How much does it cost to inspect a roof?

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Roof Inspection Cost Guide

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

Roofing is one of the most important parts of a home’s integrity and structure. It helps to protect a home from the elements, and is often the first line of defense against problems like wind and precipitation. Unfortunately, this can often mean that it may begin to deteriorate or develop problems that require repair.

A roof inspection helps to identify potential problems, offers solutions on what areas to fix, determines the longevity and condition of the surface and structure, and can help you keep it in good repair. Conducted every few years or after a major storm, they can help you head off problems before they become large or expensive.

Nationally, the price for a roof inspection ranges from $100 to $600. On the low end, an exterior inspection of a 1,000 sq.ft. flat roof costs $75. On the high end, thermal imaging with an infrared drone of a 3,000 sq.ft. sloped roof costs $750. Most homeowners pay around $350, on average, for an internal and external evaluation of a 2,000 sq.ft. sloped roof.

Average Costs of Roof Inspection

Roof Inspection Cost
National average cost$350
Average range$100-$600

What Is a Roof Inspection?

A typical inspection entails an assessment performed by a licensed inspector who determines the condition of a roof and its life expectancy. The process usually includes searching for common issues such as leaks, damage caused by natural elements, and organic vegetation.

Many problems can be difficult to spot from the ground, even with binoculars. And several issues may also be difficult to spot. In addition, it can be difficult to determine the condition of the underlayment or deck without lifting a few shingles or tiles to take a peek. This can be difficult for a homeowner to do correctly or safely.

Roof inspections may be carried out by professional roofers. These differ from the “free” inspections given before a total replacement, which are meant to give you a quote on the job.

These inspections may also be conducted by an insurance agent if it has been struck by hailstones or other large falling debris. The insurance agent looks for strike marks to determine if it should be replaced. This type of inspection is usually free as part of your homeowner’s policy.

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Roof Inspection Cost by Method

Typically, the inspection methods differ depending on the techniques and tools needed. While one procedure may involve manual labor using mechanical supplies, another utilizes a high-tech camera to capture various surfaces.

Costs can increase due to an advanced technological evaluation compared to an inexpensive yet basic physical evaluation. Also, homeowners should consider how much they could expect to pay per square foot according to the dimensions of their roof.

Average Cost of a Physical, Drone, and Infrared Roof Inspection (mobile)

TypeAverage Cost
Physical$75 - $250
Drone$150 - $400
Infrared$400 - $650

Physical Roof Inspection

Ranging in cost from $75 to $250, a physical inspection normally requires that the inspector climbs on the roof and observes the condition of the building material. The process involves inspecting the flashing around the vents, chimneys, and downspouts and checking the valleys for water accumulation or other signs of wear and tear. If you have an attic and require a more thorough inspection, the roofing specialist might check inside for water spots or air leakages.

Drone Roof Inspection

With an average cost of $150 to $400, drone inspection costs may come into play if your roof is particularly steep or more difficult to access due to its location. The inspector may offer to fly a drone with a camera attached over your house to complete the inspection. Drones capture close-up footage of all surfaces, after which the inspector will study the footage and provide recommendations.

Infrared Roof Inspection

An average-size roof costs from $400 to $650 for an infrared inspection. Most inspectors concentrate on the surface to catch the obvious problems, but an infrared, or thermal, inspection goes to a deeper level. The inspector uses a drone with a special thermal imaging camera, which reveals problems like leaks of warmer or cooler air coming from the interior of the home. Leaks may indicate a weakness in the construction.

How Often Should You Have Your Roof Inspected?

Most homeowners aren’t aware of just how frequently their roof should be inspected. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), homeowners should be carrying out their own inspections twice yearly, in the fall and in the spring.

When it comes to professional inspections, however, guidelines differ. According to the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA) you should be having it inspected every other year, while according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) you can wait and have it done every three years.

A few factors that may help influence how frequently you get your roof inspected. Obviously, if you see signs of leaks, such as water stains or mold growth, you may want to get it inspected sooner. If you live in a northern climate that has seen a lot of heavy snowfall during one winter, it is a good idea to get it inspected in the spring. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, you may wish to have it inspected at the end of the summer to make sure it can withstand incoming tropical weather or directly after a major storm to check for damage.

