Does The Roof Leak?

Worn vs leaking roof

Your home’s protection from the elements starts with the roof. The roof is often overlooked as part of the home when people are selling a home. Maybe it’s because we rarely, if it all, go up on the roof. Another reason could be that roofs are seldomly thought of as consumable, however, roofs do wear out and need to be replaced in time. Different types of roofs have varying life spans. For example torch down roofs typically last 15 years, basic composition shingles are rated for 20 years, and tile roofs are generally rated 40 to 50 years. 

But It Doesn’t Leak!

Inevitably when we say a roof is worn, someone will proclaim “but it doesn’t leak!!!” 

Well, of course, it’s not leaking at the time of inspection, because it’s very rarely ever raining here in Southern California. I could drill a hole in a roof and it would not leak for months because it might not rain for months. Even if it is raining, a worn roof may not leak right away.

Worn roof
But it doesn’t leak because it’s not raining!

Wear is the potential for future leaks. The situation is most comparable to tires on a car. Just because a tire is worn and bald in areas does not mean it’s flat. It’s just a worn and bald tire has a much higher chance of becoming flat. You may be able to drive on a bald tire for months or years, or it may go flat on you in the next 5 minutes. 

There is a famous quote by business philosopher Jim Rohn that says “If it’s raining you can’t fix the roof, if it’s not raining it doesn’t need to be fixed.”

Looking For Wear

During a home inspection, the inspector is looking for signs of wear and areas of potential leaks, not active leaks themselves. Unless you are lucky enough for it to actually be raining on your inspection day. 

Regular maintenance can be done to your roof between replacements, like clearing debris from gutters and resealing any mastic around roofing penetrations. But once a roof is severely worn it’s time for it to go, rather than waiting for a leak which can cause further damage. Spotting a worn roof isn’t always obvious, so it’s important to have an inspection done by a qualified professional.

Can A Good Roof Leak? 

The hard part about making any roof waterproof is every roof has roof penetrations. Chimneys, exhaust pipes from the furnace and water heater, and usually numerous drain vent pipes all require cutting a hole in your roof structure. All of these penetrations are important for your fireplace, heating systems, and plumbing to work properly. However, each penetration is a potential source of leaks, even if the roof is in otherwise perfect condition. Going back to our tire analogy, sometimes a perfectly good-looking tire can develop subtle pinhole leaks that are not always obvious. 

Again regular maintenance is the key and making sure your roof penetrations are sealed on a regular basis to prevent future leaks. 

To book your home inspection now, call 818-298-3405 or book online here