Roof inspections often fall by the wayside until a leak springs up or shingles start flying off. But here’s the thing: waiting for a major problem can be a costly mistake.

Roof inspections are like checkups for your house. They help catch small issues before they snowball into big (and expensive) repairs. Plus, many homeowners worry that roof inspectors are just salespeople pushing unnecessary replacements.

The truth is, a professional roof inspection can give you peace of mind and save you money in the long run.

Inspector checking roof shingles with tools on sunny day

What Is A Roof Inspection?

Think of your roof as the superhero protecting your home from the elements. But just like any superhero, even the best roofs need a check-up sometimes. That’s where a roof inspection comes in!

Imagine it as a thorough exam for your roof. A qualified inspector will take a close look at everything from your shingles to your flashing (those special strips that seal around edges and chimneys). Their goal? To make sure your roof is in tip-top shape and doing its job properly.

Why should you get a roof inspection? 

Inspectors are like detectives, searching for hidden problems before they turn into major headaches (and expenses) for you. They’ll take a close look at everything from your shingles (the outermost layer) to the flashing (those special metal strips that keep water out) and the underlayment (the hidden layer that protects from leaks).

There are a few key reasons:

  • Spot hidden problems before they become BIG problems: A small leak today can turn into a major headache (and expense!) tomorrow. An inspection can catch these issues early so you can fix them quickly and easily. 
  • Know when it’s time to replace your roof: Roofs don’t last forever. An inspection will help you estimate how much life your roof has left and give you a heads-up on when it might be time for a replacement. 
  • Peace of mind: There’s nothing quite like knowing your home is safe and secure. A clean bill of health from a roof inspection can give you that peace of mind.

Beyond the basics 

Roof inspections aren’t just about catching leaks. Inspectors will also look for things like:

  • Storm damage: Those strong winds and heavy rains can take a toll on your roof. An inspection can help identify any damage before it leads to bigger problems. 
  • Selling or buying a home? An inspection is often required when buying or selling a house. It gives everyone involved peace of mind about the condition of the roof. 
  • Routine maintenance: Just like you get your car serviced regularly, your roof needs some TLC too. Regular inspections can help you stay ahead of any minor issues before they become major repairs.

Roofer inspecting shingles on a residential roof

What Exactly Are Roofers Looking For When They Climb Onto Your Roof? 

We’re here to shed some light on this mystery. Here are the key things a roofer should inspect, no matter the reason for the inspection:

  • Shingle Showdown: Roofers will become shingle detectives, meticulously examining the condition of your shingles. They’ll be on the lookout for missing shingles, cracked or curled ones, and any sneaky signs of wear and tear. 
  • Flashing Facts: Flashing is like the hidden superhero of your roof, directing water away from vulnerable areas. During the inspection, the roofer will check the flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights for any cracks, rust, or loose spots. 
  • The Gutter Game: Your gutters might not be part of the roof itself, but they play a vital role in keeping water flowing away from your home. A good inspection will include checking the gutters for clogs, leaks, and proper drainage. 
  • Under the Weather: Roofers don’t just focus on the surface. They’ll also take a peek underneath the roof (usually from the attic) to look for signs of moisture damage, mold growth, and proper ventilation.

How Many Layers Does Your Roof Have?

Ever wondered what a roofer does when they climb up on your roof? One of the first things they check is the number of layers your roof already has. This might seem unimportant, but it actually plays a big role in two key situations:

  • Roof Replacement:  Thinking about getting a new roof? The number of existing layers affects the cost estimate. If you have just one layer, it’s a simpler job compared to a roof with three layers that need to be ripped off first. 
  • Leak Repairs:  Dealing with a pesky roof leak? Knowing how many layers you have helps pinpoint the source of the problem faster. Fewer layers mean a more straightforward path for the inspector to track down the leak.

Here’s the Catch:  While you might see older houses with roofs sporting three or four layers, most building codes only allow a maximum of two layers for safety reasons, especially related to fire. So, if your roof already has two layers, a complete tear-off and replacement might be necessary.

Bottom Line:  The number of layers on your roof is an important piece of information, both for planning a roof replacement and for diagnosing leaks.  Knowing this beforehand can save you time, money, and frustration!

Does Your Roof Have Drip Edges?

Ever wondered about those thin strips of metal along the edges of your roof? Those are called drip edges, and they play a crucial role in keeping your home safe from water damage.

Next time you have your roof inspected (and hey, regular inspections are important!), the roofer will likely check for a few key things, including the number of shingle layers. But they’ll also be looking for something else – drip edges.

Why Are Drip Edges So Important?

Think of your drip edge as a tiny rain gutter for the edge of your roof. When it rains, water naturally runs off the shingles. The drip edge catches this water and diverts it away from the wooden board underneath –  the fascia – and down towards your gutters. This helps to prevent water from seeping under the shingles and causing potential leaks or rot.

