Roof Inspection Guide: Everything Homeowners Need To Know in 2024

November 9th, 2020 BY First American Roofing

Recently, we talked about the real cost of cheap roofing companies and some telltale signs that a contractor isn’t worth your time. This is just one small part of what to expect when you get a roof inspection.

First off, here’s a video of Dallas showing us what a proper roof inspection looks like and what can happen when you get a contractor who does an inadequate job. It’s imperative as a homeowner to know what to watch out for and what to expect so you know you are getting the proper inspection done.

If a contractor walks around your home and doesn’t bother to take a look at the roof, you know that they will not provide a high-quality service. However, it takes more than simply hopping up on the roof to know that they will get the job done right.

In this post, we’re going to provide some insight into what a proper roof inspection should consist of and make sure you know all there is to know when it comes to getting your roof inspected. From what to expect to what to watch out for. From how it’s done to how much it should cost and more. As well as what to look for in their estimation summary to determine if they actually looked at your roof.

What is the Purpose of a Roof Inspection?

Homeowners get roof inspections or should get roof inspections for several reasons. First, and probably most widely known, is to get one after a large storm to assess for damage and file an insurance claim. It’s vital to request a roof inspection from both a professional roofer and your insurance appraiser to get an accurate estimate and report. And a good roofer will offer free inspections. Watch out for those storm chasers who come into town after a damaging storm to collect some quick cash and leave.

You don’t have to have incurred damage suddenly, though, to need a roof inspection. You may get one if you plan to sell your house and are looking to get your roof appraised. You will either need to make repairs or replace it, upping the value of your home, or get a clean bill of health.

Lastly, regular roof inspections can catch issues before they become a problem. Some will say that an annual inspection is a good idea. With regular inspections, you can end up with simple repairs like replacing shingles or small leaks rather than facing a catastrophic repair that ends up needing a full replacement. Your roof, just like any other part of your room, requires maintenance and upkeep to keep it in good shape.

Plus, it’s important to protect your investment with thorough inspections and proper repairs.

DIY Roof Inspection vs. Hiring a Professional

When it comes to DIY roof inspections, chances are you may be able to recognize any obvious issues just by looking at your roof from the ground—things like curling or missing shingles and crooked or clogged gutters. If your roof is less than 5 years old, you should be able to manage to do it yourself with regular inspections by looking up at your roof and checking the attic for any leaks.

If your roof is older than that, the expertise of a professional roofer is required. They can do a far more comprehensive inspection by getting up on the roof, and they have the eye to spot things like granule loss or issues with the flashing or chimney that an inexperienced homeowner may not see. Plus, you mitigate risk by not getting up on your roof to inspect it when you don’t know what you’re doing or looking for.

If you do your walk around your property and notice any visual damage to your roof, call a professional right away to get a more comprehensive inspection and an estimate for repairs. Don’t attempt to repair anything yourself. It will be safer and more effective if the pros do it. Plus, you can eliminate the risk of causing more damage yourself.

When to Schedule a Roof Inspection

If you sustain storm damage, you don’t have much choice when you schedule your roof inspection. You need it done fast, and you need it done right. Outside of this situation, there is some strategy when you schedule your roof inspection.

Professionals know that timing is key when it comes to roof inspections. If your roof inspection reveals some needed repairs, but it’s too close to winter and cold weather, you are likely going to have to wait until Spring to get that work done. Frigid temperatures are not only unsafe to work in for roofers, but it can affect how well the roofing material install, so it’s best to avoid winter altogether.

Late summer or early fall is probably the best time to get your roof inspected. You want to make sure that your roof and gutters are in optimal shape before winter sets in to withstand the impending snow and ice. Ice dams can form on roofs that don’t shed properly or are poorly insulated. A roof inspection can catch this and repair it to prevent any further issues.

Also, work on roofs is done in better weather, so if you are actually anticipating a roof repair or replacement, and that’s why you are getting it inspected, get it done much earlier in the year so you can ensure you get the work scheduled before the cold sets in.

How to Find a Roof Inspector

drone view of house roof inspection

When it comes time to find a roofing company to do your inspection, you want to consider a few things. You want to find one with a good reputation and give you an honest, trustworthy review and estimate. A few things you should do as you research roofing companies include:

When you narrow down your list to one or a few roofing companies, it’s time to reach out. You should again ask about warranty options, their safety protocols, their licenses and insurance, and if they offer any guarantees. A good roofer will offer free inspections, willingly share their credentials, and give open and honest feedback when giving you a detailed estimate.

They should also be willing to work with your insurance on your behalf in the event of an insurance claim. These are all traits that you should look for in a roofer for your inspection. If a roofer is not willing to share these things, they may not be trustworthy.

How Much Does a Roof Inspection Cost?

