Roof Overhangs, Are They Important?

Home Inspector with Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area InterNACHI 10041206

I did an Inspection the other day in the Los Ranchos, it's an extension of the Albuquerque area. This home was built in 2000 and is part of a nice little subdivision. This subdivision has similar type homes throughout the subdivision. The first thing I noticed about this house was it had little to none roof overhang. In fact, it was an inch and a half overhang... that's not enough!

Every house should have a roof overhang! Many builders do not pay enough attention to the overhangs. Roof overhangs have several important functions. They can protect exterior
doors, windows, and siding from rain.

They can shade windows when solar heat gain is undesirable, and they can help keep basements and crawl spaces dry. A house with improper overhangs can overheat in the summer and can suffer from water entry problems at windows and doors, and can have premature siding rot or damage. Perhaps the most important function of wide roof overhangs is to help keep water off siding, windows, and doors.


While it’s impossible to stop all wind-driven rain from reaching your walls, wide roof overhangs make a big difference... especially if there is just one story under the overhang. Walls with stingy roof overhangs get regularly soaked. These repeated wetting episodes cause a variety of problems. A house without a roof overhang leaves the wall covering unprotected and vulnerable. 

Another function of wide eave overhangs is to ensure that roof water doesn’t drip near the foundation and erode the soil away. Keeping the eaves-drip away from the house helps keep your crawl space or basement dry, it also limits the damage caused by splash-back. Splash-back is a common cause of siding rot and stucco damage, as the water beats on the soil or concrete sidewalk and splashes back onto the exterior walls.


In this house's case, the lack of proper overhang has ruined the stucco wall covering. It is cracked badly and is disintegrating to the touch. A big help here would have been installing gutters.

Gutters would have protected the facia boards because the gutter slips up under the drip eave metal, so water would run directly into the gutter where it would be channeled away from the house structure and foundation.




Without them, the runoff merely runs down the face of the facia boards and down the walls. It's too late to save this wall covering, but it could be prevented from happening again.

The disturbing thing to me is that the whole subdivision was built this way!


Give me a good 16" to 24" overhang any day! Minimum overhang size should be 12", and is a best practice in residential construction. 





Posted by

Fred Hernden 


 Superior Home Inspections





 Albuquerque, Rio Rancho New Mexico and surrounding areas...


“My mission is to provide superior quality home inspections to my clients to ensure peace of mind so they can confidently make the largest investment they may ever make!"


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Rich Cederberg 11/28/2015 12:32 AM
Home Buying
New Mexico
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roof construction
roof overhangs
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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

In the subdivision that I live, there is one house that for one reason or another has no roof overhangs.  It also has a history of having more damage to the siding, and water accumulating around the foundation than other homes in the neighborhood.  A good rain gutter system would likely take care of a lot of the problem though.

Nov 18, 2015 11:30 AM #1
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Myrl - Well there you go, my point exactly. Thank you! 

Nov 18, 2015 11:09 PM #2
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good information to share. Thanks for providing some of the benefits of your experience.

Nov 19, 2015 12:26 AM #3
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Roy - Thank you for your kind comments!

Nov 20, 2015 11:33 PM #4
Rich Cederberg
eXp Realty - Albuquerque, NM
eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque

Excellent information Fred, that's quite an oversight by the builder.

Nov 28, 2015 12:27 AM #5
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

The whole subdivision was like this Rich! Don't know who the builder was...

Nov 28, 2015 02:25 AM #6
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I caught this on Rich's reblog.  It's rare to see something like that fact, I don't know that I ever have.  I can't imagine a house surviving a winter w/ that.


I realized some, but not all of this info, so thanks for educating us.


Nov 28, 2015 02:33 AM #7
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Debbie - Thank you, it's pretty elementary, too bad the builder didn't realize that.

Nov 28, 2015 11:27 PM #8
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You'd think that with the sun out there as it is that overhangs would be the most common of practices.

No gutters?  Oh well, no rain anyway...


; >)

Dec 02, 2015 03:59 AM #9
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Jayman - We get rain! Actually, we are well over the normal yearly rainfall amounts!! Plus snow... you know what that is, right? 

But you are right, with the intense sun we get here, you'd think it would be a common practice.... sheesh!

Dec 02, 2015 05:55 AM #10
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Feng shui seems to have a lot of things to say about roofs, but you still add a really cool element that I like.

Dec 02, 2015 03:42 PM #11
Kim Crayton
Coldwell Banker Resort Realty - Sandpoint, ID
"Best Realtor in Northern Idaho" ~According to Mom

Great advice Fred!

Most people do not take much time in "functional" roof design.

Up here in Northern Idaho, I see mostly metal roofs that shed snow easier than other types. Horrible thing is, the direction of the shedding snow.

Literally 'tons' of snow may come down into a high traffic area because of a lack of "functional" roof design.

Snow may get stuck in the valleys where different rooflines meet. 

North facing roofs shed snow slower than South facing.

A lot of thought and planning goes into all aspects of a good roof design, not an item to skimp on.

Thank you again for this information Fred Hernden!

Mar 30, 2018 10:05 AM #12
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