Know Your Roofing

Roofing is often one of the largest concerns of Los Angeles home buyers. It is also one of the most overlooked expenses when doing a rehab. I guess most investors have the mentality of “out of sight out of mind”. This is really not the best way to approach a rehab, since a roof is often expensive to repair and if it’s not functioning properly it will allow water to leak in.


The first step in understanding roofing, however, is to know what you are dealing with. What type of roof do you have? Some examples include:
1. Clay Tile
2. Slate Tile
3. Concrete Tile
4. Metal
5. Wood Shingles
6. Spanish Tiles
7. Asphalt Shingles

There are of course other kinds of roofing, but these are the most common. See the infographic attached for pictures of these various types of roofing.

Now that you have identified what type of roof you have, you need to try and figure out how old it is. Ask the previous owner, check the town permit records to see if there is any record of roof repair. Lastly, visually inspect the roof for its age. It will be difficult to determine exactly how old it is when you first start out, but the more roof’s you see, the easier this will get.

Once you have the age of the roof consult the infographic here on this page for its usefulness. Some types of roofs have short lived usefulness, 15 – 30 years. Others can have very long usefulness, 60—70 years. Do the math to figure out right there if you should be replacing the roof or if you can leave it as is.

The last step is a visual inspection throughout the house and the attic. Check for water spots or bubbled paint throughout the house. These are often indicators that there is a larger issue with the roof at hand.

If you are unsure or unable to ascertain the life expectancy of the roof, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and figure in a cost to repair the roof. You can see approximate costs for roofing in the info graphic as well!

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