Building Code And Drip Edges 

Drip edges are so important that they’re actually required by building codes in most areas. This means that if your roof doesn’t have drip edges, or if they’re not installed correctly, your home might not pass a building inspection.

Taking action: Keeping your roof healthy

So, what can you do? If you’re unsure whether your roof has drip edges, or if you’re thinking about getting a roof inspection, be sure to ask the professional about them. Drip edges are a simple but vital part of a healthy roof, and they can help save you money on repairs down the road.

Condition of your Roof Deck

Your roof is your home’s shield from the elements, and the roof deck acts like the strong bones underneath it all. But how do you know if that hidden layer is healthy?

Here’s the thing: while a professional roofer can check for some signs of trouble during a regular inspection, they can’t see the deck itself without removing some shingles. That might sound scary, but there are ways to get a good idea of your roof deck’s health without getting on the roof yourself.

Why Does Roof Deck Health Matter? 

Imagine your roof deck as a platform holding up all the shingles and other roofing materials. If it gets weak or rotten, it can’t properly support the weight, leading to leaks, sagging, and even bigger problems down the road.

Signs of a Potentially Rotten Roof Deck (Even from the Ground)

  • Missing or damaged shingles: Shingles are the first line of defense against rain and moisture. If they’re cracked, loose, or missing altogether, it could be a sign that water is getting through and potentially rotting the deck underneath. 
  • Sagging in your roof: This can be a major red flag, especially if it’s noticeable from inside your house. A sagging roof could mean the deck is struggling to hold everything up. 
  • Water stains or mold growth in your attic: If you see dark spots or mold in your attic, it’s a strong hint that water is leaking through somewhere and potentially causing deck rot.

What to Do If You Think Your Deck Might Be Rotten

If you’re noticing any of these warning signs, it’s time to call in a professional roofer. They can do a thorough inspection and let you know if the deck needs repairs or replacement. Remember, dealing with a rotten deck early on can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run!

All About Roofing Materials

A big part of the inspection focuses on the roofing material itself – that’s the stuff that makes up the outer layer of your roof, taking the brunt of the weather.

Inspecting the condition of this roofing material is key for understanding two important things: how much longer your roof can last, and if there are any problems that need fixing now.

Here’s what a roof inspector will typically focus on when examining your roofing material:

  • Missing or Damaged Shingles: These are like little warning signs. Missing shingles expose the underlayment (the layer beneath the shingles) to the elements, which can lead to leaks. Damaged shingles, with cracks or curling edges, might not be far behind going missing altogether. 
  • Granule Loss: Those tiny pebbles you see on shingles? Those are granules, and they play a crucial role. They protect the asphalt underneath from the sun’s rays. If the inspector sees a lot of loose granules or bald spots, it could mean the shingles are nearing the end of their lifespan. 
  • Moss or Algae Growth: While it might look green and natural, moss and algae growth can trap moisture under the shingles, breaking them down faster. The inspector will check for this and recommend ways to remove it if needed. 
  • Flashing Issues: Flashing is the thin metal used around chimneys, vents, and other roof penetrations. It creates a watertight seal to prevent leaks.  The inspector will look for any cracks, rust, or separation in the flashing, as these can be prime spots for water to sneak in.

Roof Penetrations, Chimneys, And Skylights

Roofs aren’t blankets – they have some stuff poking through! These are called roof penetrations, and they include things like chimneys, vents, and even skylights. While they serve a purpose, they can also be sneaky culprits for leaks if not properly sealed.

That’s where roof inspections come in. Think of it like a checkup for your roof. Inspectors take a close look at all the penetrations, including your chimney (if you have one) and skylights, to make sure they’re watertight. They’ll check the flashing (special seals around the penetrations) for damage and make sure everything is buttoned up to keep the rain out.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Roof Penetrations: Anything poking through your roof, like vents or chimneys. 
  • Leak Prevention: Keeping water out by making sure penetrations are properly sealed. 
  • Roof Inspection: A checkup for your roof, including checking penetrations for leaks.

What Roof Flashing Does and Why It Matters During Inspections

Your roof keeps your home safe and dry, but it’s not just the shingles doing all the work. Hidden beneath the shingles lies a network of metal strips called roof flashing. This flashing acts like a superhero’s cape, shielding those weak spots where your roof meets walls, chimneys, or dips into valleys. Leaks love these areas, but properly installed flashing stops water in its tracks and diverts it away from your home.

So, how do you know your flashing superhero is on the job? This is where roof inspections come in. Here’s what inspectors look for when they check your roof flashing:

  • Rust Busters: Flashing is usually made of tough metal, but even superheroes can get rusty over time. Inspectors will examine the flashing for signs of rust, which can weaken the metal and create leaks. 
  • Metal Muscle: A good inspector will also check if the flashing is bent, cracked, or damaged in any way. Just like a torn cape, weak flashing won’t protect your home as well as it should.

If your roof flashing needs to be replaced, don’t worry! Replacing the flashing is usually part of the process when getting a whole new roof.

