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Real Problems with a “New Roof”

Roof condition is one of the most asked about items during a home inspection.  Real estate listings love to push “new roof” as a selling point, and likewise, buyers often think that a “new roof” means that there should be no problems to expect for many years.

It’s easy to see why people are concerned; roofs are expensive and they’re a repair that people often see, so they’re familiar with.  Who hasn’t noticed with the dumpster arrives and the neighbor’s have a new roof installed?  We all see it, and we all know it’s expensive.  I’m going to show you why having a new roof installed doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a problem free thirty years ahead of it.


They Missed?

New roof, exposed nail
A “shiner,” or exposed nail found on a new roof during a recent home inspection

Here’s a classic case of what’s called a “shiner.”  That means that the shine from the nail is visible in the roof covering.  This was on a new roof covering of a house that I inspected last year.  One of the selling points was that it had a new roof; the seller even went so far as to name the company that installed it.  I found no less than 27 nails showing in this roof.  There should be zero.  Each nail is a potential leak.  Being off by an inch with the nail gun can lead to big problems in the future!









It’s a “New” Old Roof

This roof was on a flipped house that I recently inspected.  This is a case of the roofer using

New roof shingles with defective tar strips
New roof shingles with defective tar strips

shingles that were probably purchase second hand.  The tar strips, meant to seal the shingles down, were dried up before the shingles were ever installed.  As a result, every single shingle on this roof will eventually blow off.  They’re not wrong when they call it a “new roof,” but that’s not the whole story.










Stagger?  What is Shingle Stagger?

These shingles are staggered less than two inches apart; they will eventually leak
These shingles are staggered less than two inches apart; they will eventually leak

Shingle stagger, or shingle offset, is the distance between the butt joints of shingles from row-to-row.  Manufacturer’s have specifications for this, with most falling at around 6″ or greater distance between shingles.  Anything less than four inches between shingles can allow water to run along the seams and eventually work its way behind the shingles into the wood sheathing and attic.  In simple terms; the roof can leak.  It’s often difficult to detect the source of these leaks, since the water may show up in another area inside the attic and there is no physical damage in the roof covering.









In Closing: Your Home Inspector Can Save You

Your Home Inspection is the most important defense that you have against buying a property with a “new roof” having installation defects that will lead to failure.  Make sure the Home Inspector that you hire walks on the roof, if familiar with proper installation techniques and knows how to spot all the problems with a bad “new roof.”

Foundation cracks are common.  Not all foundation cracks are serious, but some are.  You’re looking at pictures of a ranch home in the Rochester area, with a collapsing foundation.  The buyer was excited after putting his offer in, as most people are.  That excitement turned to concern during the Home Inspection when I found two of the foundation walls bowing inward.

Why do foundation cracks happen?

Foundation Cracks in Rochester, New York Home Inspection
There was fresh caulk and paint hiding the crack.

Cracks happen all the time in foundations, and for lots of different reasons.  Some typical cracks are caused simply by concrete curing.  Others are small settlement cracks that are structurally insignificant after years without expansion.  Then there’s this type of crack, from one end of the basement to the other, hidden by a combination of caulk and paint by a homeowner who desperately wants to sell the house rather than pay for the expensive structural repairs.  There are many factors that lead to this type of foundation cracks; missing downspouts and damaged gutters are a prime cause.  Both these conditions cause an excessive amount of roof run off water to be deposited near the foundation.  The resulting hydraulic pressure is more than the foundation can handle and it begins to bow inward.  That’s where the problem starts, and it won’t stop until the conditions causing it are repaired and the foundation is reinforced.

You don’t want to buy this!  At least not without knowing and properly negotiating repairs into the deal.  Trust me, after the ink is signed on the papers, it’s too late to go back.

Doesn’t the seller have to disclose the problem?

New York State requires sellers to complete a full disclosure of the property condition, but gives sellers the option of “don’t know” when asking about the various items on the form.  Conveniently, many sellers seem to check the “don’t know” box when I find repairs like

Foundation Cracks in Rochester, NY Home Inspection
The lower part of the square is flush against the wall.

this.  If the seller isn’t disclosing, there’s only one way to find all the problems and conditions; a complete and thorough Home Inspection.  Based on the fact that the wall was freshly caulked and painted, I’m willing to bet that the seller probably wasn’t being entirely truthful when they checked “don’t know” on that disclosure form.  That’s between them and their conscience.  My concern is finding the problem for you; my client.

For me, the most rewarding part of this job is to have a client look me in the eye and genuinely thank me for finding something that would have cost him thousands of dollars that he didn’t have.  You’re going to spend 30 years paying for the home that you buy.  Let me make sure that you don’t have to deal with a $30,000 repair on day one.

The Pre-Listing Home Inspection is becoming more and more popular among home sellers and real estate agents as a way to quickly facilitate a home sale, eliminate surprises from ruining a deal and accurately pricing the home for a quick, high dollar sale. Sellers generally work hard to get their house ready, cleaning, painting and completing…

How to find and select a Home Inspector

How to find a Home Inspector in Rochester, NY I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t already know a Home Inspector.  That’s ok.  Home Inspectors are not the kind of professionals that the average person deals with on a day to day basis.  Generally, you only need a Home…

Double taps electric breaker

Double taps.  You’ve probably heard of them before, maybe from a Real Estate Agent, an electrician or another Home Inspector.  But do you know what they are?  A good Home Inspector should not only let you know when a condition such as double taps exist, but the Inspector should also tell you why it’s a problem and…

Home Inspection: Homeowner Built Deck

Unsupported deck joist

The deck may just be the most important item that your Home Inspector checks from safety standpoint.  The deck is an important selling feature on many homes in the area.  Decks allow us to enjoy the outdoors during the warmer months and are commonly used for entertaining during parties and outdoor festivities.  A well built deck should provide many years…

Should I attend my Home Inspection?

Should I attend my Home Inspection?

Should I attend my Home Inspection? That’s a question that I get fairly often, and it’s worth talking about here. I’ve talked in previous articles about the Home Inspection Report, which is the final product of a Home Inspection. There are always a few people who think that the Inspection Report is all that matters, “so…

Does your Home Inspector walk the roof?

cracked skylight

You might think that’s a funny question; a Home Inspector is required to go on the roof during the inspection, isn’t he? WRONG!  Home Inspectors are not required to walk on the roof according to New York State Regulations, a Home Inspector is not required to do anything dangerous to their own safety.  Over the years, I’ve…

This yellow tubing is called Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).  It’s a great product for retrofitting natural gas appliances into homes and should be thoroughly inspected during your Home Inspection.  CSST is a popular product in the Rochester, NY area, since many homes here have natural gas service.  Although more expensive than traditional black iron pipe,…

The doors in this house were all in need of repair…….

IMG_1861                IMG_1828

Some things are obvious when you’re buying a home. Other things really need the trained eye of a Home Inspector to spot. But then what?

It’s possible that the most important skill that a Home Inspector can possess is the ability to write an accurate report that can be understood by the average home buyer.

That’s what sets me apart from all the other Home Inspectors. You won’t find check boxes and cryptic comments in my reports; instead you’ll receive a custom written report outlining all of my findings. My reports are written in conversational English that is understandable even to the novice home buyer.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is to ask for a copy of a sample report from any Home Inspector prior to hiring them. See what you’re going to be getting, and if an inspector won’t provide a sample – look for another inspector!

Give me a call at 585-615-8696 or send me an email at  Go ahead and ask for a sample report, I’ll be happy to provide you one before you decide to hire me!