8 Tips for Preparing Your Roof for a Home Inspection

roof with damaged gutter
Hiring a home inspector is a routine practice before homeowners sell a house. Home inspectors will look at everything, including your roof, so it’s important to prepare yourself for this step.
If you know what to look for, you can resolve many issues before putting your house on the market. Additionally, if you do a major roof repair or replacement, it can be reflected in the final price of the home.
While some issues may seem inconsequential by themselves, they can add up quickly and become major headaches, requiring extensive time and money to repair. Take your time inspecting your roof so your home inspection goes smoothly.

1. Clean all moss and debris off the roof

moss on shingle roof

Stubborn algae, moss, and fungi can grow on virtually any type of roof, even roofs designed to prevent it.

Use a broom with a mild cleaning solution or even a leaf blower to remove mold growth from the roof. Remove the growth of algae and fungus by mixing equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle and applying it to the affected areas.

Only use a pressure washer if it’s absolutely necessary, as you may cause serious damage to the shingles and roof. 


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2. Repair damaged shingles

misplaced shingles with ladder leaning on roof

Severe storms, high winds, and hail can all damage shingles on your roof.

Look for patchiness on your roof, as the difference in color may point to missing shingles. 

You can replace a few missing or damaged shingles yourself with just a few basic tools...

  • Use a pry bar or similar device to slide underneath the nails that connect the damaged shingle to the one beneath it.
  • Lift until all the nails are removed, and pull out the damaged shingle.
  • Replace with a new shingle.
  • Secure the new shingle using four nails.

However, if you notice large amounts of damaged shingles, we recommend calling a roof repair contractor. A home inspector will notice shoddy repairs performed by a homeowner, so invest the time and money to have a qualified professional fix large sections of your roof.

Avoid using cheap methods for large repairs, such as large amounts of roofing sealant or caulk, as it’s often viewed as a temporary repair and will be called out by the inspector. 
 

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3. Clean out the gutters

cleaning debris from gutter

Clogged gutters can cause a multitude of problems for future homeowners.

Backed up water in gutters increases the strain on the system, while also being a popular breeding ground for pesky mosquitos. Home inspectors consider clogged gutters a potential hazard, as they contribute to ice dams, pooled water, and cause sections of the roof to sag.
 
Grab a pair of gloves and a ladder, and get to work removing sticks, clogged leaves, and shingle granules.
 
It can be a dirty and time-consuming job, but keeping gutters clear ensures proper water runoff and a pass from the home inspector. 
 
Always exercise caution when working on a ladder or anywhere on top of a roof.
 

4. Divert all downspouts

red downspout

Water draining too close to the foundation can cause some serious moisture and structural issues.

Double check that all downspouts are properly diverted away from the house. Use elbows or spare gutter sections to ensure water runoff doesn’t pool next to the foundation.
 

This provides some added length and ensures water discharges well beyond the base of the house.


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5. Remove tree branches

removing tree branches from roof

Trim away any tree branches or shrubs that are in contact with the roof.

Branches scrap roofing materials, block adequate sunlight, and trap water against shingles. Consider pruning trees to help control water drainage issues.
 
If there are trees close to your home that can potentially block sunlight and deposit branches, a clear roof space free of debris demonstrates to the home inspector that you're responsible and have considered the problems nearby trees pose. 
 

6. Inspect soffit and fascia

soffit and fascia on roof

Inspect your soffit and fascia for any holes, cracks, or rotted sections.

Make sure the soffit vents are clean and clear. The inspector will look for ventilation pathways, and clear soffit vents will allow proper airflow. 
 

If you discover mildew or mold growing on your soffit and fascia, use a brush or broom and a cleaning solution of bleach and water to gently remove it. 

While minor dents might be overlooked, sagging sections or any serious defects should be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. Make sure they're properly sealed and well painted. 
 

7. Check chimneys and skylights

skylight

Closely look for cracks along chimneys and skylights.

These areas are prone to roof leaks and are one of the first places on the roof the inspector will look at. 

Look for the following before the inspector goes up on your roof:

  • Clear off any debris and attempt to determine if the skylight is fitted correctly.
  • Check for cracks around the chimney flashing and skylight window.
  • Seal any minor cracks with a clear roofing sealant.
  • If you notice cracked flashing, remove it and replace the section with a new piece.
The vast majority of roof leaks—as much as 95%—occur because of damaged or improperly installed flashing, usually around chimneys and skylights. Be diligent and thorough around these areas to get ahead of the home inspection. 
 

8. Get your paperwork together

documents and a cup of coffee

Create a file with the necessary documentation on all the maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your roof.

If you filed an insurance claim for a roof repair or replacement, keep those handy too. Home inspectors will want to know if your roof has been repaired, how frequently, and, if you've filed an insurance claim, what the state of your home insurance is.

If there are any tips on this list that you're not comfortable with fixing or inspecting yourself, it's best to hire a professional roofing contractor before the home inspection.

Hometown Roofing Contractors is one of the easiest ways to find the best local roofing contractor for the job. You can read company profiles, see what other customers have to say about their services, and request quotes from as many roofers as you want.
 

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