In Virginia, and most if not all states, home inspectors are not required to walk on roofs. We are not even required to have, bring, or use ladders at an inspection.
The minimum requirement is that we inspect the roof from the ground with binoculars. At a A House on a Rock, there are no binoculars in our tool boxes.
Our standard is to walk every roof when it is safe, and accessible. We carry 28 foot ladders, and one truck has a 32 foot ladder for those tall, slim, downtown Richmond homes.
If the roof is not safe to walk on, we move the ladder around the eaves and at least perform an inspection from multiple points around the gutter.
There are way too many defects that can’t be seen from the ground. Although, home inspectors aren’t required to find every defect, we definitely try our best to do so.
Tough Roof Inspection
You can see from the video, that although I could not walk this whole roof, a very thorough roof inspection was performed. Two ladders were used, and the second ladder was moved around the gutter line.
All that was required was for the roof to be inspected from the ground. One of the most important questions you can ask a home inspector before hiring them, is how they’re going to inspect the roof.
There is nothing wrong with an inspector inspecting the roof from the ground, but this should be reflected in their price, and it should be significantly lower than the average inspection price in your area.