Walking the roofI am a new Home Inspector. Of the many topic

Originally Posted By: bsmith
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I am a new Home Inspector. Of the many topics I have studied and discussed, none raises as much controversy as the subject of walking the roof for inspection. Some inspectors insist that walking the roof (when conditions allow) is the only way to inspect a roof. Others say that it?s unnecessary under most circumstances. It damages already worn roofs and is dangerous for many reasons. A Spectoscope is not a possibility for me at this point. Your thoughts?

Originally Posted By: jhorton
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I will be first. I always walk the roof. There are too many things I find that I simply can not see from a ladder. Of course assuming the roof is not to steep. Also composite shingles are the norm in our area.

For example I found a leak caused by a nail driven through the roof shingles. I assume it was to tie off an antenna at one time. I constantly find improperly installed vent pipe flashings, flashings at the chimneys and roof intersections.

Now, if the roof shingles were badly curled and very obvious that they were worn out I probably wouldn't walk on it. If it was obviously worn out why bother? Plus it could cause a leak or something.

Now as for wood shingle, clay tile or some other kind of roof, I don't know anything about them. They are rare in our area.

Jeff <*\\><
The man who tells the truth doesn't have to remember what he said.

Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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Hi Bill

I basically agree with Jeff, if the roof needs evaluation by are roofing contractor, and that can be seen from the ground or eves then I see no good reason to walk it. Howver also in agreement with Jeff there is so much that you cannot possibly see from the ground, for instance the crickey behind the chimney, and I also where possible want to inspect the chimney stack both externaly and internally so basically I need to be up there anyway. Personally I’d rather not have to do it but I guess it goes with the teritory.


Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail : education@nachi.org
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: Rusty Rothrock
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Bill -

I agree 100% with Jeff and Gerry. If the roof can be walked, I walk it. I have also used the fact that I walk roofs as a marketing tool. As you may or may not know, the majority of inspectors do not walk roofs. Many of my realtors started using me initially because I walked the roofs.

So if you too are going to walk roofs, "shout it from the rooftops" and use it as a marketing tool with the realtors in your area. The professional and successful realtors always want the best possible home inspection for their clients and they know that walking a roof is the only way to see everything.

Best Regards,

Rusty Rothrock
Richmond, VA

Originally Posted By: Nick Gromicko
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If you walk some roofs and find that "many of your REALORs started using you initially because you walked the roofs", then perhaps include a picture of yourself walking a roof on your next brochure/flyer. This marketing success tip brought to you by Rusty Rothrock.


Originally Posted By: bsmith
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All great replies. Thanks guys! Bill

Originally Posted By: Bob Sonneson
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After 2600 inspections I still walk every roof that is safe and feel there is no way to properly inspect any roof with out walking on it. If I can not walk it because of weather or pitch I clearly state in report that it was not walked and reason why I could not walk it.

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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After watching my neighbor bounce after he hit the ground, from falling off his LADDER, I’m extra careful with regard to laddering any structure. The bottom line is if, for any reason, I feel uncomfortable about laddering any home, or climbing up on a roof, I just wont do it. My life is worth more than the cost of the inspection, or the cost of repairing a roof. Period.

You can get a pretty accurate feel, literally, for the condition a roof is in from the eaves. If the roof looks older, is a bit brittle, some curling or cupping, and the gutters have just been cleaned, I may not get up on it. I nearly slid off a roof recently, when the granules started coming off under my feet. Gutters were spotless. Roof appeared to have some granular loss, but not too bad. Granules wouldnt come off where I could reach with my hands. So, I went up. I didn't think the pitch was too bad, but the granules let loose under my weight on a section, and I was lucky to have landed on my a$$ up there rather than take a header off the roof altogether.

So, use your heads when deciding to go onto a roof. It IS the best way to inspect, but only YOU can decide when and if its right to climb. Lots of factors go into that decision, including pitch of the roof, temperature, humidity, wind, rain, snow, ice (are we kidding on these last two?!!), mold, granule loss, gutters, visual condition of the roof, loads of granules observed in the gutters (there's your first hint that things may suck), and let's not forget the condition of the ground.

Be safe!!!