home inspectors roofs

Best Roof Inspection Tools: Ladders, Shoes, Drones (2020 checklist)

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Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Todd

Inspecting the roof is one of the most important parts of a home inspection. You need the right roof inspection tools in order to get your job done quick, safe and efficient.

A home inspector should get on the roof to look for hail damage, cracked shingles, worn flashings, moss, and many other damages.

If anything is wrong with the roof, the costs to fix the issues are usually very high. So, if you’re a homeowner make sure to hire a home inspector regularly to check if your roof is a good shape.

There are many home inspectors who inspect the roof without climbing the roof. They just put the ladder up, climb on the top of the ladder and look at the roof without actually getting up on the roof. This strategy is not enough.

Getting ready to go on the roof

The first thing you need to do is to get your outside ladder and shoes ready. Ladder safety is a priority since most of the home inspection accidents involve ladders.

One step wrong and you can fall and injure yourself really bad. If you don’t place them right, if you don’t climb them right, you can put your life at risk. So this is why you have to pay attention and take all the safety measures you can.

Many home inspectors say it is safer to set the ladders on the grass rather than on cement. For safety, always make sure when you place the ladder you have at least two rungs above the gutter.

It’s always a good idea to strap the ladder to the gutter using a safety strap. This way you’re making sure the wind won’t blow your ladder off.

Best Home Inspector Ladder

For outside:

You need an extendable, versatile, easy to carry, light yet durable ladder that has a load capacity of over 300 lbs (136kg). The ladder must be OSHA and ANSI approved. The best ladder for home inspectors is heavy duty, made for construction and industrial purposes.

Here are our favorite ladders we recommend for roof inspection:

Xtend & Climb Professional Series

The Xtend & Climb is the most popular ladder used by home inspectors.

This one is made for professionals, it’s easy to pack, to carry around, it is compact and OSHA and ANSI approved.

Probably it is one of the most practical models out there, easy to extend and to use without needing additional help.

Also great roof ladders:

Telesteps 1600EP – made from aluminum, it is light and very secure, Telesteps Type 1A is another top favorite telescoping extension ladder because it’s durable, light, easy to set up and made with safety in mind.

Little Giant Type 1 – there are home inspectors who use little giant ladders for more than 15 years. They are stable, versatile, lightweight and an overall excellent ladder.

For inside:

You should not use your outside ladder for indoors. Every home should be treated with respect, and if you’re using an outside ladder to do your inside inspection, you will get everything dirty.

Little Giant 17-Foot Velocity Multi-Use

This Little Giant ladder is perfect to use for an indoor home inspection.

It’s reliable and made from a special aircraft-grade alloy which adds extra durability while keeping the ladder much lighter than other industrial models.

It meets and exceeds OSHA and ANSI standards.

Also great ladders for home use:

Xtend & Climb – aluminum ladder home series, that is easy to carry, store, extend and lock, it has everything you need.

Louisville Ladder – meets and exceeds ANSI and OSHA standards, perfect for indoors, made of fiberglass.

Shinge Gauge: measure shingle thickness

Haag 4/09 and 12/1 Shingle Gauge

This shingle gauge from Haag is a helpful roof inspection tool which will help you determine the thickness of tiles and shingles.

It’s a sturdy tool and can last you months of daily use.

What we don’t like: it is a bit expensive.

While you are still up on the ladder, you should check the shingle thickness using a shingle gauge and next you should check for underlayment.

Once you get on the roof, you should inspect it carefully for any sign of water penetration, for any damage, sagging, aging, moss, dirt.

If you inspect a shingle roof, make sure to check if there are any curled shingles or if there are places where shingles are missing.

A home inspector should also inspect the misuse of nail guns, there are many situations when there’s been a re-roofing and the nails are not fully sunk.

While you are up on the roof, you should check if all the joints and nails are caulked.

How to do a roof inspection with a drone

Do home inspectors have to get up on the roof?

The answer is they don’t have to, but they definitely should. The only times when it is ok not to get up on the roof is when it’s unsafe or when it’s a bad wheater, or if the roof is in a very bad condition and there’s an obvious risk of injury.

The pros always go up on the roof and inspect absolutely everything. There are many important things you can miss if you choose to inspect the roof from the ground up or from the ladder.

Best drone for roof inspection

Drone roof inspection is trending right now. More and more home inspectors take advantage of the new technology and fly drones to inspect the roofs.

Having a roof properly inspected without having to get up onto the roof sounds amazing.

Using a drone is definitely a safer option that can save you from injuries and also, prevent any damage made to the roof materials.

By walking on clay tile, slate or metal roofs you can easily damage them. Not to mention, they are slippery and dangerous to walk on – especially if you don’t wear appropriate home inspector footwear or if you are inexperienced.

These being said drones are a great choice to master a roof inspection.

DJI INSPIRE 2: Best Drone for Roof Inspections

The drone we highly recommend is DJI Inspire 2, in our opinion is the best drone for home inspection.

This model is very popular in the industrial, building construction industry.

Comes with a high price but definitely delivers. It is a dream come true for professional photographers around the world.

If you want the best performance, get this drone with the Zenmuse X5S package.

Are drones more accurate than the human eye?

In most situations, yes. A drone can provide a huge amount of detailed data in the shortest amount of time.

If you get a good drone, with a great camera, you can have some crystal clear visuals and identify even the smallest issues the roofs may have. You can get it pretty close to the roof and some have ultimate zoom lenses for the most accurate details.

Drones are exciting tools for all the tech geeks out there. You will need to register your drone and become a pilot before you can actually use it. Don’t worry about the “becoming a pilot” process, it’s pretty standard. If you are serious about it, you can find all the instructions and everything you need to know about flying drones on the Federal Aviation Administration official website.

Best Shoes For Home Inspectors

On our website, we write a lot about roofing shoes, and the shoes a home inspector should wear are very similar to the shoes a roofer should wear.

Everyone who gets onto roofs needs to take care of his/her safety first. Roofs are dangerous places to be, because of their height, steep pitch and sometimes, slippery surface (like metal roofs).

Merrell Moab 2: Reliable traction on metal and asphalt roofs.

These hiking shoes are a fantastic footwear choice when walking on steep and slippery rooftops.

The rubberized outsole gives a sticky grip and prevents you from slipping.

These Merrells also offer superior cushioning and excellent ankle support.

They are lightweight and won’t damage to metal tiles or asphalt shingles.

That’s why you need boots that grip the surface really well, with added traction, which are lightweight and allow you to be as flexible as you need. All that while providing great cushioning and comfort.

We recommend rubber-soled shoes that have a good lacing system. If you want to see the list of the best shoes for roofing (that are also the best shoes for home inspectors), we invite you to read our latest article the best roofing shoes of 2020.

Conclusion: We hope we helped you choose the best roof inspection tools and equipment that will make your job faster, easier, safer and more efficient. Happy Inspecting!

1 thought on “Best Roof Inspection Tools: Ladders, Shoes, Drones (2020 checklist)”

  1. Having unwanted weeds and similar species is not just annoying. They can cause serious damage to your whole roofing system. Parts such as the waterproofing membrane can be spoiled by such invasive species.

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