In-Depth Guide to Commercial Roofing Inspection

You know you should be inspecting your roof, but is it really so important that it should take away from your already-tight budget?

The short answer is yes. If you don’t take care of your roof, you could find yourself dealing with some expensive problems later. 

We’ve put together this in-depth guide so you know what to expect during your commercial roofing inspection, why you need one, and what happens next. 

So let’s get started! 

Why You Should Never Skip a Commercial Roofing Inspection

The roof is your building’s first line of defense against the elements. Waiting until after there’s a problem with your roof to fix it might be too late. Even a small leak could cause thousands of dollars in damages to your products or equipment. 

It can also be difficult to spot the signs of roofing issues.

A leak doesn’t always drip water from the ceiling. The moisture can get inside the walls and hide where you can’t see it, leading to mold growth and a host of other dangers. This can create an unhealthy work environment for your employees, which can put you at risk of being sued. 

Getting a roof inspection lets you find and fix these things before they become serious. This keeps your building, your products, and your team safe (and prevents you from spending more money in the long run). 

What Happens During an Inspection?

A professional roofing inspector will examine both the inside and the outside of the roof on your building during the inspection. They might use a drone to make a quick check on the surface of the roof, but they should also climb onto your roof and take a detailed look at all the materials and features in person. 


The inspector will start by viewing the exterior walls, especially where they connect to the roof. If you have a metal roof, they’ll ensure the edge flashing is secure against the wall without any gaps. 

Once they get to the roof, they’ll check on things like:

  • The roofing material (such as cracks in the roof or missing shingles) 
  • Pooling water 
  • The drainage system (making sure gutters and downspouts are unclogged and working) 
  • Flashing 
  • Chimneys
  • Skylights 
  • Hatches
  • Any seems and fasteners 
  • Etc. 

The inspector will cover every inch of your roof and make a record of any damages, debris, and wear and tear. If something needs to be repaired or updated, they’ll write this down so they can then suggest the next steps you need to take next. 


If the inspector only checks the exterior of the roof, they’re only doing half the work. You can learn a lot about the condition of a roof from the inside—things you might not be able to spot from the surface of the roof. 

The inspector should walk from room to room (visiting every space in the building) and look for any of the following warning signs:

  • Rust stains 
  • Water spots 
  • Chipping or bubbling paint 
  • Structural defects, such as sagging 
  • Corrosion 

During this step, they’ll also get a good look at the interior walls, the roof deck, and the mechanical fasteners attached to the roof deck. If they find a leak during the exterior inspection, they’ll also look for it inside to assess the extent of the damage. 

Roof Equipment 

If your building has any equipment on the roof, the inspector will also check them for any damages, signs of rust, or aging. The connection between the equipment and the roof makes good locations for leaks to form, especially if the flashing is worn out. 

Some of the equipment they’ll examine include:

This type of equipment can also gather a lot of debris around them, which can lead to standing water or pesky bugs. The inspector will clear this out to keep it from causing any harm. 

How Long Does a Commercial Roofing Inspection Take?

It’s hard to give an exact answer to this question. The amount of time it will take for an inspector to examine your roof depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your building, the material of your roof, the type of equipment you have on top of the roof, the ease of accessibility, etc. 

However, on average, the entire inspection should only take an hour or two. 

How Often Should You Schedule an Inspection?

You should have a professional inspect your commercial roof at least twice a year, once during the spring and once during the fall. This will get your roof ready for the harsher weather that comes during the summer and winter.

If you don’t have a large budget, at least get one inspection every year. Putting it off will only make potential problems bigger (and more expensive). 

What Happens After the Inspection?

After they’re done inspecting your roof, the professional inspector will give you a written report of the condition of your roof. They’ll explain any repairs (if needed) and tell you the best way to fix them. 

Use this time to ask questions. If you have any concerns or if you want advice, the inspector should be able to talk about everything in detail and offer recommendations. 

Getting Ready for Your Commercial Roofing Inspection 

Spring is just around the corner, so if you haven’t scheduled your commercial roofing inspection yet, that should be your next priority. 

Not sure where to go?

Our team William’s Roofing and Construction has been inspecting and repairing commercial roofs since 1985. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to set up your inspection.