A Guide to Roof Inspections and Certifications
When To Get One, Costs and Hiring an Inspector
A roof certification is essentially a guarantee that a roof will not leak or fail for a period of 2 to 5 years. It is issued by a licensed roofing contractor after a thorough inspection of the roof and the completion of any necessary repairs.
Roof certifications are often commissioned by home sellers as a way to provide potential buyers with peace of mind. Sometimes a buyer requests a roof certification in addition to a home inspection as a condition of the sale (home inspectors do look at the roof, but the inspection is not as thorough). Other times, the lender might require a roof certification before approving the loan. Government-backed FHA and HUD loans typically require a 2-year certification.
The certification process starts with a complete inspection of the roof. The contractor has an exhaustive list of potential problems to rule out, and then he or she makes a decision on the integrity of the roof based on factors such as the age of the roof, materials used, the number of layers, previous repairs and the roof’s pitch. The inspection process usually lasts anywhere from one to three hours.
If no repairs are required, the contractor issues a certification for the number of years he or she believes the roof will remain leak-free. (Roofers don’t take this lightly because in many cases they are responsible for the cost of any repairs if the roof fails before that time.) If repairs are needed, the roofer will not issue the certification until the repairs are complete.
Roof Inspection and Certification Costs
Roof certifications are fairly inexpensive, ranging in price from about $150 to $500. The price is determined by the size of the roof, its condition, how easy or difficult it is to access, and your geographic location.
If repairs are needed, that’s when the process can start to get pricey. Repair costs vary widely based on the nature of the repair, the condition of the roof and the roofing material, but the average repair job usually costs $500 to $1,500.
- Ask people you trust for referrals. Which roofing contractors have they used in the past, and were they happy with the service?
- Do some background research on any company you’re considering. Ask for references, read online reviews and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
- Make sure the company you hire has a website and a physical location (not just a PO Box). Companies without one or both are more likely to be fly-by-night operations.
- Ask for proof that the company is licensed and insured.
- Look for companies that are certified by the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA) or Haag.
- Never feel pressured to hire the company that inspects your roof to complete the repairs needed for certification. You should always shop the job around to find the best price (from a reputable company, of course). If you suspect the suggested repairs are bogus, by all means get a second opinion.