To Walk, or Not To Walk

To Walk, or Not To Walk

To walk,or not to walk that is the question.  Whether ’tis nobler to use a selfie stick or to climb a ladder.  For who would risk damage or personal dangers.  The slings and arrows of discovery and proper identification is the answer.   We are not sure if this is what William Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote Hamlet but for a home inspector this is one of the first tests they have to take when inspecting a home.

A home inspector is not required to walk a roof.  Most trade organizations, National Associations and state statutes only require the inspector to identify the method used to inspect the roof.  Many clients have the expectation that every roof should be walked.  It is truly up to the inspector to make that determination at every home and during every different condition.


Walking a roof is typically the easiest way to cause damage to it.  If a roof has a significant slope the walking of the roof will loosen the ganuales and potentially cause damage.  The steeper the slope the more difficult it will be for the inspector to walk the roof without damage.  If the conditions are very hot the roof will be extremely pliable or hot as well.  The walking of a roof could leave footprints or damage as well.  How about the bitter cold.  If the roof is older and it is bitter cold the roof shingles will be brittle and could also be damaged.

This is why many inspectors use different methods or techniques to inspect the surface of the roof.  One could be on a ladder at the roof’s edge.  This is very effective for getting a bird’s eye view of the representative surface of the roof.  The inspector can lift, bend, touch, and visually inspect the condition of the roof surface.  The typical condition at the edge is consistent throughout the entire roof system.    Another method could be form a second floor window.  Opening the window and physically touching the roof is similar to the roof’s edge method.

The inspector could use a drone.  Drones have become very popular.  Flying the drone around the roof will certainly provide a bird’s eye view of the entire roof system.  This could include the chimney, venting, flashing and skylights as well.  Yet another very effective and less damaging method could be using a long camera mounted pole.  This places a camera high in the air and can see the entire upper areas of the roof and the roof systems without having to fly a drone or damage anything.  The only potential danger is to the inspector.  The inspector has be careful around live electricity and lightning.  Either of these methods provide an excellent view of the roof conditions.

The inspector’s responsibility is to work hard for every client and provide the best inspection possible.  They also have a responsibility to work safe and go home every night to their family.  Most inspectors have the experience to quickly identify whether the conditions necessary to inspect the roof are safe or not safe.

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