House Buying Series: What Does a Bad Roof Look Like?


A home is a major investment. To protect your investment, it’s critical to understand any potential hidden costs involved in your home purchase. Among the most significant of these is a bad roof. If you understand how to assess the quality of a roof, you can choose to either walk away from a bad roof or negotiate a replacement before you close. In this edition of our house buying series, we’ll discuss what a bad roof looks like, how to assess a roof’s overall quality, and how to estimate its remaining lifespan. 


Signs of a Bad Roof

As you tour each home, keep the following signs in mind. If the roof seems to be near the end of its useful life, consider renegotiating the terms of the sale to account for the cost of roof replacement.


Damaged Valleys

Valleys are the areas of a roof where two different planes meet in a downward slope. The role of the valley is to direct rain and snow off the roof and into the gutters. A valley with missing shingles, pooling moisture, or apparent leaks is a sign that the roof is bad.


Deteriorating Shingles

Shingles are your roof’s armor. When their condition is compromised, so is your roof. Pay attention to the shingles on each home you view. Here are a few warning signs that the shingles are deteriorating.



Shingles should lie completely flat and overlap on one another to protect your home from moisture. Shingles with curling edges compromise the integrity of the roof and leave it susceptible to further damage.



If curling shingles are bad, missing shingles are even worse! A roof with missing shingles will need repair or replacement soon.



This may be difficult to spot from far away, but shingles that have lost their granules may be near the end of their life. A quick way to check this is to peak into the gutters. If the shingles are losing their granules, they'll be collecting at the bottom of the eavestrough.



This may also be tricky to spot from the ground, but cracked shingles are another significant indication of a bad roof. Chances are, if shingles are cracking, you’ll be able to see other signs of deterioration as well.


Old Age

Ask your realtor the age of the home’s roof. A roof that’s more than 20 years old will likely need to be replaced within the next few years. 


Storm Damage

If you are looking for a home in an area that experiences severe weather, be on the lookout for any signs of storm damage like fallen trees or hail damage on the house’s siding.


Assessing the Life and Quality of a Roof

By being alert for the signs listed above, you can make an educated guess about the state of a home’s roof. As you move forward in the home buying process, remember that you can also rely on the trustworthy opinions of professionals like

  • Your realtor
  • A home inspector
  • A roofing expert

Before you buy, be certain that the roof has been thoroughly inspected. Get details about the extent of the inspection performed. If you are concerned that there may be an issue, you may want to consult a specialty roofing inspector.


If you need of a new roof or roofing repairs in the Ames or Des Moines area, contact Hedrick Construction. Our team of experts can help you choose the roof that’s best suited for your home. Contact us today to get your roofing job done right, on budget, and on time. 

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