David Valley's Real Estate/Home Inspection Blog


Bad roofs kill R/E deals...Let me assist you in maintaining your roof.

Roof Maintenance


The roof over your head is one of the most important components of your home and I'm going to tell you how to keep it in great condition. You want to protect your lifetime investment without spending a lot of money and waiting until thousands of dollars worth of damage occur to the interior because of a roof leak. Simply place a couple hundred dollars into your annual home maintenance budget for a roofing contractor to inspect your roof on a yearly basis. Every October when you set your clocks back (or any other easily remembered day in the Fall, but definitely before the winter season), pay a qualified roofing contractor to come out and examine your roof and give it the A-OK (some roofing contractors may also provide warranties against leaks for a year or two). Now you should make it through the winter season with no problems. And a couple of hundred dollars or so in preventive maintenance for the roof is much better than waiting until it leaks and going through the anguish of a major roof leak, damage to the structure interior and furniture, and possible damage to your books, pictures, photographs, and other priceless memento's of you and your family.

Your roof covering will last a long time in our New England climate if you'll do three things: make sure your attic has (1) adequate ventilation (e.g., any combination of gable, soffit, ridge, drip edge, turbine, roof vents; and attic fans), (2) adequate insulation, and (3) give a roofing contractor a couple of hundred dollars or so each year, or toward the end of whatever warranty period the roofing contractor provides you, to inspect your roof and flashings.



Clean all debris from the surface of the roof. This includes debris that has gathered behind HVAC units, pipes, chimneys and any other roof penetrations. Debris has a tendency to hold water, and water will expedite roof deterioration, especially if your roof is asphalt based such as a built-up roof or asphalt shingles.

Keep moss, algae and black stains off your roof surface. If your roof is starting to collect spots of moss or black algae and fungus lines, simply install zinc strips along the hips and ridges of your roof. The natural action of rain water time-releases zinc carbonate (a proven fungi-stat) which then washes down the roof shingles, preventing any destructive roof moss, algae and fungus growth.

Check all flashing's and make sure that they are not deteriorated and there are no holes or openings in them.

Dab some roof cement under any loose or lifting shingle tabs. One dab on either side should do.

Replace any damaged shingles.

Keep all gutters free of debris. Make sure that the downspouts are draining properly by water testing them and checking flow and observe all seams for leakage.

Trim back any overhanging tree branches from the roof area.

Check all caulking and sealants. Scrape and remove any caulking that is weather cracked and damaged. Clean the area thoroughly. Use a wire brush if necessary. Reapply polyurethane caulking such Vulkem, NP-1, or equivalent.

Check the mortar on chimneys and parapet walls, both in between the brick and on top. If it's damaged or deteriorated, have it tuck-pointed. Any mason can perform this work.


Comment balloon 4 commentsDavid Valley • November 05 2008 08:57AM


Hay great post good info on roof maintenance.

Posted by Frank Torre (Torre Inspection Service, LLC 888-202-8869) about 12 years ago

Thank you, Frank.

I see too many deals fall apart due to roof repairs/replacement. Neither the Buyer or Seller want to repair an expensive roof so they fail to come to terms on the closing and the deal falls apart.

If a roof is maintained properly over time, it will last longer and look better for everyone involved in a Real Estate transaction.

Posted by David Valley, Massachusetts Home Inspections (Massachusetts Home Inspections) about 12 years ago

These are great tips, David.  New England is not the only place where this information is important.  Those of us in Northern California where there are cold, damp and wet winters and we have lots of trees around our homes and filling our gutters, need to take good care of our roofs if we expect them to last in good condition.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) about 12 years ago

Yes Susan. You'd be surprised how many homeowners do not even bother to maintain their roof covering while living in their home. It may be a height issue with many homeowners, but they should at least consider hiring a roofing professional to maintain the roof for them.

Once a roof is neglected and starts leaking into the interior, it's too late and can be very costly to repair the water damage. Annual maintainence of roofing material is crucial.

Posted by David Valley, Massachusetts Home Inspections (Massachusetts Home Inspections) about 12 years ago

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