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Several samples of different roof coverings. SAM Conveyancing discusses roof surveys. Roof inspections are only necessary where an issue or potential issue has been identified, and can save you money on your repair costs.

Roof Inspection; Is it worth getting a roof survey?

(Last Updated: 19/03/2024)
7 min read

What is a roof survey?

Roof inspections are a specialist survey carried out by roofing companies or surveyors, to detect leaks, ingress, rot, asbestos, pooling, points of failure, structural integrity, chimney stability, condition of roof coverings including missing tiles, loose tiles or felt, and roofing materials such as timber beams and joists.

When you’re looking at buying a property, you should always consider the state of its roof: if it has any problems and they’re not corrected, you can end up paying £1,000s to fix later.

Key Takeaways
  • You may need an inspection if you have discovered problems with the roof or it has been flagged in your house survey
  • The costs depend on size, age, condition, property type and accessibility, but vary from £150 to £300
  • If problems are found, you can save money by fixing it sooner rather than allowing it to escalate into a bigger problem and discovering it too late. If you're looking at buying the property, you can negotiate the price of repair off the purchase price.

Does a house surveyor inspect the roof?

You should always get a house survey when buying a home. Your RICS surveyor will inspect the whole property and get on the roof and into the attic if there is access. It is not as comprehensive as a specialist roof inspection survey but it will flag-up any visible causes for concern, then you can get a specialist roof inspection survey only as required. RICS house surveyors carry out visual inspections to present an overall condition report on the whole property and can climb ladders up to three metres to assess the roof externally.

You will need a specialist inspection if your house survey indicates a problem, or you have confirmed an issue with the roof yourself. Roofing surveyors can give you the information you need to fix the problem and stop it from snowballing.

NB We offer house surveys at Level 2 and Level 3, but do not have coverage currently for specialist roof surveys. Your RICS house surveyor can recommend a local roofing surveyor to conduct a specialist survey if one is required.

What happens if my roof survey reveals serious problems?

If your roof inspector finds that roof problems are extensive and expensive to repair, you can bargain with the vendor about remedy costs to save money on the purchase price or even choose to pull out of a sale.

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RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

Gutters filled with leaves to be inspected as part of a House Survey through SAM Conveyancing
Chimney stack and pot to be inspected as part of a Roof Inspection through SAM Conveyancing
Flat roof covering to be inspected as part of a RICS Survey through SAM Conveyancing

What is inspected in a roof survey?

Specialist roofing surveyors will thoroughly examine a diverse range of roof issues:

  • Gutters, rainwater systems - estimate expected lifespan; check for blockages, damages, cracks, leaking joints, leaking unions, and other problems.
  • Chimney stacks - check brickwork and mortar condition, look for loose chimney pots, worn flaunching and examine flashings, type and condition.
  • Roof covering - estimate age and expected lifespan, compare condition to similar properties and examine for leaks.
  • Ridge Tiles - ridge tile and mortar condition and ridge iron check.
  • Valleys and gulleys - estimate expected lifespan, check for fatigue splits, poor repairs and mortar condition.
  • Flat roofs - check current condition, examine roof material and decking for soft spots, estimate expected lifespan.
  • Roof windows and skylights - check installation quality and flashing, looked for cracked glass and fogging of units.
  • Dormer roofs - check covering and condition, estimate expected lifespan.
  • Roof structure - checks (external and internal) for roof sag and spread, signs of leaks or water damage to timbers, purlin support and condition, internal light, condensation issues, ventilation, wall plates, tie bars and condition.
Dormer window to be inspected as part of a Home Survey through SAM Conveyancing
Damaged skylight to be inspected as part of a Roof Survey through SAM Conveyancing
Broken ridge tiles to be inspected as part of a Roof Inspection through SAM Conveyancing

Will a roof specialist get up a ladder as part of a roof survey?

Yes! Roofing surveyors need to look at the whole roof and structures, up close.

How much does a roof inspection cost?

The roof inspection cost depends on how big a property’s roof is, and the daily rates of your independent roof inspector. Prices start from around £150 for a terraced house, rising to around £300 and upwards for a large detached house. You may have to pay extra for the chimney stack, check with your roof surveyor to find out if their quote includes a visual inspection of the chimney.

Scaffolding Costs

If scaffolding is required, the costs can spiral as this can add between £200 and £1000 per week.

You may find a roofer or roofing company who will offer the survey itself for free, hoping to recoup their roof inspection cost if or when you pay them for the repairs (or roof replacement), only having to erect and dismantle the scaffolding once.

Drone roof survey costs

Another option is to look at drone roof surveys, which removes the need for ladders and scaffolds, until or unless repair work has to be carried out. These average at around £200. Some councils will not allow the use of drones, and the cost given by a drone surveyor may not include the external inspection.

Flat roof survey costs

Unless it is very large, old, or damaged, a flat roof is easier, quicker and safer to inspect making them cheaper at around £150. While flat roofs are also cheaper when it comes to roof replacement, be aware that they need more regular maintenance and are prone obvious problems such as pooling.

If you've spotted signs of long-lasting puddles on an old or new roof, you'll probably need a roof inspection in the near future to avoid leaks and water damage to the property.

Factors affecting roof inspection cost


Inspections will take longer for larger roofs.

Age & Condition

Older roofs will have more wear and tear for your roof inspector to assess. Similarly, if the condition is poor there will be more roof damage to cover in the roof inspection.

Property type

You may pay more for a roof inspection on a detached property with its roofing system on multiple levels than for terraced houses with simple pitched roofs.


It will cost more to have your roof inspected if it is harder to access. Flat roofs make for easier roof inspections as they normally only require one ladder. If your roof areas need a professional inspector to climb out of windows or along ledges, the roof inspection will take longer and be more expensive.

Roof repairs can become very costly, especially if an issue is missed and the problem is allowed to progress, undetected; In which case, you may have to fork out for a complete roof replacement. It is more cost-effective to pay for a detailed roof survey (if it is recommended by your house surveyor), than to bury your head in the sand and end up paying for more expensive repairs later.

Get a House Survey Quote

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

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Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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