Gutters and Downspouts

During a roof inspection, it’s not just the shingles that get the once-over. Inspectors also take a close look at your gutters and downspouts, even though they aren’t technically part of the roof itself. Here’s why:

  • Clogged Up? No Drainage: A roof inspector will check for any blockages in your gutters, like leaves, twigs, or even debris from your roof. Clogged gutters can’t properly drain rainwater, which can lead to problems down the road. 
  • Cracks and Leaks? Not Good: The inspector will also be on the lookout for cracks or open seams in your gutters. These can cause leaks, which can damage your roof, siding, and even your foundation. 
  • Standing Water? Time to Tilt: Inspectors will check to see if water is pooling in your gutters. This is a sign that they aren’t tilted correctly, and rainwater isn’t flowing away from your house like it should.

By checking your gutters and downspouts during a roof inspection, you can catch small problems before they become big – and expensive – repairs. So, when you schedule your next roof inspection, be sure to ask if gutter cleaning and inspection are included!

Attic Ventilation

Your attic might seem like an out-of-sight, out-of-mind space, but it actually plays a big role in keeping your whole house happy and healthy. Proper ventilation in your attic is key to preventing major headaches down the road, for both your roof and your wallet.

Here’s the skinny:

  • Think of your attic like a hidden oven: In summer, without ventilation, all that hot air gets trapped up there, baking your roof deck and shingles. This can shorten their lifespan dramatically, leading to expensive repairs sooner than later. 
  • Stagnant air loves moisture: In winter, that trapped hot air meets the cooler air from your living space, causing condensation. This moisture can lead to mold growth, which can damage your roof structure and even make your family sick. Plus, nobody wants a musty attic. 
  • High energy bills: It might be your attic. A poorly ventilated attic forces your air conditioning unit to work overtime to keep your home cool in the summer. Proper ventilation helps keep the attic temperature down, saving you money on your energy bills.

How to Check Your Attic Ventilation

The good news is, checking your attic ventilation is often part of a routine roof inspection. A qualified roofer will climb up there to take a look and make sure everything is venting properly. They’ll also be able to spot any signs of moisture damage, like discoloration on the underside of your roof deck.

Roof inspector examining shingles on a suburban home

Need a Roof Inspection? How Long to Expect It to Take

Thinking about getting your roof checked out? You might be wondering how long the inspection itself will take. The good news is, most roof inspections are pretty quick! But, there are a few things that can affect how long the inspector is up on your roof.

Generally, a roof inspection will take somewhere between 1 and 2 hours.  This is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. However, there are a few reasons you might need an inspection, and each can influence the timeframe:

  • Standard Inspection: If you’re just getting a general checkup to see if your roof needs repairs or replacement, the inspector will likely be there for 1-2 hours. This gives them enough time to thoroughly examine the roof’s condition and any potential problems. 
  • Complex Roof Design: Got a fancy roof with lots of angles and steep slopes? This can add some extra time to the inspection. The inspector needs to be safe and navigate carefully, so it might take a bit longer to get a good look at everything. 
  • Multiple Story Roof: If your home has multiple stories, the inspector will need to take extra safety precautions to access the roof. This can add some time to the process. 
  • Storm Damage Inspection: If you suspect storm damage, the inspection will likely take longer. The inspector will need to document the damage to your roof, as well as any damage to other parts of your property. This extra documentation step can extend the inspection time. 
  • Leak Repair Inspection: If you have a leak, the inspection process might be a little different. The inspector will need to find the source of the leak, which could involve some additional investigation. In some cases, they might even be able to make a minor repair on the spot. This can add some variability to the overall time.

Inspector examining roof details

How Much Does A Roof Inspection Cost?

Keeping your house in tip-top shape is important, and that includes your roof! But how much does it cost to have a professional check it out? Let’s break down the typical costs for a roof inspection and what can affect the price tag.

Generally, a standard roof inspection will run you anywhere from $120 to $400. This range depends on the roofing company you choose, but most fall within this ballpark. However, there’s more to consider than just a flat fee.

Why you need an inspection can impact the cost.  If you suspect a leak and need help tracking it down, some companies might charge a service fee for the inspection on top of the repair cost.

On the flip side, if your roof needs replacing entirely, many companies will offer a free inspection when they provide a quote. This is because they see it as a potential sale.

Here’s the takeaway: For a standard roof inspection, expect to pay somewhere between $120 and $400. But remember, the reason for the inspection can influence the final price.

Pro Tip: Get quotes from several roofing companies before making a decision. This way, you can compare prices and find the best deal for your needs


Regular roof inspections are essential for maintaining a healthy and safe home. They can identify minor problems before they become major issues, saving you money on repairs and preventing costly water damage.  Having a professional inspect your roof can give you peace of mind and extend the lifespan of your roof. Don’t wait until you have a leak to schedule a roof inspection – it’s a wise investment in your home.