Guide to Professional Roof Inspection


Having a sturdy, secure roof over our heads is something many of us take for granted. Think about all a roof does for us: protects us from the elements, keeps us cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. Without proper care, your roof can become a safety hazard, spring leaks, and even stop regulating temperature. This is why it’s important to get a professional roof inspection. After all, what good would a house be without a roof?

What is professional roof inspection?

Though most home inspections include a roof inspection, they will be much less detailed than a dedicated roof inspection. Unlike professional roof inspectors, it’s a home inspector’s job to survey a home in its entirety. Even the best and brightest home inspectors can’t be experts in every aspect of a home. Especially something so complex as a roof.

There are also parts of a thorough roof inspection that home inspections don’t cover. Home inspectors don’t look for signs of pest infestation, which can cause damage. Toxic materials are also usually not covered, meaning a home inspector won’t check your roof for mold. Mold can not only be harmful to breathe in but can damage your roof over time.

It’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to request a drone or infrared roof inspection from your average home inspector. If your roof is steep or otherwise unsafe, advanced technology may be necessary for proper inspection. Even if your home inspector can get on top of your home, there may still be damage that’s invisible to the human eye.

When do you need to have your roof inspected?

Even if you think your roof seems fine at a glance, it’s best to get a professional roof inspection once a year. If you live in a climate that sees heavy rain, wind, or snow, it’s a good idea to get a roofing inspection once a year or more. Try to do this after a major storm, as well as when preparing for hurricane or snow season. There’s no way to know for sure how well your roof is holding up without having a professional.

It’s also important to get a roof inspection when making big decisions about your home. This is especially true if you’ve bought a house without a home inspection, or before purchasing, selling, or refinancing a home. Regardless of whether you’ve had a home inspector take a look at it or not, an up-to-date inspection is critical.

If you notice leaks, cracks, or suspect damage to your roof, contact a professional as soon as possible. A roof inspection costs a lot less than repairing significant damage that can occur over time if left unattended.

What to expect when having your roof inspected

There are three main parts to a roof inspection: structural, material inspection, and interior.

Structural inspection

The structural inspection covers how well your roof is holding up overall and looks for any indication that your roof may be sagging. Signs of sagging can include:

  • Missing or damaged collar/rafter ties
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Rotting, cracking, or splintering rafters/trusses
  • Leaning or tilting exterior walls

Additionally, the inspector will also examine the condition of your:

  • Soffit
  • Fascia
  • Gutters
  • Skylights
  • Chimneys
  • Vents

Material inspection

Since the structural inspection doesn’t focus on what the roof is actually made of, this aspect hones in on the materials themselves. The inspector will check the roofing materials (such as shingles, clay, metal plating, and slate) for cracks, leaks, rust, moss, water damage, or any other impairment.

Interior inspection

As suggested by the name, an interior inspection examines the inside of your roof for damage not visible from the outside. This inspection involves checking the attic, ceiling, and walls to look for damage such as:

  • Rot
  • Mold
  • Water stains
  • Holes
  • Cracks

Additionally, the inspector will examine the attic for any signs of pests like rats or squirrels.

Interpreting the results of an inspection

After all aspects of the inspection are complete, the inspector will compile a comprehensive report. While the exact nature of what the report covers may vary from company to company, they generally will list:

  • Any signs of damage they discovered and their location
  • The roof’s overall condition
  • Any concerns that the roof might be failing
  • An estimation of how much longer they expect the roof to last
  • Any repairs they recommend
  • A price estimate, if a repair company performed the inspection

The inspector will provide you with a copy of their report, and ideally will give you a tour to show you any damage they may have found around your home.

What is the cost of roof inspection services?

The cost of a roof inspection will depend on several factors like the location, service, and company. Your cost will range from $75 to as high as $600, but you can expect to pay around $220 on average.

If your roof is steep or the inspector finds it unsafe to walk on, you may need a drone inspection, which will range from $150 to $400. In a drone inspection, a drone will fly around the exterior of your home to take photos and videos of your roof.

Those looking for a more comprehensive roof inspection may consider an infrared inspection. Though they tend to be more expensive, about $400 – $600, they can find damage that regular inspections won’t. For example, a crack in your waterproofing that’s too small to see could cause moisture to seep into your insulation. Without an infrared moisture survey, you can’t tell that this water damage is occurring.

An annual professional roof inspection is recommended to ensure your roof is sound, free of pests, and without toxins. It might feel like a lot of money, but it’s nothing compared to $15,000+ to replace your full roof due to undetected damage. More importantly, leaving a damaged roof unattended can be dangerous to your home and family. So get a routine professional roof inspection for the safety of those in your home.