General roof inspection question for all levels of inspectors

I’m still in the learning phase, not practicing yet. Just wondering, is it more widely expected that you walk on every roof, if not most? InterNACHI courses and SOP suggest that you should inspect from ground level or from the eaves, Ben has said in numerous videos you shouldn’t walk on tiles, etc. so as a beginner, they clearly give off the impression not to walk on roofs. However, most videos I’ve seen, including of Ben himself, are of inspectors walking on roofs (including certain tiles). Is this just like a “tell them not to for legal reasons but they will know that they have to and we won’t be held responsible for telling them to” kind of thing?

Lastly, and this is somewhat unrelated, but when you inspect roof covering of say asphalt shingles for example, and you find an under driven fastener or even one that came out of the shingle, do you fasten it in and/or replace that nail for good practice reasons or do you just note it and leave the nail out leaving potential for greater damage if you leave it out?

Thanks for your time. I just can’t see value in a roof inspection without getting up there and touching, moving tiles, jiggling caps, etc.

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That may be part of it, Frank, but mostly it is for safety. If you feel safe, and will not damage the roof e.g. clay tiles, e.g. too steep, e.g. ice, etc., then YOU can make a decision to walk on the roof.

If there was just one or two, I may fasten it back in. But, if there is a bunch, I would note it in my report and move on.


As stated on numerous threads in this forum its up to your comfort level if you walk a roof. Some roofs are too steep, some are fragile materials (slate, wood shingles, clay tiles) or in poor condition to safely walk upon.


Hi Frank, if you don’t have experience on walking slopes at heights you shouldn’t be learning on a seller/buyers roof. Real embarrassing when you go tumbling off. Since you are in the learning process find a contractor or roofer that you can pick there brain or even work part time and get some hands on training. There’s far more to a roofing system than you can learn from an online class. The experience will help you understand what you are looking at and what to feel for as you walk a roof. Good luck with your learning let us know how your progressing

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Hi Frank, as for the nailing, last guy to touch it owns it. You are there to report what you observe not repair. Don’t be the guy that gets stuck with the repair bill.


You can walk on any roof you’re comfortable walking, with exceptions. Don’t walk on any Slate, and don’t walk on old tile, especially old clay tile. Be careful about walking metal roofs. If you really want to learn about inspecting roofs, take InterNACHI’s Roof Inspection Video courses, not the outdated 16-year-old required written course. Complete those video courses and you’ll know your stuff.


Good point. Thank you.