Roof Inspection Checklists

Identify hazards and risks when performing roof work and keep workers safe using a roof inspection checklist on a mobile device.

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What is a Roof Inspection Checklist?

A roof inspection checklist is a form, template, or tool used by construction workers and safety officers to identify and document safety hazards when working on a roof. Its primary purpose is to take stock of present risks and hazards so they can be eradicated through the implementation of safety controls, including safety training and approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Roof inspection checklists, also called roof safety inspections and roof inspection forms, are used on a regular, semi-regular, and as-needed basis. Regular roof inspections are performed on a set schedule, while ad hoc inspections are performed when there is a suspected hazard, after an incident, or due to a worker’s report.

Issues That Can Occur to Your Roof

Several issues can occur to your roof, potentially leading to damage, leaks, or even major structural problems. Hence, it’s crucial to be aware of these issues and address them promptly. Commonly, these are the problems that can potentially affect your roof:

  • Roof Leaks – can be caused by damaged or missing shingles, cracked flashing, deteriorated seals around roof penetrations, or improper installation
  • Damaged or Missing Shingles – can be due to weather elements, such as strong winds, hail, or heavy rainfall
  • Faulty Flashing – can create entry points for water, increasing the risk of leaks
  • Poor Ventilation – can lead to excess moisture buildup, mold growth, rotting of the roof deck or insulation, and reduced energy efficiency
  • Roof Punctures or Penetrations – can create vulnerabilities and increase the likelihood of leaks and water damage if not visually and thoroughly inspected
  • Ponding Water – can accelerate roof aging, cause structural stress, and increase the risk of leaks and deterioration
  • Ice Dams – can lead to water backup, seepage under shingles, and potential water damage to the roof and interior
  • Clogged Gutters – can result in water overflow, leading to water damage to the roof, fascia, soffits, and even the foundation of the building
  • Tree Damage – trees located close to the roof can scrape against the roof surface, causing abrasion or punctures
  • Aging and Lack of Maintenance – can worsen the effects of aging, leading to more significant issues and reduced lifespan of the roof

Importance and Benefits of Consistent Roof Safety Inspections Using Checklists

The construction industry in general is already considered one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Roofers, a sub-branch of construction workers, are currently ranked #5 in a recent list of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America. Hence, the importance of roof safety inspections is reinforced to help ensure roofers’ exposure to risks and hazards is minimized or completely eliminated.

However, the benefits of such inspections extend beyond the physical safety and well-being of roof workers. If consistently conducted, the following benefits can also be achieved:

Detect Potential Issues Early

Checklists provide a comprehensive framework for inspecting various aspects of the roof, including signs of damage, leaks, or wear and tear. By following a consistent checklist, inspectors can quickly identify and document any issues, allowing for early problem detection. This then enables timely repairs or maintenance, preventing minor problems from escalating into major, costly issues.

Extend Roof Lifespan

By identifying and addressing issues promptly, inspections help prevent further roof deterioration. Proactive maintenance and repairs can also significantly extend the roof’s lifespan, saving homeowners or building owners from premature roof replacement expenses.

Increase Property Value

By conducting consistent inspections and keeping a record of the roof’s condition, homeowners or building owners can demonstrate the roof’s care and maintenance history to potential buyers or tenants. This can positively influence property value and attract prospective buyers or renters.

Protect Worker Morale

Lax safety measures and protocols on the part of employers hurt worker morale by failing to control work-related stress. Considering roofers are almost constantly under stress due to occupational hazards, consistent roof safety inspections protect worker morale by ensuring them that their safety is valued by their employer and that the proper measures are being taken to prioritize it. Also, training them to use a roof work safety checklist can help ensure that they comply with safety requirements before embarking on a roof inspection duty.

Improve and Maintain Brand Reputation

Incidents resulting in major worker injuries or fatalities are not only traumatizing to affected parties, but they can also pose serious problems for your company’s reputation. A damaged brand reputation can cause both clients and workers to cut ties with your company and dissuade roofers from being part of your firm—issues that can be avoided through diligent roof safety inspections.

Save Money

Worker injuries, fatalities, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fall protection violations cost money to resolve. Simply implementing a consistent roof safety inspection process can drastically lower the chances of these issues occurring. The use of inspection checklists can also help your team of inspectors develop the needed consistency in performing roof inspections according to your working safety standards.

