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What's in your tool belt?

Roof Inspection Checklist: 8 Tools Every Roofing Contractor Should Have in His (or Her) Tool Belt

In roofing sales, the roof inspection is the foundation of the entire insurance process. A quality roof inspection can help mitigate disputes with the adjuster. So, what are the tools you need to perform a roof inspection that lives up to insurance carrier standards?

Here is our list of eight tools you should be using:

  1. Tape Measure – I know what you’re thinking… “This is obvious.” But hear me out. With the advances in aerial roof measurement technology, many contractors these days aren’t actually measuring roofs and often leave their tape measure in their truck. By doing that, they may be leaving hundreds of dollars on the table on each job. Whenever you perform a roofing inspection, you should always take photos of the measurements. This can be valuable documentation if the job requires a supplement and can save you time from going back to the job site later on.

  2. Chalk – If you’re not using chalk to mark up hail strikes and other damage, you’re doing it wrong. Chalk is critical for performing test squares and providing documentation for supplements. The two most popular types of chalk for roofing are standard sidewalk chalk and railroad chalk. Railroad chalk offers brighter, higher visibility but has a waxy finish that is more difficult to remove. If you’re worried about how messy sidewalk chalk can get on an inspection, apply hair spray and allow it to dry – problem solved.

  3. Laser Pointer – Laser pointers are a great tool for pointing out damage to the homeowner as you walk through your roof inspection findings. It sets the tone for the conversation with the homeowner that you the contractor are professional and are an expert in your trade. It may sound silly but it works!

  4. Siding Zip tool – Priced between $6-$10, this little hand tool looks like an oversized bottle opener you might see your favorite bartender keep in his/her back pocket. The Siding Zip Tool (a.k.a. siding removal tool) is used to gently unlock two adjoining panels without damaging the nail hem. This is especially useful for checking the condition of nail-able surfaces, existence of insulation, existing moisture barriers, or water damage to the structure.  

  5. Core Sample Tool – Also known as a core sampler or core cutter, the core sample tool is essential if you are trying to get a flat roof approved. A core sample is when a contractor bores or drills out a 2-inch diameter hole in a flat roof, from the top layer to the deck, in order to see how many layers of roofing material exist. A core sample tool is typically in the $50-$90 range and can be manually operated or found as a power drill bit.

  6. Moisture Meter – A moisture meter can help you identify and document roof leaks that might not be visible to the naked eye. If moisture is able to penetrate a roof system then it can lead to a variety of issues like mold, dry rot, and cause further damage to the structure. The 2 most common types of moisture meters are Pin-type moisture meters and Pinless moisture meters. Pin-type meters calculate moisture by electrical resistance in various types of building materials while pinless uses radio frequencies. There’s a pretty wide range of pricing and features when it comes to moisture meters, but you can find a accurate, reliable model for $30-$70. We recommend this Pin-Type LCD Moisture Meter.

  7. PiVit Ladder Tool – This one won’t fit in your tool belt per se but it’s a must have for anyone climbing a ladder. While its main benefit is for ladder leveling, it can also be used as a ladder jack, step stool, stand off, paint can leveler, tool box and more. These also integrate nicely into PiVit’s Roof Boot product that can be used as a toe-board or staging shingles before an install. PiVit Ladder Tools are especially useful when using an extension ladder on surfaces that can be slick such as wood decks or driveways. You can wedge the PiVit under the bottom rung of the ladder to prevent it from sliding or kicking out. (I have personally seen this save someone in my former life as a house painter.)  A PiVit Ladder Tool will run you about $90-$130 but it’s worth every penny.

  8. Cougar Paws – This well known brand that makes traction-grip roofing shoes and other anti-slip accessories. Started by a roofer, they have been around for 25 years. Roofing is a dangerous job. Even if you are a roofing salesman and not actually doing a tear off or install, safety should be a top priority. Cougar Paws deliver on safety and have boots designed for both installers and salesmen.

Did we leave something off the list? Let us know what tools you use on every roof inspection!

Learn more about supplementing roofs.

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