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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Melbourne Beach, FL
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    Default Walking metal roofs

    More homeowners, including myself, are opting for metals roof coverings. During home inspections, I typically walk the roof, however, a few times walking on my roof I have experienced some slippage. This is causing me to become more leery walking metal roofs.
    As my roof was being installed, the workers would spray water onto installed metal panels and after water had dried off, then they would go on to roof. I live on a coastal barrier island, which could cause a salty film to form on roofs. Thus, the need to prewash prior to walking on roof.
    How are you and other inspectors inspecting metal roofs?
    Thank you for your reply.

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  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    No walking on metal roofs of any kind for me. Inspected from ground, with aid of binoculars and/or from edge only, and disclaimed as to limitations appropriately.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    You can walk metal roofs depending on how they were constructed. Not all metal roofs are laid onto a wood deck. Realizing what your dealing with is the first step to know what you are doing. I don't have a problem walking on a metal roof if you can. Even if not on a solid deck it still can be walked/climbed. Weight and support is the concern. I think fresh sea gull droppings are the slipperiest thing going on a metal roof.

    Falling is never the problem, it is just the sudden stop that I don't like.

    But dried droppings can offer some good traction....


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Soft rubber soles on work shoes, walk most of them with no problem. Around here they are almost all installed with sheathing or battens over sheathing, so fairly solid overall.

    At a certain pitch, or in certain weather, they are not safely walkable (like any roof).

    Dom.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    No walking on metal roofs of any kind for me. Inspected from ground, with aid of binoculars and/or from edge only, and disclaimed as to limitations appropriately.
    Not to pick a fight. But Jack may need a little background to understand your position.

    You should mention that you basically just don't walk any roofs. Nor do you use a ladder longer than 10 feet to look from edge. I think you have implied that you have been ground bound for the last 24 years.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Thanks for your concern Garry I don't have to explain anything since you seem to be my spokesperson.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Thanks for your concern Garry I don't have to explain anything since you seem to be my spokesperson.
    Not a problem....


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Like Dom, there were few metal roofs I didn't walk.

    Use your normal common sense to determine if you think it is safe for you - walk it carefully if you feel it is safe for you ... don't walk it if you don't think you can ... you can always try it out if you are not sure and decide then.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Wingo View Post
    As my roof was being installed, the workers would spray water onto installed metal panels and after water had dried off, then they would go on to roof. I live on a coastal barrier island, which could cause a salty film to form on roofs. Thus, the need to prewash prior to walking on roof.

    Thank you for your reply.
    Was the pre-washing to prevent it from being too slippery? We have a lot of metal roofs here, and it's usually not a problem. We are a long ways from an ocean, though.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Likely reason for pre-washing during installation is improper installation methods.

    The likely reason for that pre-washing may be to wash off the metal shavings left from cutting the metal panels with an abrasive blade (most state not to cut it that way), or metal trimmings from shearing with nippers or cutters.

    Walking on the roof before cleaning the panels off could grind those shavings/grinding into the protective coating. That leads to rust spots and premature rusting/rust through.

    They should be using an air hose or blower ... NOT water.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    ask your insurance company if they cover you falling off roof --most want to know what sop you go under--i know mine did

    cvf


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    ask your insurance company if they cover you falling off roof --most want to know what sop you go under--i know mine did

    cvf
    Charlie,

    Are you referring to E & O or health insurance?

    E & O shouldn't care as they don't cover it anyway.

    Health insurance doesn't really want you opening electrical panels either ... or going into attics or crawlspace ... or doing anything with creates risk of injury.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    exactly Jerry--if you go in stupid unsafe places you could be screwed--when i fell off a roof back in 2013---dislocated shoulder--craked hip bone and broken hand-i didn't tell my insurance company {health} what happened--they asked if it was HI related and i said i fell of my mountain bike--be careful out there--but if i had fallen off roof and caused house damage or thru roof at home i was inspecting my E&O would not cover me--pretty sure of that

    cvf


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    rockport texas
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    129

    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    I have workman's comp Insurance on myself. Cost less than $400.00 per year.


  15. #15
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    FL, TX
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Soft rubber soles on work shoes (like any roof).

    Dom.
    When I was a roofer I used to purchase really cheap shoes from Payless Shoe Source. They had really soft, almost gummy soles and were very cheap. There was almost no way to slip on any reasonably pitched roof!
    The shoes didn't last long, maybe a few weeks and the heat of the roof was felt through the thin soles but were perfect for that purpose and cheap. I went through a LOT of them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Soft rubber soles on work shoes (like any roof).

    Dom.
    When I was a roofer I used to purchase really cheap shoes from Payless Shoe Source. They had really soft, almost gummy soles and were very cheap. There was almost no way to slip on any reasonably pitched roof!
    The shoes didn't last long, maybe a few weeks and the heat of the roof was felt through the thin soles but were perfect for that purpose and cheap. I went through a LOT of them.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Soft rubber soles on work shoes,
    At a certain pitch, or in certain weather, they are not safely walkable (like any roof).

    Dom.
    When I was a roofer I used to purchase very cheap shoes from Payless shoe source. They were like a gum rubber sole. They didn't last long ( couple weeks) but were cheap and I never slipped on any roof of reasonable pitch.

    The heat of the roof could be felt through the thin soles, and I had to be careful of some types of nails (square washer nails). But they were the best and worth it.

    (note I had a problem with upload of this response, it may have uploaded and may not)


  17. #17
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    Vancouver - Canada
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    --but if i had fallen off roof and caused house damage or thru roof at home i was inspecting my E&O would not cover me--pretty sure of that

    cvf
    I think you're right Charlie, E&O wouldn't cover damage (or health coverage) caused by you falling through the roof. That's why (up here anyway) we are also req'd to carry CGL (Commercial General Liability insurance) which is supposed to cover any accidental damage created by us.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  18. #18
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    Apr 2014
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    FL, TX
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    Default Re: Walking metal roofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    damage (or health coverage) caused by you falling through the roof.
    \

    If you fall through a roof, then there was structural damage existing. The roof must be able to take the minimum loads without fail regardless of age. I was walking across one roof with two bundles of moist jumbo shake under my arms when the sheathing broke through. That was my fault as I easily exceeded the live load, well over 270 lbs as I walked. You can picture me with my feet in the attic and a bundle under each arm, not able to move or get out, trapped. We repaired it as we had the roof contract.

    For an inspector however, in essence there was a hidden danger, and there may be culpability by the owner as well. Certainly as long as no destructive examination is taking place and no repair ordered, there is expectation that the roof is safe unless visually not so. The true condition only became apparent as one walked on the roof.

    I am not sure what an attorney would say, but your liability insurance is for you dropping a ladder through plate glass window, or driving through a garage door. It could be argued that you did no actual damage, but that you were injured because of previous damage due to lack of maintenance or leaks etc!

    I remember one time I opened an attic access door, the door was very hard to open. Apparently the house had settled as the door would not close again (by over1/4 inch!). The customer was upset with me, however, I did no damage, it was already done. The door not closing was only a symptom of existing damage. No way I am paying to repair something that I did not harm by accident or by my action.

    Cheers.


  19. #19
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    Dec 2015
    Location
    Gauteng South Africa
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    4

    Smile Re: Walking metal roofs

    Walking new metal roofs can be a problem if the pitch is reasonably steep. I have noticed that with new metal roofs the sheeting sometimes has an oily layer in places, most probably from the rolling process. Washing the roof down removes dust and shavings etc. but either leaves the oil behind or spreads it further. This is particularly dangerous in the early part of the day when some dew may still be present on the sheeting. I walk only flat metal roofs!

    Jurie

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