Home Inspection, Roofing

Can a Drone Accurately Inspect My Roof? Read This First

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A roof inspection is an essential aspect of roofing and home maintenance. The process can be slow, tedious, and dangerous, leading the inspection industry to utilize modern technology to perform the task more efficiently. Many who require the services of a home inspector may wonder, can I use a drone to inspect my roof? 

Drones can effectively perform roof inspections. The rise of drone inspections has transformed how we approach roof maintenance, offering a bird’s-eye view that ensures no detail is missed. Using a drone is faster, less expensive, more accurate, and more comprehensive than performing the inspection manually. Drones offer additional services such as 3D mapping and infrared scanning.  

Drones are an excellent tool for roof inspections, but they must be used well, and using a suitable drone is essential to execute the review properly. 

Let’s look at roof inspections using drones, what this process entails, how much it costs, and how effective these machines genuinely are for this application.

Do Home Inspectors Use Drones?

Some home inspectors do use drones. Modern home inspectors often utilize drones to perform otherwise dangerous inspections, such as roof inspections. This technology allows the process to be completed faster and far more safely than older methods. Not all home inspectors use drones, but many do.

Modern home inspectors have high-tech equipment and technology to perform home inspections more accurately, thoroughly, and safely. Some of the more modern tools include using drones for home inspections.

The use of drones has revolutionized home inspections. These machines make the process of performing home inspection far safer and much quicker than it would otherwise be. 

Drones are used mainly for roof inspections. A roof inspection is an essential aspect of a home inspection. It is often one of the most time-consuming and dangerous inspections to conduct.

Using a drone for home roof inspections is often more accurate than manual roof inspections, as the entirety of the roof can be examined more thoroughly from every angle. This accuracy is mainly due to advanced drone technology, which allows for high-resolution imagery and precise data collection.

Not every home inspector uses a drone, but those who use it can perform inspections far more quickly, safely, and thoroughly. Choosing a drone for roof inspections not only expedites the process but also enhances the safety of inspectors by reducing the need to access the roof physically.

Which Drones Do Home Inspectors Use?

Home inspectors use various drones to conduct roof inspections. Still, the drones that home inspectors use must meet precise criteria for use in home inspections.

Any drone used for roof inspections must be stable, easily controllable, capable of capturing and recording 4K video footage and at least 12-megapixel photographs, have a long battery life, and be portable and programmable on some level.

For this reason, some of the most commonly used drones among home inspectors include:

These drones offer the features home inspectors require to conduct safe and accurate roof inspections. Moreover, drones provide an invaluable perspective for inspecting solar panels, ensuring they are installed and functioning correctly without requiring risky manual checks.

Several other drones on the market reach the above specifications. However, these are some of the leading drones in the industry that are used for this purpose.

How Drones Are Used To Inspect Roofs?

Drones are often used for roof inspections by being flown over the house and scanning the roof for potential issues. 

Regular roof inspections are vital for maintaining a home. These inspections reveal potential problems that must be resolved before they become expensive repairs. A proper roof inspection can save thousands in inexpensive repairs, and it will keep the house safe for all occupants.

The drones used for inspections are equipped with high-resolution cameras to take video footage and photographs of the roof to be examined for potential roofing flaws or damage.

The methods for using drones to perform roof inspections vary. The methods depend on the inspection agency, the inspector, the drone, the camera equipment, and the software used to analyze the information that the drone captures.

The inspector will fly the drone over the house’s roof, scanning for potential problems, damages, or code violations. Simultaneously, the footage is captured and stored in a Cloud or onboard memory drive for later inspection.

Some home inspectors or home inspection agencies will use more sophisticated drones and programs that allow the drone to be programmed to fly on a pre-planned route through the roof of the building.

This method allows the inspector to send the drone on its autonomous flight to survey the roof while the inspector can observe the footage without focusing on flying the drone.

These drones capture footage in a virtual cloud for later inspection and processing. It is not uncommon for these drones to take very high-resolution images of the roof for a 3D digital model to be created for a more in-depth inspection.

Why You Should Hire A Home Inspector Who Uses A Drone

When it comes time to perform a proper home inspection or a roof inspection, hiring a qualified home inspector is essential. Using a home inspector who uses a drone is not crucial, but there are some advantages to finding the right inspector who does.

