When it is time to purchase a new home, there are so many things to think about — from location, school district, and square footage to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But a critical feature of a home that is often overlooked is the roof. From leaks, to mold and mildew growth, to the resulting interior and structural damage, the havoc that roof problems can cause can not be overemphasized.

Buying a new home of your dream is a huge investment, so it is important that you ensure that the property you choose is in good condition, starting with the roof. This is because the condition of your roof determines the functionality of every room in your home and how much you would enjoy spending time in them. It is important to be attentive to any potential roof problems, and with the help of an inspection from a professional roofing contractor, these problems can quickly be caught and fixed early, saving you from home damage and future expensive repairs.

In this blog post, we will be discussing some of the warning signs to look out for when inspecting the roof of your potential new home. As you read on, you will get to realize the critical signs that you could have missed as you are in the market for a new home and the unplanned repair cost you could face in the long run.


One of the most common indicators of a roof that is in need of repair or a complete replacement is its age. Even if the roof of your potential new home seems fine at the moment, it is important to know when exactly the roof was installed. Generally, roofs have an average lifespan of 25 to 50 years depending on the quality and type of roofing materials used. If the home you are considering is close to or past 25 years, it is important to have a professional roofing company inspect the condition of the roof for potential issues (such as energy efficiency and energy bill issues, leaks, and other forms of damages) due to aging, which could lead to a costly repair down the road.

Missing, cracked, or curling shingles

Missing shingles means bare spots or patches where shingles should be. Cracked shingles are characterized by lines along the surface of individual shingles that can allow water to seep into the underlying layers of the roof, causing further damage and potentially leading to leaks. While curling shingles have turned up edges (once shingles start to curl, they are more likely to break or lift off entirely, allowing water to penetrate the roof and causing leaks). This missing, cracked, or curling shingles problem can be caused by a number of things, including age, weather damage such as when the midwest weather strikes, or poor roof installation. If the previous homeowner has neglected to repair or replace these shingles, it is likely that there is significant water damage. This can lead to rot, mold, and leaks — all of which will cost you more to fix down the road.

Seeing granules or sand In your driveway

Granules serve an important purpose, acting as a shield that protects the roof shingles. Granules or sand in a driveway or yard is a sign that your potential new home has a deteriorating roof; usually a result of aging from weather and sun exposure. This means that the shingles on your roof are starting to break down and losing their protective coating that should normally protect your home from outside elements (such as UV rays). When granules become worn down and left unchecked, this can lead to serious leaks and structural damage.

Shingles popping up and exposed nail heads

Popping shingles can be caused by a number of factors, including poor roof installation, inadequate ventilation, or faulty shingles. Exposed nail heads, on the other hand, are usually a sign of wear and tear. They can allow water to seep in, and that can lead to further moisture damage like rot or mold.

Missing flashing and loose step flashing

Flashing is a vital component of any roof. Flashing is a thin strip of metal or other materials that helps to seal the gaps around chimneys, vents, and other protrusions on the roof. If the flashing is missing or damaged, water can easily leak into your home. On the other hand, loose step flashing is one of the most common roofing problems. If flashing becomes loose, it can allow water to flow directly alongside your siding, which can lead to serious problems like leaks, mold growth, and even failure of the siding itself. As you walk around the exterior of your potential new home, take a close look at the base of the chimney, skylight, and any vent pipes sticking out of the roof. If you see any loose step flashing, that is a cause for concern.

Increase in heating and cooling bills

If the previous owners of the home you are interested in purchasing have seen a noticeable spike in their energy bills, it could be an indication that the home’s roof is not properly insulated (i.e. leaks or gaps in the roofing materials). This means that heat is escaping in the winter and cooling air is escaping in the summer. As a result, you will end up paying more to heat and cool your new home, even when you do not use any more energy than you need to. In addition to increased heating and cooling bills, this could also be a safety hazard, as poor insulation can lead to a build-up of heat in the attic during the summer months.

Pooling water

When rainwater collects on the roof and does not drain properly, it can pool in low-lying areas and eventually cause leaks. If you notice any pooling water during your walk-through, be sure to ask the seller about it and have a professional roofing company inspect the issue as soon as possible. In some cases, pooling water can be indicative of more serious problems like a damaged or improperly installed gutter system. This could be a sign that the gutters are clogged or that they are not pitched properly, and if left unchecked, it can cause serious damage to both the roof and the exterior of the house.

Frost or condensation in unexpected places

Frost or condensation in unexpected places such as windows, walls, or ceilings is a tell-tale sign of insufficient insulation and ventilation in the attic or crawlspace area. This means that moisture is seeping through the roof. This can lead to serious issues like ice dams, which can cause water to back up under shingles and leak into your home, causing extensive damage.

Attic leaks

Even if you do not see any water damage in all the living spaces in the home you are about to buy, leaks in the attic are a clear sign that your roof is not functioning as it should. All leaks are serious problems that have to be remedied swiftly before mold and mildew develop. If you see any water stains on the ceiling of the attic or any mold or mildew growth, it is a good indication that the leakage in the roof is severe. Leaving it unattended for too long may result in needing a complete roof replacement and an expensive mold remediation service in the nearest future.