There are other situations where you may need an inspection. A form or letter is sometimes required when selling or refinancing your home. It will include comments on the condition of the roof and how long until replacement is recommended. Another situation where you may need one is if you have a new roof installed. With this type of inspection, you hire a third party to inspect the roof at the halfway point and then again at completion to ensure that your manufacturer’s warranty is upheld. This typically costs at least $250 per visit.

How Long Does a Roof Inspection Take?

An inspection usually takes between 45 minutes and four hours. The inspection time depends on the size of your roof, whether the inspector can access it without difficulty, and the composition of your roofing material. An inspection inside the attic will usually increase the inspection time. Extensive damage from weather, age, and accidents may increase the inspection timeframe and the length of time it takes your inspector to complete their report. You should expect an inspection report to follow the physical inspection after one or two days unless the inspector indicates otherwise.

What Do Roof Inspectors Look For?

A legitimate inspector does more than walk on the surface while working to detect visible signs of wear and tear. Not only are they specialists, but they also catch minor issues before they progress.

A good inspection starts on the ground. Your inspector begins by looking for obvious signs of damage or decay, such as missing or broken shingles, moss, buckling, humping, or curling. This is usually called a basic or material inspection. The method usually precedes a thorough procedure to check for structural and material issues. When the defects are not visible to the human eye, an interior inspection is necessary to check walls, ceilings, and attics for water stains, rot, holes, and pests.

The inspector will also assess the structural integrity, both from on top and from inside, looking at the attic. Your inspector may remove a few shingles or tiles from the surface to check the membrane below for moisture or tears. Or, they may use thermal imaging technology to check for moisture that can lead to weak spots.

Your inspector will also check the structure below the roof to look for movement, moisture, or rot. They may also check around openings in the structure, such as the chimney or skylights, to look at the flashing. The inspection will also check for a drip edge or lack thereof to look for areas where moisture may penetrate.

A good inspection checks the roof from the ground, from the roof itself, and below. While “free” inspections may just check the top of the surface or look at it from the ground, a thorough inspection should look at all areas and give you a detailed report of the findings, with a checklist of all areas searched and their conditions.

A homeowner may ask for an inspection from a structural engineer when there is visible evidence of structural instability like sloped floors, tilted walls, or cracked ceilings. Roofing contractors may also perform a structural inspection of the roof, and hiring a roofer or an engineer is the homeowner’s choice.

This report is often necessary when purchasing a home or making an insurance claim. The report may also help you better understand what work may need to be carried out, when, and how long it may last on average.

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Roof Inspector Cost

These inspections vary depending on the size and pitch and whether the inspector must ascend one, two, or three stories.

Regarding size, unless your roof covers significantly more than 3,000 sq.ft., you probably will not need to worry about a large increase in your inspection price for a routine visual inspection. Smaller ones of around 1,000 sq.ft. will usually cost about the same to inspect as one covering 2,000 sq.ft. However, your roofing inspector may increase the price once you get into the 4,000 sq.ft. or larger range.

Most inspections cost a flat rate determined in part by the size and how easy it is for the inspector to look at the roof. For example, a 2,000 sq.ft. sloped surface will cost about $350. Costs may increase if there is more than one layer of shingles on top, multiple skylights or protrusions in the surface, or if the pitch is excessively steep and difficult to access. A roof in significant disrepair may increase the price due to the danger of accessing it and the additional time required to look through many layers. Further, a multi-story home may cost more because of the difficulty in reaching a second or third-story roof.

Flat Roof Inspection Cost

Commercial inspections commonly require an inspector who understands flat roof inspections. However, some residential homes have flat roofs, too, which require special expertise. One of the benefits of a this type of inspection is that accessing the roof is often simpler than getting a birdseye look at a sloped roof. Flat roof inspection costs may sit closer to the bottom of the price scale than the top because of their ease of access for inspectors, but the process entails the same checks as a sloped roof inspection. As is usually the case, large roofs will always cost more than smaller roofs, no matter the material.

These exams should happen every two to three years, but those that have had problems in the past should get inspected on a tighter timeline. Inspectors examine flashing, vents, drainage pipes, and gutters for damage, just as they would on a sloped surface. The inspector looks for pooled water, storm debris, and evidence that water is not draining correctly. A flat roof on a humble abode of 800 sq.ft. might cost just $75, but an expansive flat roof of 2,000 sq.ft. may cost $250 or more for a physical inspection.

