Uneven roof problems: Are they worth your time?

Have you spotted an uneven roof on your house or a house you are thinking about buying? Take time to find out what’s causing the roof issue.

Understand the difference between roof and foundation problems

This is the big one. The issue many homeowners have trouble accepting, and the key factor in deciding if an uneven rooftop is worth your time, is that many uneven rooftops are not caused by roof problems at all, but by foundational issues.

According to MSN Real Estate, if a house is built on a crooked foundation, a foundation that cracks over time or a patch of earth where the soil shifts, serious problems will develop after a few years. As the foundation settles, shifts and grows uneven, the entire house is affected. The walls start to buckle. Beams may bend or crack. These signs may be most obvious on a roof where chimneys crack or lean, and according to Raise Rite, the roof line tilts or sags.

So the first question you need to ask about a roof is whether the crookedness you see is caused by a roof problem or a foundation problem. A foundation problem requires some very expensive work to fix, so if you are considering a home purchase, try to stay away from cracked or uneven rooftops.

Watch for simple fixes

Sometimes an uneven roof is simply a sign of minor errors or aberrations in construction. Crooked gutters can make a roof look crooked even if the roofline itself is straight. Sometimes you can adjust gutters (and vents) for a more uniform appearance; at other times the gutters may need to stay where they are so gravity can do its work.

Poorly installed or loose shingles may also contribute to the effect, known as tired sheeting. A few replacement parts and support materials can be used to fix these uneven roof problems at minimum cost. This is the type of roof repair to hope for if you notice a crooked rooftop.

Have your roofing materials examined

If a simple gutter, shingle or sheeting fix doesn’t seem like it would solve the problem, take a closer look. Find where exactly the roof is uneven. If you have prior roofing experience, safety equipment and levels, get your level out and climb up for a closer look; otherwise, call a professional roofer to examine your roof. If the peak of the roof or its major ridges are sagging, you could have failing trusses, broken collar ties or warping rafters and ridge boards.

These problems require careful replacement projects from skilled contractors, so get a professional opinion before deciding what to do. A single crooked or uneven spot could be manageable, but multiple failing rafters or trusses signify a serious underlying problem. In this case, it may be best to consider a full roof replacement, which can be very expensive — or to move on to another house.

Image source: Flickr

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