moss on roof

Buying a New Home in Portland? What You Need to Know About the Roof!

moss on roof

Portland’s famous rainy weather sure does make it a beautifully green place to live. Unfortunately, all that water and wind can also be hard on your roof!

With proper installation and maintenance, a roof in Portland can easily last decades. But if you’re looking to buy a new home, you may not know how the roof was installed or cared for, and you can’t see every type of roof damage just by looking from the ground.

So how do you find out the real condition of a home’s roof? Should you have the roof inspected? Who pays for repairs if there’s a problem? Today’s post will answer those questions and more.

Here’s what you need to know.

How Does Portland’s Weather Affect the Roof?

It’s no secret that Portland’s climate isn’t exactly dry. Pooling rainwater, moss, fallen leaves, and other debris can create a wet environment where mold and other roof menaces thrive. That can damage a roof over time. Mold can even spread into gutters and into the house, leading to other costly repairs.

Your new home’s previous owner might not be able to control the weather, but he or she can make sure the roof is in good shape (or at least be honest with you about its current condition) before selling the property.

What Kind of Roof Damage Should I Look for?

faster damage to asphalt shingles along eaves

Photo: Dale Mahalko

Not all roof damage is visible from the ground, but there are several things you can look for.

Cracked or missing shingles: Shingles are meant to act as a barrier. They protect your home from the elements. If shingles are damaged, they can’t do their job. Shingles that are cracked or missing are an indication that the roof — or part of the roof — is deteriorating.

Curling shingles: Sometimes, long-term exposure to the sun and other outdoor elements causes old shingles to start curling — often at the corners. Those shingles, and possibly the entire roof, will need to be replaced soon.

Moss: A heavy layer of moss on the roof doesn’t guarantee roof damage, but it’s definitely a warning sign. Moss that grows in Portland holds water like a sponge, and all that moisture sitting on the roof long-term is bad news.

Messy gutters: When gutters don’t get cleaned out, water overflows out of them and onto the roof, soaking through shingles and causing significant damage, including roof leaks. Gutters can also get clogged when shingle granules from the roof detach and fall into the gutter.

Sagging ceiling: Check for roof damage inside the house too. If the ceiling looks like it’s sagging under the weight of the roof, you may be dealing with a leaky roof that has already caused water damage in the home.

Should I Have the Roof Inspected?

roof inspection

Yes, get an expert’s opinion. No matter what the inspection turns up, you’re better off knowing what condition the roof is in before you sign anything. Knowing that the roof will need a lot of repairs down the road might affect your offer.

Home inspectors will often check the roof as part of their process, but they’re not required to actually climb up there. If you want to be sure, call an experienced roofing company for an honest, impartial opinion. At Fivecoat Roofing, we’ll give you a roof inspection for free and offer you an estimate of its life expectancy.

If the inspection turns up serious problems, you’ll need to decide if the home is still worth it, and who should be responsible for covering the cost of repairs.

Who Pays if the Roof Needs to Be Replaced?

If the roof needs major repairs or needs to be replaced altogether, how do you decide who pays for it? Is it the current homeowner’s responsibility or yours?

The answer is: it depends. This stuff is usually negotiable, but it depends on how far along you are in the buying process and whether your initial offer was contingent upon your approval of the inspection results.

Unless you’re so in love with the home that you’re ready to accept it as-is and handle all repairs later, it’s probably worth negotiating. But let your real estate agent do the haggling. This is exactly what they’re there for.

Keep in mind that a roof inspection benefits you and the seller. Even if you decided to walk away from the deal right now, you will have done the seller favor by asking for a roof inspection. Now they know the extent of the damage and can decide what to do about it before meeting with other potential buyers.

How Long Will a New Roof Last?

new roof portland

If you’re going to invest in a new roof, you want to know how long it’s good for, right?

If the new roof is expertly installed with sturdy materials, it should last a long time — decades. All of our work on every roof has a 10-year warranty, but your roof will likely last longer than that. Don’t work with a roofing company that doesn’t offer a warranty on their work.

You can also prolong the life of your new roof by cleaning it regularly and keeping it free of moss, leaves, and other debris. We recommend a roof inspection and cleaning every 3-5 years.

Need Advice about a Roof?

If you’re on the fence about a new home because of the roof and would like a free expert opinion, we’re happy to help. We can send our crew of experienced roof technicians to inspect your roof within 48 hours of the inspection request. At Fivecoat Roofing, inspections are free, and we’ll also follow up with a free report and roof estimate of the repair costs.

Email us or call us at (503) 305-4419 to schedule an inspection.


First photo: Bart Everson