Roof Issues to Look Out for When Buying or Selling a Home

Tips & Advice
product guide
Roof Issues to Look Out for When Buying or Selling a Home

Whether you’re buying or selling a property, the roof is one of the most important parts of a home. Its condition could be the difference between a sale and being passed over. This is why it’s extremely important to ensure your roof is looking and performing beautifully.

Roof Shape

A good place to start is to look at the shape of the roof. Look out for any droops or areas that are sagging, and make sure the surface throughout is level. There should be no cracks or holes anywhere in the roof, with no missing roof tiles. If the property features roof windows, that’s another place to take a closer look, as these can be problematic areas. Check for any gaps or cracks between the window frame and the roof itself, and make sure the flashing is intact.

Another thing to do before selling your home is to listen out for any noises coming from the roof. Creaking wood is a sign of potentially serious structural issues, and the noise of pests or birds coming from within may mean you have unwanted guests. This can pose a problem for homeowners, particularly if it’s the breeding season for the species of bird in your roof space. This is because it is illegal to work in an area containing nesting birds. It’s also against the law to move or interfere with the birds in any way. For more information, read our guide to dealing with birds nesting in your roof.

Roofing Material

Properties can be protected by a range of materials, but the most common for British homes are concrete roof tiles. No matter which material is covering the roof(s) on your property, each of these can display different signs of damage or wear. Below are some of the signs you should look out for when inspecting each of the most common roofing materials. Most of these are easy to spot from ground level but can be confirmed by getting on a ladder and taking a closer look.

Roof Tiles

Whether made from concrete, clay, or slate, roof tiles generally display the same key signs of wear and tear. The most common of these is cracked, chipped, or broken tiles. If damage is present across many tiles in the roof, this is a strong indication that the roof has not been cared for in quite some time.

Tiles that are completely missing, particularly if this is more than one, indicate a larger issue or a serious lack of roof maintenance. Any abnormalities in the pattern of tiles that have been dislodged could mean they were installed incorrectly, wind damage, or general wear over time.

Roof Shingles

Roof shingles often display the same signs of damage as traditional roof tiles. The most common variety, felt shingles, are known to suffer from rips and tears, due to the nature of their material. Fungus, mould, and unevenness are other clear signs of roofing shingle wear. Thankfully, shingles are simple and economical to repair or replace, so homeowners should definitely do so before placing their homes on the market. If there are multiple signs of damage, this may require a larger restoration job.


Thatched roofs are undoubtedly beautiful, calling back to times gone by. However, roofing thatch can require a lot of maintenance, meaning if it is not cared for regularly, signs of damage can quickly appear. Thatched roofs should be very neat in appearance, and uniformly coloured throughout.

This colour can range from light straw to an almost tar-like shade. If you see a thatch roof with inconsistent colouring, particularly if it’s green, it may need to be repaired. You should also keep an eye out for the uniformity and density of the thatch on the roof. If it thins out, has tufts sticking out, or areas that are torn or plagued with mould, these will need replacing.

EPDM Rubber

One of the most common flat roofing materials, EPDM rubber membranes can present several different signs of damage. These can be difficult to spot from a distance, so you may need to get atop your roof to give it a more thorough inspection. Signs of damage to an EPDM roof include blistering, bubbling, pooling water, tears, crusting on the surface, punctures, and mould growth.

Roofing Felt

Perhaps the most economical form of roofing on the market, roofing felt is used up and down the country on pitched and flat roofs alike. While most modern forms of roof felt offer solid strength and longevity for their cost, they still suffer from many of the issues that felt always has. Things to look out for with a felt roof include tearing, bubbling, holes, and the growth of moss or mould.

Roof Rafters

The rafters are some of the most crucial elements of your property’s structure and can cause very serious and highly expensive issues if damaged. Generally made from timber, rafters can be expected to provide 25 to 35 years of reliable service. Things to look out for in your roof rafters include signs of rot in the timbers, including cracks, discolouration, or softness. Any of these signs strongly indicates a loss of structural integrity, and the rafter should be replaced as soon as possible. If one rafter is compromised, you should absolutely check all of the timber in your roof, as it could be a sign of a broader issue.

Loft Space

The rafters aren’t the only section of your roof space that should be checked over. This is why, for buyers in particular, getting a look at the loft is advisable. While this might not be possible in every case, it’s a great way to get an insight into the condition of the roof. Before you venture into the loft, make sure that it is safe to do so. Don’t risk entering the loft space if the roof is drooping or the materials look uneven. Once in the loft space, look out for large damp patches and any evidence of sunlight coming through the roof, as both indicate that the roof is compromised somehow.

Valleys and Ridges

Valleys can be tricky to see from ground level, but these points where sections of the roof join one another are often where damage first occurs. Check for any cracks or holes, as these could quickly lead to water ingress, a cause of many serious structural issues.

The roof ridge is found at the apex or peak of the roof, and like valleys can be difficult to investigate from afar. As with hips and valleys, you should be on the lookout for any obvious signs of damage such as holes, cracks, or missing tiles when inspecting a roof ridge.


Guttering is an aspect of the roof that many sadly overlook. This is a grievous error, however, as the guttering system is one of the most vital parts of a structurally sound property. If your guttering is leaky, it can quickly lead to a myriad of highly problematic and expensive issues.

When you come to investigate your guttering, you should first consider what material it’s made from. Steel and UPVC are the two most common guttering materials used on British homes. While both of these are highly durable, they will nevertheless wear out over time. The best time to inspect your guttering is during or after rainfall, as this will allow you to quickly spot any leaks.

A large build-up or leaves or other debris are common signs of poor guttering maintenance, which can put buyers off. If you’re looking to sell your property, we’d highly recommend cleaning your guttering before any viewings. If you do spot any damage to your gutters, this should be addressed straight away. For more information, take a look at our guide to fixing leaking gutters.


Hopefully, you should now have a better idea of issues to look out for whether you’re buying or selling a home. Repairing your roof can be an arduous and costly task, so it’s vital to keep on top of any issues before they become severe. Signs of damage to a roof can quickly turn potential buyers away, as they don’t want to inherit issues when they purchase a property. Whether you need to clean, repair, or fully replace your roof, we’ve got everything you need right here at Roofing Megastore.

Discover More