Home inspectors are required to inspect the roof covering materials from the ground level or the roof eaves. According to the InterNACHI Home Inspection Standards of Practice, the home inspector is not required to walk upon any roof surface, even if the roof is flat. It’s dangerous to get up on a house roof.
It's dangerous to inspect a roof. It’s dangerous to climb a ladder. Don’t use a ladder, and don’t get up on a roof without proper training in ladder safety procedures. The most important thing to do as a home inspector is to return home. Safely.
Many home inspectors begin each home inspection by inspecting the roof first. The roof inspection could start by observing the home from the street or at the end of the driveway. Look at the house roof in its entirety. Determine the type of roof covering. Estimate the slope of the roof surfaces. Check to see if the entire roof can be observed and inspected.
Look for missing roof-covering material, cracked, damaged, or missing shingles, and look for indications that the roof was repaired or replaced in some sections.
Regardless of the home inspector’s observations, the home inspection report should recommend that the homebuyer ask the homeowner about the roof’s performance in the past and its age. The home inspector will not be able to determine the roof's age or predict its life expectancy.