Worker Inspecting Roof

Roof Inspection Report Cost

These reports vary based on the parameters of the inspection and the inspector you use. There is no standard inspection report or format, but there are quite a few similarities between what one roof inspector will describe in their report and what another may include.

Your report should contain general information about the roof, like its age and manufacturing details, as well as any damage the inspector finds during the examination. The inspector might provide estimates for repair and replacement of part or all of the roof, particularly if they are a roofing company representative and can provide the actual costs their employer charges.

The inspection might include tests of the roof’s condition, such as a brittle test, which measures whether the shingles break when bent and whether replacement is needed. The report will include written observations about the condition and may include pictures that showcase damage or problems the inspector finds.

The price you pay for your inspection normally includes the report that will follow within a few days of the examination, so you do not need to pay extra for your report.

Roof Certification Cost

A certification entails a complete inspection to assess the roof's state, identify any flaws, and determine whether repairs are required. If repairs are necessary, the specialist will explain the tasks to qualify for certification.

Certain circumstances, such as when selling or refinancing your house, require a certification letter. This is a form issued by an inspector and confirms a roof has endured an inspection, is free of faults, and is guaranteed to last for the specified time frame, usually around 2 to 5 years. The cost for this document is an extra $75 to $200.

Some homeowners misinterpret an inspection and certification as interchangeable. However, both have distinguishable differences. A report offers detailed observations on the current state of the roof and recommended repairs. A certification is different in that a licensed inspector guarantees that it will last for a certain number of years.

Does the Roof Material Affect the Inspection?

Not all inspectors are well versed in every type of material. Shingle or flat roofs have different specifications than metal, tile, and slate. Check with the inspector to ensure they can inspect yours. Slate or tile surfaces are long-lasting but should be inspected annually for cracked materials before leaks appear. During an examination of a metal surface, an inspector looks for corrosion, loose fasteners, moisture issues, and bent or deflected panels. During an asphalt roof inspection, the examiner looks for broken or missing shingles, signs of decay or moss, and misshapen shingles. The checks are similar, but the inspector does need direct knowledge of each material to perform the most effective and accurate inspection on each. Slate and tile surface inspections can be more expensive, but with drone technology, it should not be too much more than the average.

What to Do After a Roof Inspection?

Your inspection may turn up a variety of different issues, all dependent on things like your climate, material, age, and whether or not a storm has recently occurred. Common problems that your inspection may turn up include missing, broken, or curling shingles, bruised or cracked shingles due to hail or impact damage, missing, cracked, or broken flashing, membrane bubbling, cracking, or excessive moisture.

Sometimes it is self-evident when a roof needs replacement, and an inspection is just a formality. On the other hand, it may turn up problems you did not even know were possible. You will need to decide what, if any, repairs you want to make and when to make those arrangements. Roofing contractors usually recommend getting repairs handled swiftly because of the cumulative nature of roofing problems. A small hole that leaks water into the attic can turn into a disaster after enough water enters the attic, seeps into the walls, and starts to destroy the very foundation on which your home sits.

To avoid conflicts of interest, you may want to select a professional who is not connected to the person who handled your inspection. You will also want to treat your repair like any other home repair project, with bids from multiple companies. Ensure the roofing contractor you choose is properly licensed with the state and has active insurance.

Roof Maintenance Cost

Regularly scheduled maintenance from a professional plays a crucial role in helping you extend the lifespan of your roof. However, you can accomplish many tasks on your own as a homeowner, which can help take the sting out of your next report.

The average homeowner should not engage in complex repairs, but you can still watch your roof and prevent unnecessary damage. Helping it remain robust and long-lived is as easy as keeping the gutters clean, clearing and pruning trees, so they do not drop leaves and old branches on the surface, and inspecting your attic for evidence of leaks after rainstorms.

Roof Inspector vs Home Inspector

If you are in the process of purchasing a new home, you will likely hire a home inspector to take a look at the property for you, including the roof. However, most home inspectors will not actually climb onto your roof, preferring to take a look at it from the ground. So, while they may see some issues with the roof, there are others that they may potentially miss. A typical home inspection costs between $300 and $500 but is often not comprehensive when it comes to the roof. The average cost range of a roof inspection is between $100 and $600.

