Do home inspectors really walk on roofs? You bet, they do! The roof of any building, including residential ones, is the first line of defense against brutal elements. When the roof is in great shape, the home is off to a good start. When it’s not, trouble is afoot.
If the idea of walking the roof gives you a bit of a fright, you might not need to worry for very long. With drone technology, roof inspections could be a lot simpler and easier for every inspector. Until then, it’s time to make friends with the ladder and find a great pair of work shoes that offer plenty of traction.
What Makes Roof Inspections So Important
Any issue with the roof puts the entire home in jeopardy. A leak can be bold and obvious or it might be an insidious little drip that goes unnoticed for so long that it causes major damage over time. The shingles or other roofing material, such as tiles or metal roofing, create a shell that sheds water. But all that it takes is one point of entry to turn a rainstorm into an indoor flood.
Inspecting the roof also gives you an idea about its age, which is important information for the customer. Roofing usually has a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years, and some last much longer. But when it’s time to replace, it’s a major investment. And if the roof condition is very poor, the customer might face a lot of difficulties finding homeowner insurance coverage.
Common Defects that You Might Find
The roof covering is the most obvious part of this part of a home inspection, but there are many other elements that make up the whole roof system. Most roofs have vents from plumbing and gas appliances, which are potential leak sources. Ridge vents are part of the inspection, as well. Chimneys and other roof penetrations, such as skylights, are included, but a full chimney inspection is usually an ancillary service.
Flashing, gutters, and downspouts protect the home from uncontrolled runoff, which could otherwise damage siding and even flood the crawlspace or basement. If a gutter slopes the wrong direction or flashing is inferior or missing, water may spill over and negate the gutter’s purpose altogether.
Reasons Not to Walk the Roof
Although walking the roof is part of a thorough job, home inspectors are never asked to risk life and limb. There really are times when a complete roof inspection isn’t possible, such as after a heavy snow or ice storm or during heavy rains.
If it’s not safe, don’t walk the roof. It’s that simple. If the roof covering is in poor condition or the structure is sagging, it’s not worth the risk. That said, drone technology could make safety issues a thing of the past. Using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, inspectors can get up-close-and-personal without ever climbing a ladder. ICA School now has a module on “Inspecting with Drones.” You won’t find that with any of the top online competitor schools.
People notice the front door, the landscaping and even the color of the siding. But roofing gets so little attention, especially considering the critical role that it plays in protecting the entire structure. Roof inspections matter. That’s why inspectors walk the roof.
Are you still just thinking about ICA School training? This is a great time to climb that ladder to success. We’ve just added a full module on drone technology that could make your job safer and much more efficient. Get a free course demo today and see what makes our program so much better.