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Roof Problems to Inspect for When Buying a Vacant House

Old House — Bel Air, MD — Ray’s Hartford Home Improvement Contractors Inc. A house that’s sitting vacant can be extra vulnerable to some types of damage. For instance, if nobody is living there, who will notice a slow drip in the plumbing or the skittering sounds of rodents in the attic? If leaks and infestations go unnoticed, they could cause much more damage than usual. The same goes for roof problems. Here are some of the roof problems you’ll need to check for (or have a professional check for) if you want to buy a home that’s sat vacant for some period of time.
  1. Structural Problems From Old Water Damage
A leak that goes unnoticed can continue to allow more and more water into the house for months or years at a time. This water can encourage rot, warping, mold, and other types of damage to building materials such as roofing insulation, as well as structural components of your roof (like the rafters and the roof deck).
  1. Issues From Bats and Termites
While any pest infestation can develop more easily if no humans are around to notice and take action, you need to especially check for termites and bats in the roof of a vacant house. Termites are a big deal because they can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage and, though the roof may be their access point, they can spread to the rest of the house. Bats are a big deal because they can actually damage the structure of your roof as their droppings build up on the roof trusses. And unlike rodents, you can’t simply kill them: you have to pay for professional removal because bats are generally a protected animal (the specifics vary by state). Bats are also easy to miss because they’re so quiet during daylight hours, and they can cause unique health threats (their droppings can cause histoplasmosis, for instance). If bats are roosting on the underside of the roof, you’ll want to know it before you buy the house.
  1. Problems With the Chimney
Not every home has a chimney nowadays, but if the home you’re looking at has a chimney, you’ll need to check it over carefully. Chimneys constitute a huge amount of weight, so you don’t want to risk the possibility of having a chimney collapse. Unstable chimneys can be a huge safety risk, and a chimney collapse could damage your roof as well. The chimney will need to be inspected for structural integrity and may need repairs if it hasn’t been maintained well.
  1. Damage From Extreme Temperature and Humidity
An uninhabited house likely doesn’t have the AC running, which means that the temperatures and humidity levels in the home can soar unchecked. In addition, the roofing ventilation (designed to remove hot, humid air) may not be well-maintained. These factors mean that the roof may have experienced extreme temperatures and humidity. Problems caused by humidity can be similar to those caused by leaks. For instance, high humidity could encourage mold and rot and could cause condensation that makes plywood roof decking delaminate. You should also check for damage to the roofing shingles, such as cracking and cupping that could be caused by extreme temperatures.
  1. General Issues
As you can imagine, a vacant home’s roof isn’t limited to problems caused by vacancy. You still need to check for things like hail damage, missing or rusted flashing, problems caused by poor installation, and other roof defects that could cause problems down the line. Checking for these five types of problems carefully is essential before you decide that the roof on a vacant house is in good enough shape to buy. You’ll want to hire a professional for this thorough roof inspection. Professionals are trained to spot damage and assess how bad it is and can give you an estimate of how much the repairs should cost. For more information about roofing repairs, repair estimates, and other services we provide, contact Ray’s Harford Home Improvement Contractors Inc. today.

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