We get asked a lot if we can certify a roof...
From and Inspectors point of view" No".
1. No home inspector does a wet test of the roof system.
In a wet test the person conducting the test will use a water hose to impose a wet condition on the roof system. The hose is moved to all points of the roof while another person goes into the attic to look for leaks.
2. Most manufacturer's of roofing products will tell you that a new roof can be void of warranty if it's walked on. Here in California this is especial true with our consistent high temperatures. If you walk on a roof in the blazing sun you are asking for problems. Some roof systems are made of clay or lightweight concrete. It is advised that these roofs only be walked on by qualified individuals. These roofs are more susceptible to physical damage when walked on.
3. Home inspectors for the most part have at some point worked as a contractor or as a person in the construction industry. They have a lot of experience in multiple fields. However the majority of inspectors have never worked in the roofing industry.
4. Should an inspector go on the roof? Yes if the conditions are right! An inspector should never go on the roof it it will cause damage to the roof system, or cause a safety hazard to the person conduction the inspection.
5. When a roofing system has sufficient granular loss it is no longer a good roofing system.
it may not leak but it is no longer protected from the sun. Dried out, curled, broken or missing roofing components are also reasons to note that the roof is past it's life span.
6. A good inspector will not alarm the customer only explain the over all condition. Most inspectors will not elaborate on the expected life span as it opens up liability. Some may however say it appears to have 3 to 4 years left with proper maintenance.
7. If you need a roof certification call a local licensed Roofing Contractor. They will be able to offer repairs if needed. They are the authority on roofing systems in your area. Make sure they are insured just in case something does go wrong.
Keep in mind that a inspector is only at the property for 2 to 3 hours depending on the size and scope of the inspection. Not everything is going to be found every time. However a good inspection will use computer software with error guard to prevent missed inspection points.
David Salvato Father of Three, Blogger, Builder and Repairman of stuff my kids break! All round happy person.