Damaged and Patch Roofing

We’ve written before about how important the roof inspection is during the home inspection. We touched on some components on what ages a roof prematurely. Sometimes, however, the roof is not aged- but we find it damaged.

What are some typical causes for roof damage?

  • Falling objects
  • People working on the roof
  • Branches from overhanging trees
  • Wind or hail
  • Snow removal activities

A damaged roof covering may not keep the weather out and may allow damage to the building systems below.  It is common to find previous repairs that have been made on the roof. Patches are the result of past damage or leakage problems. Previous repairs present a high risk of future leakage. This is because of the difficulty in making a weather-tight patch, and/or because the substrate was damaged before the leak was patched, and the roof is spongy in that area.

Patches are often readily identified. They may be asphalt based products on the roof surface (roofer’s mastic, roofing cement, asphalt cement, plastic cement, elastic cement), they may be caulking, or they may show up as roofing materials of a slightly different color, texture, size or style than the original materials. Metal flashings that are unpainted or painted differently from the remainder may indicate patching. IF the majority of the metal shows some rusting, but one flashing does not, the flashing has been patched or replaced here. On some roofing materials, supports for new or patched roofing materials are visible. These may be nail heads, metal hooks or strips of metal, for example. In some cases, the patches are made with a completely different roofing material. These are easily identified.

When patches are found, we look closely at areas below for evidence of recent moisture. A moisture meter is helpful, although not necessarily conclusive. We report patches as vulnerable areas since it is very common for patches to fail and leak.

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