Hiring a home inspector who employs a drone may be cheaper than an inspector who does not. Using a drone is faster and less labor-intensive than performing a manual roof inspection. Using a drone is more accurate, more comprehensive, safer, and more efficient.

Let’s consider the benefits of hiring a home inspector who uses a drone.

Using A Drone Is Less Expensive.

In contrast to traditional inspections, drone inspections can be conducted without the additional costs of manual labor and extensive safety equipment.

A home inspector who utilizes a drone will likely charge much less than an inspector who manually performs the inspection.

Roof inspections without a drone take a long time and require multiple inspectors and heavy equipment such as ladders or scaffolding, and these inspections are dangerous. 

These factors make a manual roof inspection an expensive exercise. The inspector will charge for more time and labor, more staff members, a larger vehicle, more equipment, and more insurance to cover everything in the event of an accident.

Using a drone effectively cancels out many of these expenses. One inspector can do a roof inspection that is performed using a drone. They do not need any other equipment or ladders. They do not require a large vehicle to get the equipment there, and the inspector themselves is in no danger whatsoever while performing the inspection.

Performing a roof inspection with a drone is far more cost-effective and efficient than a manual review.

Using A Drone Is Much Faster

Compared to traditional roof inspections, drones can survey complex areas without the time-consuming setup of ladders and scaffolding.

Manually inspecting a roof entails the inspector, or multiple inspectors, climbing onto the house’s roof and carefully moving over it, checking it for problems, danger, code violations, and damage.

This process is lengthy and time-consuming, and its danger causes the inspectors to move slowly and cautiously while conducting the inspection.

This process is significantly faster when a drone is used and far more comprehensive. An inspector who uses a drone can survey the entire roof in a matter of a few minutes, and all of the footage may be reviewed in the same amount of time.

The inspector will send the drone up to fly along a pre-plotted route or fly the drone themselves and scan for potential problems. This process is straightforward and requires very little time.

Using this method means that the entire process may be as quick as 20 minutes, depending on the inspector, while manual inspections may take days to complete.

Using A Drone Is Much Safer

A manual roof inspection is a potentially hazardous endeavor. Moving around on a rooftop presents many dangers, and there are home inspectors who have been severely hurt while performing roof inspections.

Using a drone to perform the inspection effectively eliminates the danger of roof inspections. Additionally, it minimizes human error, ensuring a more reliable and thorough inspection outcome.

Flying a drone over the house to survey and inspect the roof allows the inspector to remain safely on the ground. 

Using A Drone Is More Comprehensive

Using a drone allows the inspector to view the roof from every possible angle and leaves no roof area uninspected. A drone can survey the entire roof, regardless of accessibility. If the drone has a good-quality camera, the footage from the fight is more than clear enough to identify every potential problem.

This footage can be reviewed by the inspector on-site while the drone is in the air, and it is stored either onboard the drone or externally in a digital Cloud, which allows the inspector to inspect the roof once the drone has landed more thoroughly.

In some instances, this footage may even be used to generate a 3D-rendered model of the rooftop, highlight every issue and potential problem, and help identify solutions and fixes.

These advantages are not present with a manual roof inspection.

Some drones may even be equipped with thermal cameras to identify potential issues under the roof’s surface, such as unsafe ventilation and HVAC system exhausts. Thermal inspections conducted with drones can reveal hidden issues like poor insulation or moisture intrusion.

Using A Drone Is Overall More Effective And More Efficient

Insurance companies are beginning to recognize the value of drone-assisted inspections for their precision and comprehensive reporting.

Using a high-quality drone to inspect a roof is less expensive, faster, more comprehensive, and far more efficient.

Drones can even be equipped with infrared imaging equipment to identify problems within the roof, such as leaks and weaknesses, without requiring the inspector to enter the house.

The results of this very comprehensive inspection are available within minutes in most cases. Rendering 3D models of the roof may take more time, but overall, the turnaround time of a roof inspection performed with a drone is about one-third of the overall time of a manual review.

How Much Does A Drone Roof Inspection Cost?

Drones are very effective tools for conducting roof inspections. We have established many uses for a drone in this application, but how much does a drone roof inspection cost? Is it more expensive to the client than a manual inspection?

