Roof Systems and
Pre-Purchase Home Inspections
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The roof keeps rain and other weather elements out of the home or building. The Engineer evaluates the general condition of the roof and estimates the remaining life on the roof. Evidence of past or present roof leakage is also assessed. The engineering report includes an expense analysis of any upcoming roof repair or replacement costs.
Most roofs are made of either asphalt, cedar, slate, or clay tile. If a building has a pitched roof, the roof can be viewed from the site. (It is not advisable to climb onto this type of roof as a means of checking it. Climbing on the roof can damage roof shingles, especially older shingles. A leakage problem can be created simply by walking on a pitched roof surface.)
When the Engineer finds that a roof leaks, needs repairs, or will soon need replacement, an expense analysis of the needed repairs and replacement is provided. This helps you plan for any upcoming roof replacement.
If the building has a pitched roof and an accessible attic, the Engineer looks for evidence of roof leakage or damage to the sheathing. The Engineer also looks for problems in the attic such as the amount of insulation present, water damage, and insufficient attic ventilation.
The amount of attic ventilation can have a significant effect on air-conditioning costs. The majority of buildings in the Metro New York area were built when fuel was much less expensive. Given today's high cost of fuel, checking for attic insulation is especially important.
Some Home Inspectors advocate walking on pitched asphalt, slate, and terracotta tile roofs. There are Home Inspectors who lift asphalt roof shingles to determine how they were installed. This may seem like a good way to check a roof, but it can damage the roof. The slates, cedar shingles, or terracotta tiles may suffer damage that causes the roof to leak.
Asphalt roof shingles are self-sealing. Lifting an asphalt roof shingle damages the seal. There is no way to examine the membrane under the roof shingles. Some roofing manufacturers will void a roof warranty if they determine damage was caused by an inspector on the roof.
Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers determine the condition of the roof by visual examination. If a Home Inspector needs to walk on the roof or lift the shingles, you should ask; Why can't this inspector determine the condition of the roof visually? Can't this Home Inspector see that the roof shingles are old? Can't this Home Inspector see that the roof shingles are irregular?
In some cases, it is not possible to safely observe the roof. The roof may not be visible because of local topology, because the roof is covered with snow, because there is no roof access hatch, or because the roof access hatch has been sealed.
If the roof is not visible, Heimer Engineering℠ uses available satellite images of the roof to assess the roof. This includes historical satellite images, which can allow the roof history to be determined.
The myth of needing to climb on a roof or use a ladder to view the roof came from roofers who went into the home inspection business part-time. Today, very few Home Inspectors climb on the roof or use a ladder to get a closer look at the roof.
Storm and Earthquake
The major storms that occurred during the late summer of 2011, combined with the earthquake during the late summer of 2011, caused roof and chimney problems to develop. Hurricane Sandy in late October of 2012 caused leaks in even new properly installed roofs. Roofs that were previously leak-free were damaged by wind and falling branches. Chimneys were displaced by the earthquake and strong winds. Cracks developed in chimneys, or between the chimney and the house as a result of the earthquake. Other damage both inside and outside the building also occurred.
Leaks may not show up until months and sometimes years after the storm damage occurred. If your home or building has suffered such damage, contact your insurance company to see if the repairs are covered. You can also contact Heimer Engineering if you need a consultation on storm or earthquake damage.
Some buildings have flat roofs, which are accessed by a roof hatch. Larger buildings have a bulkhead and steps to the roof.
If steps or a safe permanent ladder is provided (and it is not blocked), the ladder can be used to access the roof. The coping and parapets are examined, as they are often a source of roof leakage.
It would be advisable to ask the seller or real estate broker about flat roof access. In many smaller homes, the seller has removed the roof access ladder. Ask the seller to reinstall the ladder prior to the inspection.
Beware if you are told the roof has "had work done on it". Often, a roof that has "had work done" will need upcoming replacement. If the roof has had work done on it, ask for a bill of sale and a warranty confirming the scope of the work.
If there is no safe access to the roof, then evidence of leakage is examined. Recommendations will also be made based upon the probable age of the roof. Because of the Engineer's experience, appropriate recommendations can be made even if there is no direct access to the roof. This is important, since many flat-roofed buildings have no roof access.
During the inspection, the Heimer Engineering℠ examines, analyzes, and/or reports on (as appropriate based on the building):
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Heimer Engineering℠ is happy to help you. Senior Staff members are available to answer your questions from Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. After 5 PM, please leave a message. Messages are checked during the day on Sunday, and Sunday evening through Thursday evening. Inspections are performed seven days a week. Choose Heimer Engineering℠.
Inspection orders are taken by senior staff members. A real estate purchase is complex, and you should be able to speak with someone who can give you real answers to your inspection questions.
To set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection, or to find out about Engineering services or expert court testimony send Heimer Engineering℠ an email at WebInfoRequest@heimer.com, send Heimer Engineering℠ a text at 888.769.6910, call Heimer Engineering℠ at 800.605.1500, or call Heimer Engineering℠ at 646.757.4500. If no staff member is in the office, leave a message.
Heimer Engineering℠ serves the Metro New York area, including New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Upstate New York (Rockland County, Putnam County, and Westchester County).
Heimer Engineering℠ respects your privacy. Some inspection firms share information with insurance, landscaping, home maintenance, moving, cable, mortgage, and other companies. You will not receive phone calls or solicitation emails from third parties as a result of providing personal information.
In the event of a life-threatening emergency call 911. Emergency situations need to be handled by first-responders who can evacuate buildings, shut utilities off, and take other steps necessary to preserve life.
Heimer Engineering℠ Standards of PracticeThe Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, and to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. All State of New York Licensed Engineers are also bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
Heimer Engineering℠ Code of Ethics
The Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Standards of Practice and the ASHI® Standards of Practice. In the event of a conflict, the Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ use Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence.
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Heimer Engineering℠ performs home inspections, building inspections, condominium inspections, and co-op inspections in the State of New York. We do not perform inspections or recommend Inspectors or Engineers outside of the State of New York. We provide Licensed Professional Engineer consultation services including hurricane and storm damage and damage from adjoining construction. Expert witness services are provided regarding playground injuries, parking lot, walkway, and stairway slip, trip, and fall.
The Heimer Engineering℠ website was designed by Harold Krongelb. Post design review was performed by Matthew John Rapisarda. Sitemaps and indexing information can be found at Page Sitemap, Image Sitemap, and Video Sitemap. Heimer Engineering's domains include www.heimer.com, www.home-inspection-ny.com, www.professional-engineer.com, and www.home-inspection-engineer.com. Heimer Engineering posts updates on Facebook.
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