When you go house hunting you need to be able to see beyond the decorations, garden, games room or whatever eye candy has been laid on the entice you to make a second viewing or, even better to make an offer.
Whilst we would not suggest that you do your own building survey there are some roofing defects and problems that you can look out for yourself when you are viewing – after checking whether the house has a flat roof or a pitched [sloping] our top ten tips for looking at a pitched roof are:
1. Look in the roof, easy if there is a loft ladder, harder without. Take a torch. Is the attic insulated with 200mm of insulation? If not this work may well be required
2. When you are in the roof look at the timbers, are there woodworm holes or signs of any decay or water penetration? If there are ask the vendor if any timber treatment has been carried out?
3. Are all the timbers there, look particularly for missing struts (sloping timbers between the middle of the pitch and the floor) and collars – horizontal ties between the pitches. These are often removed to “make more space”. They are critical to a roofs structural stability.
4. Is there underfelt beneath the tiles or slates? If not the roof coverings are likely to be at least 50 years old, this gives a clue as to how long they are likely to last.
5. What is the condition of the chimney breasts in the attic are the cracked or worse do they have bricks missing? Are they damp where they pass through the roof coverings, if so they flashings might have failed externally.
6. Outside have a look at the tiles or slates, have they been replaced? Modern concrete tiles are much heavier than the slates they replace and often extra strengthening is needed to the structure, if it’s not there you might need to install some.
7. If the roof covering looks to be original see how many neighbouring properties have had their roofs replaced, if it’s a lot then you can expect that the roof will
need replacing soon.
8. Have another look at the roof covering, how many tiles have slipped, broken or have a deteriorating surface? On a slate roof are there lots of tingles or lead hooks holding slates in place? Any of these symptoms and the roof may be reaching the end of it’s life?
9. Have a look at the gutters, what are they made of? Cast iron work is may be be old and rusting and need to be replaced whilst asbestos cement gutters or downpipes may be a health and safety risk. Have a look at the gutter joints, are they showing signs of leaking?
10. Finally the look at the timber boards the gutters are fitted to and the other trims at he edge of a roof like barge boards and soffits. Are they poorly decorated, of so they may well have decayed and need replacing, these bits are often left off when decoration is carried out because they are awkward together to and decorate properly. If they are of replacement upvc ask the vendor if there is a warranty
There is, of course, no substitute for a proper building survey or homebuyer report carried out by a chartered surveyor, each of these will cover the above and give a proper professional assessment of the seriousness of any defect and the cost and timing of any replacement or remedial works that may be required.
You can get a free, no obligation quote for your survey by clicking here