October 2004 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) wants both home owners and home buyers to make sure they are on “top” of the roofing conditions of their homes.
A noticeably worn out roof is an easy call to make, but a roof that is only starting to age is a more subtle defect that a professional home inspector can uncover. Because the resurfacing of a roof can costs thousands of dollars, eliminating problems before they start is smart. For a potential home buyer, a roof needing to be resurfaced in the foreseeable future may be a negotiable item to a sales transaction.
Tar and gravel roofs, also known as built-up roofs, are among the most common of all roof types. They are installed on countless homes and on the majority of commercial buildings. The most frequent concern with built-up gravel roofing is the need for periodic maintenance to retain gravel coverage on all surfaces. Sun exposure to bare spots can lead to deterioration and shortened longevity of the roof membrane.
Another common roof problem is ponding -- standing water that results from inadequate pitch of the roof. This can be due to substandard framing at the time of construction or sagging of the roof structure. Ponding can also result from blocked roof drains; so it is important to keep the roof free of debris and foreign objects.
A detailed roof evaluation is a standard part of every competent home inspection. Home inspectors typically inspect a roof by walking on the surface, as this is the best way to observe and evaluate all pertinent conditions. There are some conditions that could keep an inspector off the roof (barring these circumstances, a competent inspector should include a walk on the roof):
- The surface is too steep to provide safe footing
- The surface is too high for access with a normal length ladder
- The roofing is so deteriorated that foot traffic would cause further damage
- Surface conditions such as snow, ice, moisture, or moss make the roof too slippery
- The roofing consists of tiles that might break under foot pressure
- The sellers have ordered the inspector to stay off the roof
This real estate bulletin has been brought to you by the California Real Estate Inspection Association. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, call CREIA at (800) 388-8443, or visit the CREIA website at www.CREIA.org.