As we’ve said, an excellent roofer is going to offer free roof inspections. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to pay for an inspection for one reason or another, Home Advisor has some average data for how much that may cost.

The average cost of a roof inspection is around $210. Roof replacement costs vary by material.. But they can range from low $100s to low $300s. Depending on the roofer and the situation, they can even go up from there.

professional in the process of roof inspection

What to Expect From a Roof Inspection

When a professional comes to take a look at your roof, you should ensure they check these things off the list as a homeowner. If they don’t, they weren’t as thorough as they should be, and you can ensure these get done.


roof inspection checklist and parts of roof

Inspect the Gutters

The first thing that should be done when doing a roof inspection is looking at the gutters. If your contractor has a detailed report on your roof’s gutter situation, then that is a good sign they know what they are doing.

A contractor should always look at how the gutters are attached. This is because the drip edge cannot be replaced if the gutters are attached through the drip edge.

Besides, if there is a gutter guard, it may need to be removed if a new drip edge is needed, which will cost more time and labor.

While looking at the gutters, the contractor should also take a peek at the underlayments to see what exists there and get an overall better picture of how the roof was initially constructed.

close up to worker inspecting roof gutters

Inspect the Flashing

The flashing is another important detail a contractor should carefully consider when giving an estimate. Without getting up on the roof, they will not be able to tell whether or not it needs to be replaced, as well as what kind of flashing it is.

If the contractor doesn’t bother to check out the flashing, they are no way they can accurately estimate the cost or what the process will be like as a result. Change orders will likely be necessary, which can be a major headache for homeowners.

We always replace the flashing because it is the main entry point for water, and it needs to be kept in great shape. We can not stress enough how important this is. It is a tiny aspect of a roof, but damaged flashing can cause immense damage under the surface. If you see damaged flashing, do what you can to inspect it further and detect the damage that may be lurking under the surface.

Inspect the Skylights — They May Need To Be Replaced

During the time of a re-roof, most skylights will likely need to be replaced. You can expect an 18-22 year life span for an individual skylight, so if the contractor’s recommendation is the opposite of this rule of thumb, make sure you ask them about it.

While your skylight may be working fine now, if it is near the end of its life, it may be easier and more cost-effective to replace it with the rest of your roof. Removing and replacing a skylight is an intrusive process for your roof and is easier to do when you are already in the process of repairing or replacing a damaged roof. Depending on the homeowner, it could be worth including in your estimation – presenting it as an option that would benefit them but not as a requirement.

Look Closely At The Soil Stacks

The contractor should also investigate the soil stacks for any cracks or other issues. This is another small but important detail of the roof that needs to be secure. You don’t want to replace the soil stack boot with a cheap alternative. Here at First American, we use boots that last 50 years because they are made of silicon.

If you notice damage on or around a soil stack, this should be factored into your estimate. While there is a range of replacement options, we opt to invest instead of a quick fix. Reinstalling a soil stack that will go bad before you need to replace your roof again will only cause more problems down the road. Taking the time and money to get this right will save you in the long run.

Chimney Inspection

The chimney is also an area that cannot be properly assessed without being on the roof. This is especially true for ensuring that the chimney has a saddle or cricket that diverts water away from it. Otherwise, during rain or snow, you’ll have the precipitation landing or sliding right into the chimney, which can cause damage and leaks.

If there is damage around or on the chimney, you’ll need to factor that into your estimate. The homeowner will have repair options depending on the kind and scale of damage sustained by the chimney. We recommend talking them through this. Obviously, there will be more expensive and less expensive repair options available. Just make sure they choose something that will work well with the rest of their roof.

Inspect The Attic Closely

Make sure that the contractor looks around your attic as well. Specifically, they should be looking to see how the ventilation is in your attic, as well as if there is any rotten wood on the roof.

A quick look in the attic can tell you a lot about the condition of the roof, as well as the risk its been subjected to in previous years. If there is poor insulation, you should look closely for excess wear on the roof from the additional heat that would leak through. During the winter, this heat can cause serious problems by causing the formation of ice dams. Essentially the snow melts on your roof and runs down, freezing to the end of it.

professional inspecting roof attic

Breaking Down The Estimate

Overall, a contractor’s estimate should include those smaller details in addition to the higher overview information — such as the type of shingles to use, when the job is done by, etc.

Don’t be afraid to question a contractor who didn’t take the time to inspect your roof properly. Your roof is not something you want to settle for when it comes to who you choose to work on. This guide should help you know what you look for, what to expect, and the right questions to ask. Don’t settle for less — protect your investment in your home.

For a high-quality roof inspection, contact First American Roofing and Siding today. We have the experience and knowledge to give you a thorough inspection and accurate estimate and take care of the repairs or replacement the first time.