What to Include in a Roof Inspection Checklist

When inspecting your roof, there are several important items you should check to ensure its good condition and identify any potential issues. Here are some key items to include in your roof inspection checklist:

  • Roofing Materials – Check the condition of the roofing materials, such as shingles or metal panels. Look for signs of damage, including cracks, missing pieces, curling, or blistering.
  • Flashing – Inspect the flashing, which is the metal or rubber material installed around roof penetrations (such as chimneys, vents, or skylights) and along roof edges. Make sure the flashing is secure, intact, and properly sealed to prevent water intrusion.
  • Gutters and Downspouts – Examine the gutters and downspouts for debris accumulation, clogs, or damage. Ensure that they are securely attached to the roof edge and properly channeling water away from the foundation.
  • Roof Leaks – Look for any signs of water stains or leaks on the interior ceilings or walls. Pay attention to areas near vents, chimneys, or skylights, as they are more prone to leaks.
  • Roof Decking – Check the roof decking for signs of sagging, rot, or water damage. Inspect both the exterior and interior sides of the roof for any visible issues.
  • Chimneys – Inspect the chimney for any loose or deteriorating bricks, damaged mortar, or cracked chimney caps. Ensure that the flashing around the chimney is secure and watertight.
  • Skylights – If you have skylights, carefully examine the seals around them to check for any signs of leakage. Inspect the glass or acrylic panels for cracks or damage.
  • Attic – If accessible, inspect the attic for signs of moisture, water stains, or mold growth. Check for proper insulation and ventilation in the attic space.

How Do You Perform a Roof Inspection Using a Checklist?

According to InterNACHI’s Home Inspection Standards of Practice for roof inspection, here is the general standard procedure inspectors must adhere to:

  1. The inspector shall inspect from ground level or the eaves:
    • the roof-covering materials;
    • the gutters;
    • the downspouts;
    • the vents, flashing, skylights, chimney, and other roof penetrations; and
    • the general structure of the roof from the readily accessible panels, doors, or stairs.
  2. The inspector shall also describe the type of roof-covering materials. Roof coverings are the first line of defense designed to protect the structure underneath from water incursion and damage; thus, it is crucial that the right type of materials are used based on weather conditions in the location and the roofing system’s geometry and underlayment.
  3. In the roof inspection report, the inspector shall detail observed indications of active roof leaks.
  4. During the roof inspection, the inspector is not required to:
    • walk on any roof surface.
    • predict the service life expectancy.
    • inspect underground downspout diverter drainage pipes.
    • remove snow, ice, debris, or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces.
    • move insulation.
    • inspect antennae, satellite dishes, lightning arresters, de-icing equipment, or similar attachments.
    • walk on any roof areas that appear, in the inspector’s opinion, to be unsafe.
    • walk on any roof areas if doing so might, in the inspector’s opinion, cause damage.
    • perform a water test.
    • warrant or certify the roof.
    • confirm proper fastening or installation of any roof-covering material.

Roof inspectors can further refer to the manufacturer’s official installation guide to ensure that the most optimal requirements of the roofing system are met. To further guide them, inspectors can also develop their roof inspection checklists according to these general requirements and customize them accordingly based on the varying features of different roofing systems.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that safety should be a priority when inspecting roofs. With this, you must use recommended safety equipment, such as a sturdy ladder and appropriate PPE. Also, exercise caution while walking on the roof surface.

FAQs About Roof Inspection Checklists

The frequency of updates can vary based on changes in roofing materials, technology, regulations, and any specific concerns or issues identified during previous inspections. Regardless, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Industry Standards
  • Regulatory Changes
  • New Roofing Materials or Systems
  • Feedback from Inspectors
  • Evolving Technology
  • Annual Reviews

Yes, a roof inspection checklist can be used for commercial roofs. While there may be some variations in the specific items included in a commercial roof inspection checklist compared to a residential roof inspection checklist, the fundamental purpose of assessing the condition and identifying potential issues remains the same, albeit on a different scale.

Yes, keeping a record of completed roof inspection checklists is definitely helpful. Doing so serves key purposes and offers numerous benefits, including the following:

  • Proper Documentation
  • Streamlined Tracking of Maintenance and Repairs
  • Ability to Identify Trends and Patterns
  • Regulatory Compliance on Worker Safety
  • Guided Project or Maintenance Budgeting
Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

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