A drone roof inspection may cost anywhere from $75 to a few thousand dollars, depending on how big the house is, how long the review takes, and additional services such as infrared scans, 3D modeling, and orthomosaic mapping. The average cost is between $75 – $600.

The cost of a drone roof inspection is based on various factors. These factors include the area of the inspected roof, the distance the inspector has to travel to get to the house, and any additional services that the inspection may require or the client requests.

The most inexpensive aspect of the inspection is the drone flight itself. For this reason, a basic inspection with no reviewed footage or additional services may cost as little as $50 for a small house, as the flight time may be less than 20 minutes.

For larger houses, the flight time will be longer, increasing the home inspection cost. Large homes may cost as much as 0 to inspect with a drone.

Additional services such as 3D mapping and infrared scans will cost extra, and how sophisticated these services are determines the inspection’s overall price.

A sophisticated 3D digital rendering of the roof of a large house, along with an infrared scan, may even cost a few thousand dollars to complete.

The only way to know how much a drone roof inspection of your home will cost is to contact your local home inspector for an estimate.

Do Roofers Use Drones?

Roofers do use it. Roofing contractors increasingly adopt drones to assess and plan roofing projects with greater accuracy and efficiency. Drones make roofing projects safe, faster, and more efficient. Roofers use drones to schedule, inspect, monitor, and execute the project more accurately.

Roofers use drones for many purposes during a roofing project. One of the primary uses of a drone on a roofing project is making assessments while construction is underway. 

The drone operated by a skilled assessor can make assessments on the go and view any part of the project at any time. Without a drone, this requires an entire team to accomplish.

These drone assessments are also helpful for initial estimates before undertaking a project. One drone pilot can assess an accurate estimate rather than an entire team being sent out to complete the task.

The imaging equipment installed on most drones allows it to be used to make measurements for the project. These measurements can be more accurate than a team member can make, and it takes the drone far less time to complete this task.

This imaging equipment can also identify damage and danger that the rest of the team may not notice.

These features make a drone a valuable asset to a roofing team. Using a drone reduces costs for the project and frees up skilled workers to perform crucial tasks, while one drone can handle all assessments, inspections, and surveillance. 

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Drone Pilot?

Drone pilots are specialized UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) operators and have a unique skill set. Drone pilots often achieve qualifications that allow them to capture footage for various fields of industry, such as home inspections. 

These qualifications mean hiring a drone pilot to take footage of your roof for a home inspector to review is an option, but how much does it cost to hire a drone pilot?

Drone pilots usually charge by the hour. In general, the lowest hourly rate of a drone pilot is $100 per hour, and the most expensive is $300 per hour. The fee is usually based on experience, the requirements of the job, and the equipment that the pilot uses.

It is possible to hire a drone pilot to capture footage of your roof to be reviewed by a home inspector to check for potential issues. As long as the drone pilot is FAA-approved and has the necessary certificates to perform this task, it is legal for them to do so.

Hiring a drone pilot may be less expensive than hiring a home inspection agency with a drone. Still, if the footage is good quality, comprehensive, accurate, and captured correctly, an inspector can assess it.

Drone pilots charge per hour, and many have a minimum flat rate charged for anything less than an hour. 

This fee is determined by how experienced the pilot is, how long the drone flight is, how much footage must be captured and processed, and the equipment that the pilot uses.

A more experienced pilot with more high-end equipment may charge more than a less experienced pilot with less expensive gear. The price of the flight will also be more costly for larger homes, as this will require more time in the air.

Hiring a drone pilot may be more expensive in some cases than hiring a home inspection firm that uses a drone. Still, you are more likely to receive higher-quality footage and scans from a drone pilot than from a home inspector who uses a drone.

Which option to choose depends on your needs and your budget.


Drones are handy tools when used for a roof inspection. These machines are versatile, and they can streamline every aspect of the inspection process.

Using a drone to execute a roof inspection is safer, faster, more efficient, and more comprehensive than climbing onto the roof and performing the inspection manually.

Drones help cut costs, as only one home inspector is required to perform the inspection rather than an entire time, and far less equipment is necessary.

Using a drone allows for more sophisticated inspection techniques, such as infrared scans and 3D mapping.

You can use a drone to inspect your roof. Still, it should be done by a qualified professional or a certified and approved drone pilot.

Using a drone makes the entire process smoother, but it must be done well for the process to be worthwhile.











Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.