Believe it or not, the standards of practice for home inspectors only require that we inspect roofs from the ground with binoculars. Several realtors have expressed to me their frustration when they discuss the importance of a roof being inspected to a client only to receive an inspection report that states the roof was either too high and steep to be inspected or inspected from a distance at ground level, which (of course) means defects may easily be missed.
It goes without saying, but inspecting a roof from the ground with binoculars is practically worthless. Ideally, every roof would be physically walked on and inspected up close and personal, as it is such a vital component of a home and the first line of defense against water intrusion that can cause so much damage. Still, some roofs are simply too high and/or steep to safely be walked on for a thorough inspection.
Fortunately, these hindrances have become a thing of the past for we inspectors who use drones for inspecting roofs. Drones allow us to get “up close and personal” with any roof, no matter how high, steep or complex, and they allow us to take high-definition photos, and even videos, of the roof from angles we wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve. I love seeing many of my clients’ reactions when I show them drone photos of the roof near the end of the inspection and they comment on “cool” the aerial shots taken by the drone are. The pictures are so neat that they seem to momentarily care more about the pictures than the actual condition of the roof!
Here at HPI we still walk every roof we can, but by using drone technology we are able to thoroughly inspect any roof, in detail, and never have to do our clients the disservice of providing a report that doesn’t include a thorough inspection of one of the most crucial components of the home they are hoping to buy.
Before hiring a home inspector, be sure to ask about their procedures for inspecting roofs and if they use a drone for inspecting roofs that are unsafe to walk on. Many inspectors (especially older ones who have been around a while) are very experienced and knowledgeable, but they often do not use newer technology for assisting with inspections. From an inspection standpoint, technology is definitely “the future” and a great asset for inspectors who wisely choose to use it.
Nothing can replace the experience of a skilled inspector, but even the most knowledgeable inspector is limited at times and can benefit and provide far better service by mastering the new technologies that are now available. Drones are only one of many new and valuable technologies, but they are one of the most valuable for home inspections.
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