A roof inspection is a thorough examination of your home’s roof system. Inspections are conducted to evaluate the condition of your roof and to determine if repairs can be completed to extend the service life or if you need a complete roof replacement or roof-over.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about a roof inspection, including what they entail, how much they cost, and what your inspection may tell you about the shape your roof is in.
What does a roof inspection entail?
In a professional roof inspection, a roofer will climb onto your roof and do a visual inspection, physically looking for missing shingles, rotting areas, and other problems that may need to be addressed.
A proper roof inspection will include an assessment of the following roof conditions:
- Condition of the roof covering: Looking at signs of wear and defects will help the inspector determine how much life the roof covering has left.
- Condition of flashings: Roof flashing is made of thin metal strips that channel water away from crucial areas, like where two roof planes meet. This is the most common source of roof leaks and must be thoroughly examined.
- Condition of any penetrations: The inspector will look for cracked skylights and openings at chimneys or vents, as these are often sources of roof leaks.
- Condition of gutter, downspouts, fascia, and soffit: Improper maintenance and placement of gutters can cause water to overflow, allowing the fascia board to decay. The inspector will make sure all of these elements are in good shape.
If you have an especially steep roof or multiple stories that make a physical inspection unsafe, or if you have roofing materials that cannot withstand the weight of a human (such as clay tile or slate), you may consider a drone inspection. Drones can be surprisingly accurate and prevent your roof — and your inspector — from damage.
Additionally, the roof inspector may enter your home to look for interior signs of damage, like water stains and mold. Here are a few common interior inspection points:
- Condition of the roof deck and attic framing: Your inspector should look inside your attic for signs of leakage, water damage, mold growth, or moisture.
- Proper attic ventilation: Poor attic ventilation may lead to roof failure. An inspection will ensure your attic vents are not blocked, air flows freely, and the vents are in good condition.
- Heat loss detection: One of the roof’s main functions is to keep central heating within the home. Inspectors may use an infrared camera to detect heat loss generated from openings in the roof. These are also potential leakage points.
At the end of the inspection, the contractor will assess your roof’s condition and determine if you need any repairs to extend its service life. In extreme cases, an inspection may show that you need a roof replacement or roof-over.
How much is a roof inspection?
A roof inspection, on average, costs between $307 and $571. Your roof inspection could cost more depending on the size and type of roof you have. A roof inspection may be included in a full home inspection, but a dedicated, roof-specific inspection hones in on the problems your roof may be facing.
How often should you get your roof inspected?
Roof inspections are typically conducted when there is a problem with a roof. Many homeowners would only consider conducting a roof inspection in the following scenarios:
- They have a leak and are lining up buckets to catch the rainwater in their dining room or bedroom.
- They find pieces of shingles littering the lawn after a storm or see suspicious-looking spots on the shingles or siding after a hail storm.
- They need a roof certification because they’re selling or refinancing their home and must show potential homebuyers, lenders, and insurance companies that their roof has some time left. (Pro tip: If you are buying a house, make sure that you ask for a roof certification.)
The “out of sight, out of mind” approach to roof inspections listed above can be costly, as it’s often too late to take corrective actions once you see significant signs of damage. Meticulous homeowners will stick to a roof maintenance plan like the ones in place for other home systems and appliances.
Download our roof maintenance checklist to ensure your home stays in tip-top shape year round.
If your roof is getting older, we recommend getting it inspected annually. The best times to complete roof inspections are in the fall to prepare for winter and in the spring to correct any damage that may have been caused by harsh winter weather.
Who to call for your inspection
You may be able to spot blatant issues with a DIY inspection (more on that below), but most times, a roof inspection is a job best left to the pros. Several home inspection companies perform roof inspections as part of their services. There are also inspection companies that specialize in roofs and other exterior building components. If you need your roof inspected for an appraisal or home inspection, contact an independent roof or home inspector.
If you need an inspection to complete roof repairs or a replacement, you should contact a local roofer. Most roof contractors will conduct these inspections for little or no cost.
Can you do a roof inspection on your own roof?
Before climbing up on your roof to perform a DIY inspection, you have to know what you are looking for. A DIY inspection can be completed if you perform an annual maintenance inspection or a quick review for damage after a storm — it’s easy to identify missing materials (shingles, flashing, metal) and openings at penetrations.
However, if you need a full evaluation to determine your roof’s lifespan or if it needs repairs, you should contact a professional. Additionally, if you need the inspection completed for the buying/selling/lending certifications, you’ll have no choice but to leave this up to a professional.
We strongly recommend that homeowners hire a professional to conduct an in-depth inspection. A professional inspector or contractor will know what signs to look for in each type of roof material, including normal wear-and-tear and significant issues. They’ll also know how to diagnose where a leak is coming from and what is causing it. If you do not have that type of training, looking at your roof does nothing but put you at risk of a fall.
What your roof inspection may tell you
From a roof inspection, you will find out the following information:
- If the roof requires any minor repairs
- If the roof requires any substantial repairs
- If the roof needs to be replaced
- If the existing roof can be recovered
- The remaining service life
- Maintenance repairs that can extend the service life
If you get your roof inspected and it has damage, you can hire a Fixr-approved contractor to repair or replace it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the overall goal of the roof inspection?
Homeowners have inspections completed for several reasons — maybe they are experiencing leaks, are worried about potential damage from recent storms, or are required by insurance or a lender when selling a home. No matter your reason, a thorough roof inspection will provide you with as much or as little information as you need to care for your roof properly.
All roof inspections check for signs of wear and tear to the roofing components, identify any signs of failure or leakage, and determine the remaining lifespan of the entire roof.
Does my home inspection include a roof inspection?
The roof is one of your house's most significant exterior components, making it one of the most expensive to repair or replace. Because of this, home inspections generated by lenders and insurance companies will always include an analysis of the roof. Contact your home inspection company for verification before selection.
What should I do if my roof is not in good condition?
The roof is one of your home’s largest exterior components — and one of the most critical, as it provides shelter from the elements, air circulation, and protection for your interior. Due to its importance, homeowners should keep a close eye on the condition of their roofs. One of the best ways is by conducting regular roof inspections.
If your roof inspection indicates that your roof needs extensive repairs or a complete replacement, you should contact a professional roofer. You can hire a Fixr-approved contractor to do repairs or a roof replacement.
What are the factors that determine the cost of a roof inspection?
The cost of a roof inspection depends on the following factors:
- Type of inspection (physical or drone inspection)
- If you need additional testing, such as an infrared scan
- Roof size
- Number of roof areas being inspected
- Number of roof penetrations, e.g., skylights, chimneys, vents, etc.
- Type of roof material, which may impact the amount of testing required
- Roof slope and accessibility that may require extra safety equipment or lifts
- Attic inspection may be an added charge, depending on the company