How Much Does a Roof Inspection Cost?

Photo: Ivan Walsh/Flickr.

Getting your roof inspected regularly is a good idea, so you can catch problems before they get serious and identify ongoing maintenance needs. If you're buying a home, it's also important to order a roof inspection along with other evaluations of the property to make sure you know what you're getting into, and, if necessary, to determine if you need to change the terms of your offer. But it's important to know how much a roof inspection will cost, so you won't be surprised by the bill.

Let's start with some factors that can affect the cost of a roof inspection in 2013. The first is the type of property and roof. Single-family residential properties tend to be the least expensive to inspect because they're small and typically have simple roofs. The larger and more complex the structure, the more expensive, with commercial real estate commanding prices that may run into the hundreds for roof inspections.

Materials are also a consideration. Specialty roofing made from components like slate, thatching, green materials, or wood shingle may require a roofer who has expertise in that area, and that could drive the cost up. This can be a particular issue with roofs that have complex designs, such as stacking roofs modeled on Buddhist temples, roofs with extremely steep (and potentially more dangerous) slopes, and those with dormers, skylights, and other architectural features.

The extensiveness of the inspection is another factor. Some roof inspections come not just with an evaluation of the roof but with looks into the attic, checks of gutters and other external fixtures, and inspections of window seals. The more labor involved, the higher the end cost to you, but the better the inspection will be; that's a tradeoff you'll need to think about as you prepare for a roof inspection.

You may be able to get a roof inspection for free, which is a pretty great deal. Contact several roofing companies to explain that you're considering getting work done on your roof, and ask if they offer free inspections. Such companies sometimes offer complimentary inspections because they're hoping you'll hire them to perform any necessary work.

If you're preparing to buy a property, you can also request that the seller pay for the inspection as part of the terms of your offer. Your real estate agent can discuss whether this is a good strategy and which terms you might want to think about including in the deal. In a buyer's market, sellers may be eager to create incentives like paying for inspections, covering loan origination fees, and paying for other expenses associated with the sale simply to close the deal.

When it comes down to it, though, you may end up paying. Prices between $100 and $300 are not uncommon for residential to small commercial properties. These prices cover the time of the roof inspector along with any necessary discussion about potential problems with the roof that need to be addressed. If the roof does need repairs, the roofer can offer a free estimate; make sure to get estimates from several local roofers to get a broad idea of the fairest price.

Commercial properties can be more expensive, with inspections costing between $300 and $500. This is due to the increased size and complexity of the job. In some cases the roof inspector may also need to file paperwork documenting that the roof has been inspected and providing information about the outcome.

When you request a roof inspection in your area, call to several companies to ask if they offer the service and how much they charge. Some may offer competitive rates, beating or matching those of rival roofing firms in the hopes of attracting your business.

Katie Marks writes for

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