it would definitely be considered cosmetic, but I would at least point out the hail damage to my clients because if their insurance company comes up and they count eight to ten hits and a ten by ten or a square, they can refuse coverage on the roof. So definitely would want it noted that there is hail damage on this roof.

We're required to inspect the gutters we can see right here without having to get too close that there's a lot of leaves in the gutters. It's fall, the gutters need to be cleaned. Let's step off the dried roof onto the main roof. Talking about these turtle vents or ridge vents - we want to see them at the very peak. Code says that you're required to have if there's no vapor barrier in the attic a square foot of venting for every 150 square foot of attic. If there's a vapor barrier, we're only required to have one square foot for every 300. Now you won't know if it's right or wrong till you go in the attic and you see if there's a vapor barrier on the insulation or not. However in colorado we almost never see a vapor barrier, so we pretty much always use the one in 150 rule. If you go to some southern areas they always use a vapor barrier, so they will use the one in 300 rules. So home inspections are location, location, location, just like real estate, so those are things you're gonna have to kind of learn what what works in your neighborhood.

Now our flue. The flue and bathroom vent, we should have what's called a storm collar. There should be a little sheet metal almost like a hat sitting on it to shed the water around this. Right now they're relying on the caulking. When the caulking fails, it would be able to get water down that, so I didn't want to have a note that the storm collars were missing. Never ever walk backwards on a roof, you'll notice I walk sideways, don't do this you might get to the edge and not be thinking about it and go off.

You're required to have one roof vent. You're not required to have two or three. A lot of houses have multiples. In the mountain sometimes we see houses with no roof vents because the ice and snow will rip them off, so they put air admittance valves in the attic. The jurisdictions allows it that's where we're not code inspectors because for every code a jurisdiction can overrule it because something doesn't work in their area. So here's our main stack. In this particular situation it's a soil stack, so our toilets all dump into this. So this goes straight out to the street. So we want to look at the rubber flashing, is it in good shape, is it cracked, is it deteriorated, did they the nails down here? That all looks okay.

Again we have leaves in the in the gutters. Here if you look really closely, you can see red chalk line. That tells you this rust probably less than five years old, maybe even less than that. Colorado is one of the leading hale states in the nation so it's not unusual for us to see a brand new roof with hail damage. It just takes out one storm. But a lot of roofers will snap a line so that ridge shingles so they make them nice and straight.

So again coming to this side, you know we're basically looking at the same thing, does the roof wave, is it nice and flat this roof actually looks really, really good except for a little bit of cosmetic hail damage. So all we had for flashings really are on the outside there any of these sidewall flashings, it's safer for us to look from the ground up than it is to reach over and do this, so we kind of want to keep our distance away from that edge. It's not the safest place to walk.

Right here we were talking about how flat it is, I can see a little bit of a crown right here, and one right there, probably have a little bit of moisture damage on this side of the sheathing so we have a little bit of scalloping. We're in the attic we'll look and see how bad that looks. It doesn't look too excessive to me, but we might find at some point this house had ice damming, because all of those soffit vents that I saw have been added. They weren't there originally. So somebody may have been doing that to get rid of this problem.

Why don't we complete the roof inspection we'll go down we'll start the exterior. The exterior also looks at the soffits and fascia which is part of the real structure, but we put that in the exterior just because it makes a little more sense to do that from down below. So now we're done with 3.1 roofing.

Having a solid roof over your head, and knowing that it's solid, are important aspects of being a happy home owner.  So take care of your roof and have it inspected on a regularly.

When it comes to roof inspections, the money you pay compared to the work and money you'll save on needing a complete roof replacement makes for an easy choice. Whether you decide to schedule a maintenance plan where a company will provide regular, complete service inspections to your roof is up to you. But it's a major point to understand that having a professional inspect your roof today, whether by climbing up and getting their hands dirty or using a drone with a camera, rather than waiting for some big storm to call your insurance company to learn what kind of estimate they'll offer you can take a lot of future stress out of your life. Don't wait to see a roof leak showing up on the interior of your home's ceiling - let a professional roof inspector with certification access your roof and prevent future damage before it's too late.

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