Should Your Home Inspector Climb On to the Roof?

When it comes to buying a new house, having repairs done, or replacing a roof, it always helps to have a professional inspection. The last thing anyone wants to have happen is to think the roof is ok and find out later that heavy rain or snow has caused a major leak or even worse, caused part of the roof to collapse into the home.

It’s best to determine what needs to be done regarding the roof by having an inspector climb onto it and check it out extensively.


There are many inspectors out there and while most are really good at what they do, some will not get onto the roof itself but opt to climb to the top of the ladder and look at it from there. Others might not even get on a ladder but use binoculars to look over the roof.

There are many reasons why a professional will not go out on the roof to do an inspection. Some states don’t require it. Others don’t clearly state whether or not the practice is necessary.

Here are some of the best reasons why it’s important to make sure that the inspector does get on the roof.

  • They can determine condition of roofing materials.
  • They can check soundness of drains, gutters, and downspouts
  • The can check the flashing around roof pipes, chimneys, vents valleys, and the mounting of HVAC units.
  • They can look at chimneys to make sure in good condition.
  • They can check caps, ridges, and drip edges.

Once an inspector does the inspection and feels that things are in good order, they will then determine the life expectancy of the roof and certify the inspection. This certification is usually good for between two and five years depending on state and local requirements. However, if it determined that the roof does need repairs, they will issue the certification only after the repairs have been made.

Reasons for Roof Inspection

Even though most roofing companies put on roofs that last 25 years or longer, sometimes it is necessary to have inspections done. Some of the more common reasons for inspections are:

  • Selling the Home – It’s required by any loan provider when selling a home. They want assurance as well as the potential home buyer.
  • Checking for Damage after a Storm or Significant Weather Has Occurred – Hail, heavy wind, and rain can wreak havoc on a roof. Especially if the hail is large, the wind is very strong, and it’s continually raining. These three conditions can create problems for homeowners if not checked out as soon as possible after the storm passes.
  • Peace of Mind – Even if nothing is happening to alarm you, it’s best to have the roof checked every 4 – 5 years. Some experts recommend having it checked sooner, but the general idea is to check it and make sure no problems are found. It’s never fun to find a problem during the spring or winter when it’s hardest to get things taken care of by a handyman.

Inspect Now, Save Later

Having the roof inspected is something that has to be done, but in the long run can save you a significant amount of money. Doing a routine inspection can bring up many potential issues that can be fixed cheaply without replacing the entire roof. There are many things an inspector can miss by not getting on the roof itself to do a home inspection.

Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions of any inspector that comes to do the job. It never hurts to make sure of your findings. Every good inspector will be up on the roof looking at it firsthand. They’ll be the first to provide answers and solutions to your roofing needs.

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