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ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
AMERICAN CEMWOOD ROOFING
BEST ROOFING PRACTICES
BUILT UP ROOFS
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CERTIFICATIONS for ROOFING CONTRACTORS
CHIMNEY FLASHING Mistakes & Leaks
COLD WEATHER ROOF TROUBLE
DECKS, ROOFTOP CONSTRUCTION
EPDM, RUBBER, PVC ROOFING
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING on SHINGLES
FIRE RETARDANT PLYWOOD
FLASHING on BUILDINGS
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
Green House or Solarium Roof Leaks
HEAT TAPES & CABLES on Roofs for Ice Dams
ICE DAM PREVENTION
MASONITE WOODRUF FIBERBOARD ROOFING
NOISE CONTROL for ROOFS
PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES
PVC, EPDM, RUBBER ROOFING
ROOF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF DORMER TYPES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF INSPECTION SAFETY & LIMITS
ROOF JOB PROBLEMS, RESOLVING
ROOF LEAK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
ROOF NOISE TRANSMISSION
ROOF REPLACEMENT SNAFUs
ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS
ROOFING MATERIALS, Age, Types
ROOFING TILE SHAPES & PROFILES
ROOFING UNDERLAYMENT BEST PRACTICES
SADDLE CONSTRUCTION at CHIMNEYS
SNOW GUARDS & SNOW BRAKES
STANDARDS for ROOFING
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
TEST LABS - ROOF SHINGLE
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS on ROOFS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALK-ON ROOF SURFACES
WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES
WORKMANSHIP & ROOF DAMAGE
ZINC METAL ROOFING
Here we describe roof safety and roof damage issues when inspecting, repairing, or otherwise walking on other roof materials such as asphalt, slate, wood roofs. This article tells readers how to identify fragile or unsafe roof surfaces, when to stay off of them, how to repair them. By listing common causes of asphalt roof shingle failures and how to recognize them, building owners and roofing contractors may also be able to reduce the occurrence of asphalt roof shingle storage, handling, and installation errors that affect roof life Also see Building Safety Hazards Guide, and see our list of inspector safety articles at Home Inspection Education & Services - Safety Articles. Readers are also invited contribute roof failure information to the web author for research purposes. web author for research purposes.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Walking on some roofs causes damage: The photograph at the top of this page shows what happened when an inspector stepped on the fragile corner of an asphalt roof shingle. This pattern of breakage traced his footprints right up the roof to the chimney and back down the other side. These are the very "footprints of damage" which we have reported in some other articles on fragile, old, worn roof shingles.
This "failed" roof was not leaking until the fellow who was asked to inspect it walked across this fragile surface. From a ladder at the roof edge one could clearly see the virtual footprints of broken shingle edges where the "inspector" had walked. In this case the "inspector" was a roofing contractor who came back down to the ground and told the home owner that she needed a new roof right away.
She was upset because her ASHI-certified home inspector had said that the thought she could use the roof for another two to five years. Our opinion was that she did need a new roof very soon but that had not been the case until "bigfoot" had stomped all over it.
Guidelines for Direct Walking-On Inspection of Various Roof Surfaces & Roof Conditions
Some home inspectors reduce their workload and speed the the job by asserting that they do not walk on any roof surface under any condition, citing reasons of safety or fear of damaging the roof surface. But expert inspectors generally agree that there are many roof areas, conditions, and important roof defects, even total roof failure (such as thermal splitting), that are simply not visible except direct access to the roof edge (by ladder or other means) or by walking on the roof.
Watch out: Do not try to walk on any roof which is: too high, steep, wet, slippery, fragile, or covered with loose mineral granules, or other loose roof surface debris - such roofs are not suited for safe access. Do not walk on any roof which is installed over an incomplete, damaged, or rotted surface, as you might, like my helper on one roofing job, fall right through the roof surface!
Advice About Walking on & Inspecting Asphalt Shingle Roofs
We do not walk directly on any asphalt shingle roof that has one or more of these hazards:
Loose mineral granules on an asphalt shingle or roll roofing roof surface, are dangerous and can cause the inspector to slip and fall off of the roof, regardless of the cause of loose material: whether because the roof is brand new (initial granule loss due to wear during installation) or old (mineral granules are loose because of age and loss of adhesion, weather exposure, or foot traffic).
Advice About Inspecting & Walking on Cement Asbestos or Fiber Cement Roofs
Cement asbestos roof shingles: these shingles are as fragile as slate; it's best to stay off of this surface. Though we've walked
carefully on a few such roofs it's easy to damage them. See our inspection advice at ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFING and our advice about tile and slate roof inspections found in this document (below).
Advice for Walking on & Inspecting Clay Tile Roofs
On some other fragile but not totally fragile roofs such as slate roofs, cement tile, cement-asbestos, fiber cement, and hard-fired ceramic clay tile roofs, contractors suspend a ladder over the roof surface, hanging it from the ridge, and cushioning it off of the roof surface using foam or insulation padding, or contractors work from scaffolding. - Ed.
Advice for Inspecting Other Fragile or Unsafe Roof Surfaces
Advice for Walking on or Inspecting Metal Roofs
Advice About Walking on & Inspecting Slate Roofs
Slate roofs are fragile and are likely to be damaged by foot traffic;
it's best to stay off of slate roof surfaces during a building inspection. See
SLATE ROOF INSPECTION PROCEDURE for details.
Advice for Walking on & Inspecting Wood shingle roofs:
Advice for Walking on or Inspecting Wet, Icy, Steep, Snow-Covered Roofs
Wet, icy, or snow covered roofs are unsafe to walk on in most circumstances, possibly excepting expert inspection of flat roofs with safe parapets or railings installed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to determine when a roof surface should not be walked-on
Questions & answers or comments about fragile roof surfaces that should not be walked-upon..
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.