The roof of a home is perhaps the most critical component of the home yet it is the most over looked even by inspectors. The current trend in inspection training is for the trainers to recommend that no-one walk on the roof during the inspection in case they fall. Well this may be good advice from a safety standpoint they are missing the point of the inspection in my humble opinion. If the inspector cannot take risks during the inspection they better come up with a robot that can do the job while the inspector sits in the truck.
I am being a bit silly of course but it is critically important to get a close up look at the shingles and roof penetrations and flashings during the inspection. While it is true that some roofs are not safe to walk on, I would say I get on about 97% of them. . If you drive around the country side and see the old abandoned farm houses you will notice the ones with good roofs are still standing straight and tall. The others have leaks in the roof and are leaning and falling down.
Your inspection report should contain several photos of the roofing with close up shots of problem areas if they exist. It is almost impossible to find issues from the eaves or from the ground. If a roof is leaking all kinds of problems arise. Mold, staining and poor insulation performance are just a few of the most common results. If the shingles are cupping and curling it could be from poor ventilation of the attic space. Missing shingles are difficult to spot from below but can have devastating results if not corrected. Overall the roof needs to be closely inspected if you do not do this it would be like buying a used vehicle without checking the oil.