What to Know before Buying a House with 20 Year Old Roof


    When you buy a house, you try to find out absolutely everything about it. Having chosen the area, you look closely at the house, its size, and rooms. Sometimes, having chosen a house that suits you, you are faced with the fact that its roof was installed a very long time ago.

    Reasons for buying a house with 20 year old roof:

    1. Reduced house price due to the old roof
    2. The roof is in excellent condition
    3. The average service life of the roof material is 50 years or more
    4. Possibility to choose a covering for a new roof

    Should you immediately give up the idea of buying a house with 20 year old roof? The correct answer depends on the condition of the roof, on the coating material, and how this affects the value of the house. If the roof doesn’t last 10 years and there is no purchase discount, then this is a bad idea.

    How long the roof will last is greatly influenced by the coating material used. Knowing the information about when the roof was installed and what is the average life of this coating, you will have a partial idea of how long the roof will last.

    Coating MaterialLifespanCost of New Roof
    Asphalt Roof20 – 25 years$10000 – $12000
    Metal Roof20 – 25 years$18000 – $20000
    Ceramic Tile roof20 – 25 years$13000 – $15000
    Сlay tile roof20 – 25 years$14000 – $16000
    The table uses averaged data for the country. More detailed information should be checked with local construction companies.

    Roof Inspection

    The roof is a very important part of the house. It protects the house from any impact, be it weather precipitation, solar ultraviolet light, or air temperature. If the roof is in poor condition, it can leak, which will cause dampness in the house and damage to other elements in the house. Also, if the roof is not complete, there will be a problem with the temperature in the house, for example, in winter, you will have to heat the house much more.

    No matter how durable the coating material is, the quality of the roof also depends on the experience of those who installed it. For this reason, first of all, when deciding to buy a house with 20 year old roof, it is necessary to inspect it thoroughly.

    An inspection can reveal all problematic areas of the roof that are not visible at first glance. In addition, you will have an understanding of whether the roof needs repair now and how long it will last. You will also have an idea of ​​how much the annual maintenance of this particular roof will cost you.

    Since this is very individual, never neglect a roof inspection before buying a home. Even a roof installed 5-10 years ago can have problems, and a high-quality inspection will reveal them. This will allow you to avoid rash purchases and additional waste.

    The Old Roof May be in Excellent Condition

    When the roof of the house is new, it undoubtedly speaks of its quality. Nevertheless, it is very rare on the real estate market to find houses built a long time ago but with a new roof. Do not be upset, because the age of the roof does not always indicate its quality.

    Several factors affect the quality of the roof:

    1. Used coating material
    2. Installation quality
    3. Proper roof maintenance

    These factors are essential in how long the roof of the house will last. There are cases when the roof was installed 20 or more years ago, in much better condition than the roof installed just 5 years ago. For understanding, let’s analyze this situation with examples.

    In the first case, the roof was installed 5 years ago, but it was not looked after. It is overgrown with moss and part of the cover is missing (torn tiles or sheets of asphalt roof). In this case, the inside of the roof will deteriorate because moisture and bacteria penetrate it. Most likely in another 5 years, it will completely become unusable and a complete replacement of the roof will be necessary.

    In the second case, the roof was installed 20 years ago. The stop was carried out by a professional company at a suitable time of the year. All work was done according to standards and without haste. During the entire period of operation, the roof was inspected, cleaned and minor repairs were carried out, the roof is intact and without damage. This roof option, with continued proper care, can last for at least another 10 – 15 years, or even more, depending on the material.

    The Service Life of the Coating Materials

    At the beginning of the article, we have already visually examined the average performance of roof coatings and the approximate operating time. All other things being equal, the choice of material for the roof matters.

    For example, for a metal roof, 20 years can be only half of the warranty period, and for an asphalt roof, this is the average period of operation. If you have a poor understanding of roof coverings, find a professional contractor or ask questions to the roof inspector.

    The professional opinion they can provide essential information that you can use later in choosing to buy a home.

    An Old Roof Helps Save Money on Buying a Home

    If you’re on a budget, buying a house with 20 year old roof can be a great way to keep your price down. Very often, the owners of such a house reduce the price in advance due to the age of the roof. In addition, depending on the condition of the roof, you can also ask for an additional discount.

    For example, after an inspection, it turned out that the roof is in poor condition and requires major repairs or complete replacement. In this case, you can negotiate with the landlord to reduce the price of the house by an amount comparable to the estimated cost. In most cases, the owner of the house will agree to this and thus you will be in the black. After replacing the roof, the cost of the house will immediately increase.

    In addition, you will have the opportunity to choose the roof covering that suits you. This is a very positive factor because, over the past decades, many good options have appeared, for example, many varieties of metal roofs.

    Wrong Buying a House with 20 Year Old Roof

    No matter how many positive aspects, in which buying a house with 20 year old roof would be a good idea, there are also cases when it is not worth doing it.

    Reasons not to buy a home with a 20 year old roof:

    1. New roof gives more confidence
    2. You don’t want to do repairs
    3. The high price of a house with an old roof

    In most cases, the reason people don’t want to buy these houses is that they don’t want to do renovations right after they buy them. Many would like to immediately drop into a beautiful house and just enjoy life. In a house with a new roof, you will not worry about its condition for at least 5 years, and many homeowners like this prospect.

    It also sometimes happens that it is very difficult to agree on the price for the house with the previous owner. Even the provided roof inspection reports do not help to reduce the price in case of its poor condition. This happens very often because people estimate the value of their home poorly and want to get more money for it.

    In this case, it is not recommended to buy such houses, because all subsequent responsibility will be on you. If it becomes necessary to repair or replace the roof, then it will fall on you, in terms of responsibility and cost. Why burden yourself with additional problems when you can find a much better option.

    Professional Opinion

    There are many opinions about whether to buy a house with an old roof. If you are interested in this purchase, then first of all you must understand why you are doing this. Determine for yourself the exact criteria that the house must meet and how much you will benefit from buying a house with 20 year old roof.

    The second important piece of advice will be – “Do not rush to buy!” Thoroughly review the real estate market and evaluate each of the options provided. Also, listen to the opinion of your realtor. Because of his experience, he will be able to give you good advice on whether to buy the chosen house and what possible disadvantages it has.

    Sofia K.
    Sofia K.
    Professional architect with 15 years of experience, with extensive knowledge of architecture and house style. I specialize in the combination of interior components and house architecture.

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