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Our 2024 Guide to Roof Inspections

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Author Icon By Angela Bunt Updated 01/14/2024

A roof inspection is a vital part of home maintenance, whether you’re buying a new home or performing preventative maintenance. Regular inspections can extend the lifespan of your roof, enhance the curb appeal and value of your home, and help you avoid the cost of repairing a roof or roof replacement expenses. Below, we’ll cover the ins and outs of roof inspection and prepare you to hire a professional inspector.

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Roof shingles with garret house on top of the house among a lot of trees. dark asphalt tiles on the roof background
Asphalt Shingle Roofing

The cost of asphalt shingle roof installation can range from $5,994–$9,791.

Man working on a flat roof
Roof Repair

Typically, the average cost of roof repair ranges between $379 and $1,755

House With a Metal Roof
Metal Roofing

A new metal roof costs an average of $9,150–$16,743.


What Is a Roof Inspection?

A roof inspection is an examination of your roofing system by a licensed inspector. The inspector will check all components of your roof to determine whether it requires fixing or if you need a new roof.

Homes require regular roof repairs to function correctly, and an inspection ensures timely resolution to issues. If you’re buying or selling a home, an inspection is a helpful tool to determine a roof’s quality and projected lifespan.

What Does a Roof Inspector Look For?

A roof inspector will examine every component of your roof, including its structure and materials and its condition from your home’s interior. Here are the major components of an inspection:
Interior inspection: Roof damage isn’t always visible from the outside. The inspector will check your home’s ceilings, attic, and interior walls for water staining, holes, mold, rot, and pests in the attic.
Material inspection: The inspector will look for signs of damage in shingles, metal panels, tiles, and components underneath your roofing material. The inspector will also examine your roof for staining, moss, water damage, and missing shingles.
Structural inspection: An inspector will look for signs of sagging and uneven planes. They will also examine the conditions of the soffit, fascia, and gutter systems. A structural inspection will include checks for visible signs of damage in chimneys or skylights.

When Should You Have Your Roof Inspected?

The age of your roof, visible damage, and weather conditions in your area inform how frequently you should get your roof inspected. Every property should be inspected annually, ideally before a looming wet season.

Don’t neglect routine checks. The number one cause of roof issues is the lack of or deferred roof maintenance, according to the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA).

Age of the Roof

When determining how long a roof will last, know that an older roof or one with damage will require more frequent maintenance and care. However, new and old roofs require professional inspection.

Weather Conditions

Your insurance company may require a roof inspection if you file a claim due to storm damage, in which case the insurance company will likely send their own roofing professional. Approximately 30% of insurance claims relate to roof leaks and water intrusion, according to the NRCIA.

Signs of Leaks or Damage

Every property should undergo a roof inspection if there’s an active leak. Leaking roofs can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to any home’s interior or structure. Here are some common signs of roof damage:

  • Dripping sounds
  • Ice dams
  • Missing, loose, or damaged roofing materials
  • Mold or mildew
  • Pooling water
  • Water stains on the ceilings or walls

Purchase or Sale of Home

Every property in escrow should undergo a roof inspection for disclosure purposes. More than 85% of homes are sold with roof damage or leaks, according to the NRCIA.

The average roof inspection costs $226, but homeowners typically spend between $125 and $342. Cost varies depending on the size of your roof, roofing material, your roof’s slope, and accessibility. An inspector’s specialty tools or methods may also add to the overall cost.

Cost data in this article was sourced from HomeAdvisor.

Some inspectors charge more to examine larger roofs or charge you per square foot. Certain roofing materials, such as slate or tile, require more expertise to inspect, which may increase an inspection’s cost.

Steep roofs may require specialty tools to access, which will increase inspection costs.

Physical inspections are the standard for roofs, but some homes require in-depth inspections. An inspector may charge an additional fee for inspections that take longer.

A standard physical inspection costs between $75 and $200, which typically includes a certified pro using a ladder and examining the roof’s condition and materials in person. If your roof is too difficult to access, you may need to pay $150 to $400 for a drone roof inspection.

The most expensive type of inspection is an infrared roof inspection, which costs between $400 and $600. Infrared technology allows inspectors to look for damage that’s invisible to the naked eye.

How To Hire a Pro

We always recommend hiring a certified professional to perform your roof inspection. Here’s the best way to approach the hiring process:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Get cost estimates in writing.
  • Get quotes from at least three inspectors.
  • Look up the roof inspector on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and similar sites, and check for any serious complaints.
  • Make sure the inspector is certified and their state license is up to date.

What To Expect From the Roof Inspection Process

Clear your schedule and clean any debris and obstructions in the way of the roof before the inspector arrives. The instructor will look for leaks, wear and tear, damage, and other problems that could affect the structural integrity and condition of your roof. Here’s a step-by-step process:
The inspector will examine the roof covering, gutters, downspouts, and other penetrations from the ground level. They’ll check for sagging or unevenness in the roof’s structure and possible damage to the decking.
The inspector will use a ladder to get a closer look at the roof’s structural support and the condition of the roofing material. They’ll look for visible signs of damage, missing or cracked shingles, and damaged gutters.
The inspector will check chimneys, vents, and skylights for leaks, cracks, or deterioration.
The inspector will go inside the home to inspect the roof’s interior and look for signs of damage on your home’s interior ceiling and walls.

The entire inspection can take anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours, depending on the size of your roof, accessibility, roofing materials, and whether the inspector needs to check the attic. Inspectors will send you a full report of their findings, which may include a summary of what was checked and found, including pictures. The inspector will list recommended repairs and include related estimates.

Our Conclusion

We recommend scheduling a professional roof inspection once a year as part of your regular preventative maintenance. Check your roof after a big storm for visible damage. If you notice signs of damage, schedule a roof inspection as soon as possible.

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FAQ About Roof Inspections

How do I know if my roof needs replacing?

Leaking, water damage, or a roof that drops and sags are the most obvious signs that you need a roof replacement. The quality of roofing shingles may play an important role in how soon your roof must be fixed or replaced.

How long does a roof inspection take?

The time it takes to properly inspect a roof depends on the size of your roof, your roof’s accessibility, roofing materials, and whether an inspector needs to check the attic. A standard inspection can take as little as 45 minutes. Large, complex roofs that have suffered severe damage could take as long as four hours to check.

Will my insurance cover roof damage?

Insurance may cover roof damage if the damage was caused by a covered peril. Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to verify what’s covered.

What is the difference between a roof inspection and a home inspection?

Roof inspections are more specialized and involve an in-depth inspection of your roofing components.

How can I prevent roof damage?

You can prevent roof damage by getting regular inspections and watching out for potential problems. Trim trees back, remove snow buildup, keep your gutters clean, and clear your roof of debris.

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