Roof inspectors are specifically trained to look at different types of roofs and roofing materials. They know what kinds of issues specific roofs face and can often spot them more easily than a home inspector. So, while a home inspector can often tell you if the roof is viable or needs to be replaced, they may not be able to tell you if it needs repair or how many years it may have left before it will need replacement.

If you have specific questions about the roof, or if the home inspector sees something that they are unsure of, it may be a good idea to have an additional inspection carried out by a trained roof inspector as well.

Comparison of the Cost of a Roof and a House Inspection (mobile)

TypeAverage Cost
Roof Inspection$100 - $600
Home Inspection$300 - $500

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Attic Inspection

Most inspections just cover the outside. If you suspect bigger problems, an attic inspection is a good idea. The inspector will climb into your attic and check for leaks and drafts. Expect to pay an additional $125 to $3,200 for this service. Some companies focus on inspecting attics. However, these inspectors also crawl under roofs and inside attics during their inspections. The professional you select to inspect your attic will check on the ventilation, evidence of leaks, condition of the insulation, the appearance of pests, and the state of the HVAC ducts and vent stacks.

Roof Cleaning

In the summer, your roof is baked relentlessly by the sun, and it may be hit with snow, ice, and rain in other seasons. However, inclement weather is only part of the story. It may also accumulate dust, dirt, and stains and grow mold or moss in damp conditions. To prevent costly repairs to your roof due to these elements, you may want to schedule roof cleaning regularly. You can expect to pay an average of $450 to $700 for roof cleaning, but your costs may be higher if you have a large onen or it is difficult to access.

Roof Repair

Roofs age and eventually decline, especially after excessive exposure to snow, heat, freezing temperatures, and rain. As a homeowner, you are responsible for taking precautions to preserve the health of your roof. These types of repairs can go from leaks to cracked shingles to weather damage, but the average cost to repair a roof is $300 to $1,500.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Replacement. If it is nearing the end of its lifespan, your inspection may come up with the recommendation for a total replacement. Replacements typically cost about $14,000 for a 2,000 sq.ft. roof with architectural shingles.
  • Travel fee. Many inspectors have a travel fee if they arrive and find that they cannot inspect the roof due to inclement weather, snow, dogs, or other issues. This fee usually averages $250.
  • Errors and omissions insurance. Check if your inspection company carries errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. This liability insurance indemnifies homeowners if the inspector fails to report an issue that then becomes a problem.
  • Certified drone pilots. Confirm that your inspector has an FAA valid drone license to ensure they are legally allowed to perform inspections in a particular region. Also, read reviews of their past customers to ensure the quality of their work is top-notch.


  • How do you inspect a roof?

Roof inspections are carried out from the ground, the edge, and beneath the surface in the attic. To inspect it, look for broken, curling, or missing shingles, broken or missing flashing, or signs of water infiltration on the deck.

  • How much is a roof inspection?

The cost to inspect a roof is $75 to $750. The cost depends on many factors like home size, its complexity, and its slope.

  • Does a home inspector check the roof?

Home inspectors may inspect it from the ground but are not trained to detect all potential issues. Therefore, it is better to hire a roof inspector to take care of the roof.

  • What is a certified roof?

A certified roof has been inspected by a licensed inspector and has a life expectancy of at least three years.

  • What is a certified roof inspector?

A certified inspector has completed official training that allows them to identify problems on your roof that may require repair or attention. Homeowners can use their inspection reports to arrange repairs and maintenance.

  • Is a roof certification a warranty?

No, these certifications are not given by the manufacturer or installer, who are the only qualified parties to provide a warranty. A certification verifies that a roof is free of issues, while a warranty only covers the cost of new materials.

  • What is included in a roof inspection?

These inspections normally include a visual inspection, including shingles, flashing, and gutters. Inside your home, an inspection of your ceilings and attic may also be included. An experienced inspector can estimate the cost and what is included with a few simple questions.

  • How much does a drone roof inspection cost?

The average cost for a drone inspection is $150 to $400 to get a bird’s eye view of a roof’s condition.

  • Should I have my roof inspected before or after I list the house?

An inspection should occur before the property selling process begins. Real estate agents generally recommend that sellers have their roofs inspected before listing their homes. Understanding the condition of the roof helps sellers price their homes accordingly.