Wall and ceiling stains

Maybe you asked the realtor about the wall stains you can see and they brush it off, saying that it is just from a little water damage. As you look closer, you see that the stains are in the shape of drops, and they are coming from the ceiling. It is a warning sign that your potential new home has serious roof problems. Furthermore, ceiling stains can be an indicating sign that a home has roof problems, especially when seen in more than one room. If the stains are large or dark, it could mean that there is a significant amount of water leaking through the roof. This can cause all sorts of problems, from mold and mildew growth to structural damage which will cost you more money down the road. The home seller may try to cover it up with a fresh coat of paint. However, a roofing expert will know to look for giveaway signs of a recent paint job, such as uneven edges or drips.


This could be in the form of actual physical sagging of the roof itself, or it could manifest as doors and windows that no longer close properly. Sagging is usually caused by a structural issue such as rotting wood or trusses that are no longer able to support the weight of the roof or damage from water or pests. If left unaddressed, sagging can eventually cause collapse, leading to serious structural damage to the home.

Damaged Gutters

Gutters that are sagging or pulling away from the house are an indication that the roof is not in good shape and is not being properly supported. This can lead to leaks and other damage such as cracks in the foundation. Gutters play an important role in channeling water away from the foundation of the house, so if they are not functioning properly, it could lead to serious problems down the road such as allowing water to seep into the house, basement flooding, and huge structural damage to the building.

Mold and algae growth

Mold and algae growth are two warning signs that your potential new home needs a professional roofer’s attention, immediately. This can be a sign that the roof is leaking, or that it is not properly ventilated. These leaks allow moisture to build up, creating the ideal environment for mold and algae to grow. Not only does the sight look awful, but it can also cause serious damage to your roof if left untreated, structural damage to the building, and pose danger to your health. In addition, these mold and algae growth outcomes will collectively reduce the roof’s lifespan.

Damaged venting

Your roof has a few different types of venting such as outlets for bathroom fans, an attic vent, and a ridge vent. These vents allow hot air to escape from your attic, supply fresh air to each plumbing fixture in the house, and prevent moisture buildup. Vent pipes are an essential part of the roof, and they can be easily damaged by wind, hail, or falling tree limbs. If they are damaged, it can lead to a number of serious issues including inadequate fresh air, leaks, rot, as well as mold growth on walls, ceilings, and furniture.

Dark spots on insulation material

Dark spots on insulation material can indicate that there is water damage. This could be a sign that the roof is leaking and that water is seeping in — the insulation material becomes wet, starts to break down, and becomes unable to properly do its job. Over time, the air leaking from your roof carries dust, other particles, and moisture, which turns the insulation material black. If left unchecked, these leaks can cause extensive damage to the insulation material and even the entire structure of your home.

Light penetrating from outside

If you notice any light coming through the roof, no matter how minute it is, it is a sure sign that there are holes or cracks that need to be repaired. A roof with visible light entering from the outside means it is not properly insulated, and that could be a sign that the roof is allowing water to seep into the building, leading to serious damage and high energy bills over time.

Get a roof inspection

After you notice any of these warning signs while walking around the property, you may be tempted to climb on the roof to make further assessments. If you do, you could end up causing further damage to the compromised areas and risk your safety. Rather, what you need to do is to get roof inspection experts. They will take a closer look at the warning signs you noticed and do their own diligence to carry out every necessary inspection from the external area of the roof to the attic and interior parts of the building until every other warning sign is detected. A professional roofer will be able to determine the extent of the roof damage and advise you on whether or not repair or replacement is necessary.

In addition, the outcome of a roof inspection may help you negotiate better with the home seller. Due to the roof damages and the repair cost that have been confirmed by a trusted professional roofing company, you can seek a lower price from your seller or ask them to have the repairs made before you can take the present offer. After all, the goal is to get yourself the best home deal you can get.

That said, a roof does not have to be 100% perfect for you to find a suitable home for you and your family. Do not let a few missing shingles ruin your chance at going for your perfect home. If your property has ticked all other boxes, but only has some missing shingles on the roof, do not be discouraged. All you need is an inspection by a professional roofing company to determine if the damage is superficial or if there are more serious issues that need to be addressed. If it is the former, you can easily factor in the cost of the little required repairs into your new home budget.

If you do not mind going for a home with an aging roof, be sure to factor in the cost of replacement when evaluating your purchase. Otherwise, you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for down the road. However, if you are really avoiding a home that would cost you any roof repair or worst a replacement in the future, do not buy a home with an old roof, because old roofs symbolize potential roof problems.

Wrapping up

Buying a home is a huge investment and the roof of your new home can make or break how much you may enjoy your time in it and how functional the entire home is. Here at RA Cooks Renovations, we handle minor and major roof repairs as well as complete roof replacements. Our expertise covers all kinds of roofing materials and designs, while we specialize in asphalt shingles. Most of our projects come from referrals and repeat customers, and it is easy to see why. Our roof design gallery will show you the footprint of the multitude of customers we have satisfied from the Dayton, OH area to Miami Valley.

As a professional residential roofing company, we understand that there is a lot to get right when repairing or replacing your home’s roof, especially considering the impact of the Midwest weather on roofs. We will help you choose and source durable roofing materials that are within your preferred budget from our trusted suppliers while still prioritizing getting the best style and design to complement your home’s overall look.

From helping you inspect the roof of all your prospects to giving you expert advice on the necessary roof repairs and getting these repairs done right “the first time” — to the last detail, we will assist you till you have a home with a roof that will protect you and your family. We are licensed, and will not leave anything to chance. You can also trust us to get our assistance if the need for storm and insurance claims ever arises. To get started, contact us to schedule a free consultation and roof inspection today!