Roof pitch To walk or not to walk

What slope should walking a roof not be conducted if you generally walk a roof?


b) Home inspectors are not required to:

  1. Offer warranties or guarantees of any kind;
  2. Calculate the strength, adequacy, or efficiency of any system or component;
  3. Enter any area or perform any procedure that may damage the property or its
    components or be dangerous to or adversely affect the health or safety of the
    home inspector or other persons;

Slope is only one of many factors. For me, it’s what conditions would prevent me from walking a roof?
Granular loss
Bacterium or other surface growth
Weather conditions
Level on the butt clinching scale


Also what is under the roof covering. I.E. asphalt shingles nailed over wood singles installed on stripping or on rotted osb, etc.

Another good one is metal roofing made to look like shakes. You can’t step on that without damaging it.


I agree with all of what is already said, and do not go beyond your comfort. You will become a liability quickly…However, do push your comfort level slowly. Over time, it will become more natural to mount the roof and dismount the roof and you will know your personal limit quickly.
I feel that walking is best, but I do fly the drone (licensed) for some of the homes I do and also use a camera pole when the drone is not allowed (by airports or the rain). You would be surprised by what you can get with a good drone and practice of getting safely close to items on the roof. It is a great second option versus saying you just cannot observe the roof.
When I first started I hated anything above a 4:12, but now am pretty comfortable on anything at an 8:12. It takes time to get there…Practice on your own home and try a friends.


I walk most roofs - concrete tile, asphalt etc., I’m physically capable and feel I’m providing a better service to get up and take a look. I had one yesterday close to 6/12 but the roof was comp and not much granule loss, I was able to zip up the valley and notice some temp patches/repairs.

I don’t fault HI’s for not wanting to walk steep roofs or concrete tile, everyone has their own comfort level.

What I do think is a pile of garbage for service is seeing a report where a single story, 4/12 roof was inspected “from ground by pole” or something like that, and pics are a sunny day, no snow/ice/water etc. on roof.

I think these are the kinds of things that consumers should know prior to getting service but hey, that’s just one guy :wink:

Stay safe and within your comfort zone, but I like to feel like I’m worth what people are paying me for and providing a service.


If the roof is steep enough that it makes you nervous or feel unsafe or unstable, don’t do it. Stay safe.


The picture makes it look more scary than is is you mountain goat, you, Bert. :rofl:


We typically walk anything that can be accessed with a 6’ stepladder and is under 4/12 pitch

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Access is often my biggest factor - if I can jump up on a low-slope part and then crawl up a steeper part I’m often able to go pretty steep but getting off a ladder onto a 5 or 6:12 is pretty sketchy. And, as others have said, the condition of the roof plays a big role. Loose granules are no fun. Wet/dry, covered with moss or leaves are all factors too. Really, there’s no hard rule other than what YOU feel safe doing given the conditions that day.

Mike Casey had a funny opinion on this that I heard in a class he was teaching - He said every time he turns a decade older he takes one # off what he’ll walk. Turn 60 - no steeper than a 5:12, etc. Sounds good to me! And ironically I just turned 50 and hadn’t thought of it in this context yet (still trying to cope with the fact that I’m 50!!).

True, and dismounting is even worse!


The new guys always found that out on their first or second trip off the roof in my construction daze. :sweat_smile:

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Yeah, that is so true. I’m sure it’s happened to all of us getting up the top of a roof then realizing you have to get down! :slight_smile:

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