Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


How can you tell when the roof is toast?


We are all familiar with what it means when the home inspector climbs down from the roof and says, “The roof is toast.”  They may then go into a description of all of the things they saw that defends his or her position---especially if they are countering listing information that states, “Newer roof.”

Typically I exclude most detached storage shed structures from the inspection. 

They get excluded because most people do not want to pay me for what it would cost to include them in the Home Inspection Report.  However, it is my own business model to automatically include any electrical components in any of these types of buildings on the property---but the structure itself would likely only get the cursory “pointing & shouting” during the course of the inspection. 

Detached structures, like storage sheds, are rarely built to the same standards as the home on the property, and often get the lack of respect they deserve in the context of an inspection.  One would hope that these structures would never be the reason someone is buying the property.  Although I have seen some that have deteriorated in ways to transform themselves almost into works of art.

At a recent inspection, when I opened the door to the storage shed, to see if there were any electrical components, it was not too hard to assess the condition of the roof.

Was it the mold, wood decay/rot and water dripping off the roof sheathing that was my first clue?

Leaking roof 

Or was it the view of the outdoors from the indoors that was my biggest clue?

The view through the roof 

So, how can you tell when the roof is toast? 

Sometimes---it is just obvious.


Fortunately---there were no electrical components.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector


The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc


WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 14 commentsCharles Buell • December 26 2012 09:26AM



In GA, these patent defects usually fall upon the shoulders of the buyer. If it's obvious, it is assumed that the buyer knows the condition of the shed.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 6 years ago

I don't think I would call that roof toast.  I think I would call it thatched instead.  Plus, the Christmas tree tinsel hanging from the supports is good too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Charles -- That one is pretty obvious, and I would think the easiest thing to do would be to just tear it down.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

ouch those photos are saying do not walk on me unless your friends have their video cameras out!

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) over 6 years ago

I am not sure I would store firewood in there, let alone anything of value.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 6 years ago

Gee - you are just SO picky!  LOL

Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA over 6 years ago

Hi Charles,

Looking at the picture, there is very little I could do with that one.

But call Uncle Bob and he could get it fixed with about two rolls of duct tape. LOL

Have a great day in Seattle my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

Richard, there is certainly no hiding this one:)

Jay, for sure---loved the tinsel

Steven, and it won't be difficult :)

Mark, I am sure there is someone that would use this for a video

Than, it would be agreat way to guarantee that your wood would stay wet

Nancy, I know---I can't hardly stand myself :)

Clint, maybe 4 of the heavy duty duct tape rolls

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

I always hate the stink associated with that kind of fungal mess.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Yeah Charles it's toast... wet toast.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

I approach sheds or out buildings pretty much the same way. If there is electrical I will look at that, the rest is not included. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Steve, fungus and rot---what is not to like?:)

Tom, isn't that bread pudding?  Just add milk and sugar?

Jim, yup---pretty unusual for these structures to be built as well as the house.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Hey look, a skylight.  Or window.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Not toast, though the colour is right. It's a fungal farm, but it needs more fertilizer (wood).

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago