Zink  Home C…, Real Estate Pro in Balitmiore, MD

Some Home Inspectors are not attempting to climb roofs and are using just binoculars... what do you think of this?

Asked by Zink Home Consultants , Balitmiore, MD Fri Jun 29, 2012

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Darrell D. D…, Agent, Schertz, TX
Fri Jun 29, 2012
Actually, as a former inspector, I can tell you that some roofs can be easily damaged if the sub structure is deteriorated or water damaged and an inspector walks on the roof - such as tile or slate. Also, 2nd story roofs are often steep and dangerous. From the binocular standpoint, using numerous vantage points, it's very possible to see flashing issues, vent problems, plumbing stack insertion issues, torn shingles, etc. When coupled with an observation of the attic space, it's very likely to ascertain water penetration issues and roof problems.

On a side note, I know each state is different, but in Texas, the State Standards of Practice for inspectors address this issue:

"(f) Specific limitations for roof covering. The inspector is not required to:
  .....(2) inspect the roof from the roof level if, in the inspector's reasonable judgment, the inspector cannot safely reach or stay on the roof or significant damage to the roof covering materials may result from walking on the roof;"
1 vote
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Fri Jun 29, 2012
Most inspectors will not climb up on a steep roof;
they do not want to fall,
and roof inspections are better left to roof experts.
I certainly do not fault them for this.

They also are not that intense in looking for termites and pests; that also is better left to the experts;

Both the roof and the pest inspections are very cheap.

If the Buyer wants a bumper-to-bumper inspection; I would suggest negotiating this from the git-go.
Communication can be a wonderful thing.
1 vote
Austin Parta…, Agent, Quincy, MA
Thu Feb 26, 2015
The should be looking in your attic and checking the interior.
0 votes
atvings, Home Owner, Bel Air, MD
Wed Feb 25, 2015
It is a libility fo any Home Inspector these days if they need to climb on top of any roof, a seller which have happened in the past if the roof gets walked on will blame the Home Inspector for damage. a good pair of Binoculars will do these days and on top of that "who wants to take a risk of falling" it happens more than most people know.
0 votes
Zink Home C…, Other Pro, Balitmiore, MD
Wed Aug 15, 2012
For the most part I agree Dan, but safety should be the main ingredient in the decision. Be safe and good inspections to YOU!
0 votes
Daniel High, Agent, Abingdon, MD
Wed Aug 15, 2012
As a Licensed Home Inspector in Maryland, I will get on every roof that I possibly can. There are some roofs that are too high, or too steep. Also, slate and cedar shake roofs should not be walked on because they can be damaged. That said, I have found myself on several roofs over the years where I wondered how I was going to get off. I guess I'm just a dare devil!!

An inspector that refuses to get on any roof should not be in the business. You can't see a torn storm collar or cracked chimney crown unless you get up there.

So I guess the bottom line is that you should ask your home inspector if he will get on the roof before you hire him. If you asked me that question, I'd say yes if at all possible and my ladder will reach, I'm getting up there.

Dan High
Maryland Home Inspection Services
License # 30127
Web Reference:  http://www.mdinspect.com
0 votes
Matthew T. S…, Agent, Perry Hall, MD
Fri Aug 10, 2012
I also prefer that the inspector gets on top of the roof, but many roofs are very high pitches and it makes it next to impossible to get on top and therefore the binoculars suffice.
Web Reference:  http://www.soldwithsmoot.com
0 votes
I agree, Had 2 inspections today and 2 no roof walking for me. One was slate and the other was too high for my 2 1/2 story ladder to reach. Thanks for you comment Matthew, always glad to get input from an agents and it appears we are on the same page. Wishing Good Sales to YOU!
Flag Fri Aug 10, 2012
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Jun 29, 2012
I prefer when the inspector actually gets up on the roof... but a great deal can be determined through binoculars.
0 votes
Jim Simms, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Louisville, KY
Fri Jun 29, 2012
I would look at the ceilings to see if there are any water spots.

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Fri Jun 29, 2012
Inspectors here do roof inspection and I have had one use binoculars and he reported some missing shingles. We hired a roofer to repair the roof and the roofer reported no missing shingles were found. I just never mentioned that inspector to any buyers after that. Using binoculars will let you see curled corners and maybe dried out cracked ones, but nothing beats getting up there closer. You don't have to walk on the roof, a ladder to get you up to the edge is usually enough to get a good idea of how the shingles look. What upsets me is when they pull out the crystal ball and tells a buyer the roof is almost at its end. If it isn't leaking, it's doing its job.
0 votes
I suppose but then you get in the situation of having a pass or fail inspection... I feel my job is to inform and then let the chips fall where they may. So in your situation I might say currently the roof is performing it's basic duty of providing weather coverage for the home, however heavy wear is present and it is likely the roofing may need replacement in the near future. The biggest complaint Inspectors get from clients is "not too long after we moved in we had to repair/replace____ he should have warned us!
Flag Fri Jun 29, 2012
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