If you walk the roof:


  • Photograph all roof slopes. This is for reference. Include at least one in your report. Photos taken from low, looking up, or photos taken across the roof, are better than photos taken from the ridge.
  • Take one photo showing a single entire shingle (all three tabs if 3-tab).
  • Take one photo showing a single tab.

This gives you a long shot, a medium shot, and a close-up.

  • Photograph examples of defects (including sealant instead of flashing). Include at least two tabs in the frame. Most people shoot too close. It helps to have another tab in the frame for visual reference.
  • Hold the camera horizontal or vertical, don’t tilt to the angle of the roof.


Inspection Concerns:

  • Minimum roof slope. The IRC requires a minimum slope of 2&12. At roof pitches less than 2&12, waterproof underlayment should be installed. At pitches between 2&12 and 4&12, the IRC requires double underlayment, meaning an overlap of 19 inches.
  • General installation. Look across an entire slope from one end.
    • Shingle exposures should be uniform across the slope.
    • Shingle butts should look straight as you sight down each course.
    • Shingles should lie flat across the roof.
  • Start at/near the eve. Walk parallel to the eve. Check the gutters as you scan the roof.Look for:
    • Improper slope (look for pooled water or sediment accumulation;
    • Poor attachment;
    • Accumulation of granules (expect it on newer homes);
    • Corrosion;
    • Damage; and
    • Excessive shingle overhang (may cause runoff to overshoot gutters)
    • Look at sections of roof as you go, areas approximately 10’x10’.
  • When you reach the end of the slope, move up the roof about 10’. Continue walking parallel to the eave. Check for:
    • Adequate bonding; lift gently on shingle tabs, one per 100 sq. ft. section, check all slopes. For all shingles, all ages… bonds always fail first above joints in underlying shingles).
    • Distortion;
    • Damage
    • Missing shingles
    • Delamination
    • Splits
    • Craze cracking
    • Exposed fasteners
    • Racking (joints align every other course)
    • Discoloration
    • Biological growth
    • Granule loss
  • Flashing
    • All sidewall flashing should be step flashing EXCEPT! In areas designated “high wind” (Broward, Miami-Dade counties in FL), continuous flashing may be required by the AHJ.
    • Counter-flashing properly installed.
    • Plumbing vent pipes: proper installation and rubber boot condition.
    • Attic ventilation devices should have screens.
    • Kickout flashing with sealant.
    • Roof-edge flashing
    • Chimney flashing and counter-flashing
    • Valley flashing
      • Identify type of valley (open, woven, cut, California cut)
      • Comment on roll roof open valley linings
      • Check the potential for cross-wash.


If you can’t/don’t walk the roof:


Check the requirements carefully for the areas in which you work. Fines can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for making a mistake. Certification preparation courses are available in a number of places, including through InterNACHI's online school  (free to members)

Extension poles

A number of extension poles are available to which a camera can be attached.


  • Get photos of as many slopes as possible. You can see more of the roof from farther away. Rest your camera on/against something stable and zoom in.
  • Get medium and close-up shots however you can.
  • View the roof from a ladder at the roof edge, other parts of the home, hillsides or any other vantage point you can find.
  • Try using binoculars even from the roof edge.
  • Consider using a telescopic pole to take photos of portions of the roof that are difficult to see. Some inspectors are now using drones with cameras attached.
  • Check the bonding of any shingles within reach.

If you aren't comfortable walking a roof, don't do it. Tension from fear degrades your sense of balance and accurate reactions.