Walking a roof slope - how steep?

I’m curious to know if this were a question on a survey, what would your answer be?

Question: What is the steepest roof slope you feel comfortable to routinely walk on and inspect, without the need for a harness, ropes or any other special equipment, on a beautiful sunny day?

I’ll climb any ladder and walk on a flat roof no problem. I won’t walk on sloped roofs anymore, unless I see a D-ring I can hook up to. Simple as that. If another inspector wants to walk a pitched roof, have at it. But no more for me. Without fall protection, it’s not worth the risk imho. At my age it takes too long to recover from injuries sustained in a squat rack, let alone from a fall from a roof.


6/12. I dont like walking steeper. Getting up is easy, getting back down, not so much.


You answered your own question.


It depends on a number of factors other than just slope of the roof. But in general anything up to 6/12 is often my comfort range. On occasion I have went up an 8/12, but I usually don’t like to climb those.


Before purchasing a drone at the beginning of this year, it was 8/12 without a valley and 10/12 with valleys. These changes depending on the temperature of the roof. This year I have walked one roof and that was a 4/12.

I really have not had a problem with feeling comfortable with being on the roof. My concern was always getting on and off the ladder. It is where I feel it gives you the biggest change of an accident taking place. Not only for personal injury, but for damaging property as well.


^^ This ^^


Christopher, thanks for participating. However, the nature of a survey question is to consider answers that are inherently different than my own. The objective of the question is to focus attention on other inspector’s comfort level, not mine.

I totally agree Jeff. That transition to and from the roof is the most dangerous.

I am always nervous about the ladder sliding when getting off, especially when using a telescoping ladder. (even a strong wind can make it slide) I try to tie off the top if possible and/or tie off midway up the ladder using straps and the screw in dog anchors if possible.


But we don’t know you.

You might be a former tight-rope walker or Navy seal, with incredible roof climbing capabilities. Or you may have the proverbial “two-left-feet” syndrome, and have difficulty using a step-stool.

There is no one answer to that question, and relying on someone else’s “comfort level” can be dangerous.


Knowing me, my abilities or comfort level are all irrelevant points to the purpose of this survey question.
Obviously, there will be more than one answer to a survey question; its a survey. I agree that it would not be wise for one to rely on another’s comfort level in determining one’s own, and for that reason it is not the intent of the question.

how do you guys add a signature to your posts?

Just because you asked a question doesn’t mean there is an answer, it isn’t as cut & dry as you want it to be.

Shingle roof?
Metal roof?
Tile roof ? (Clay or concrete?)
Wood shake/shingle roof?
Slate roof?
Membrane roof?

Roof age?
Roof condition?
Etc. Etc.

A poor condition shingle roof that is “slippery” (loss of minerals/granules) has a different answer than a brand new shingle roof that provides better traction.


Like others have mentioned, there are many factors other than slope that I consider before deciding to mount a roof. To answer your question, 6/12 is about my comfort limit. But, I also am not comfortable climbing the ladder past 1.5 stories, despite slope. If it is taller than that, out comes the sUAS and/or camera pole and/or binoculars. I am going home to my family at the end of the inspection if I can help it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Maybe you should clear that up and explain what the actual purpose of this survey is.

Anybody can walk on a 2x4 flat on the ground but put it up 8’ or so and see how you do. You will most likely lose your balance. :thinking:

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With all due respect Christopher, the question is pretty clear so long as the reader isn’t reading more into the question than it asks. This is not a tricky “gotcha” question. And when we’re speaking about personal comfort levels, there can be no right or wrong answer because our limits are very subjective.

As I read through the majority of responses, I notice that most people eluded to other variables (like you did) but then (unlike you) they offered what they would consider to be comfortable for themselves. Somehow the majority of respondents were able to contribute to the forum without having the need for further elaboration of the question, and they did so without having to be condescending or snarky.

I have no disagreement with all of the valid variables you and others mentioned, which we should all take into consideration as we negotiate our individual comfort levels climbing a roof. So thank you for taking the the time to itemize those.

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That’s the worst part about the telescope ladders. When possible I always try and place it in a corner so I’m pushing off with the ladder against the adjacent eave.

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