11 Practical Tips on Doing Your Roof Yourself

11 practical tips on doing your roof yourself

The roof is often taken for granted and is only noticed when it’s leaking. It is, however, one of the most important parts of the house.

The roof serves as the family’s shelter and protection from elements such as wind, snow, and rain. Proper installation and maintenance are therefore required to always keep the roof in good condition.

Here are some tips for doing and fixing the roof of your house by yourself. Since the roof is situated way above the ground, it can be dangerous when one is careless or unprotected. It is also important to consider the cost, efficiency, and procedures involved for the work so as to accomplish the task properly.


Tip #1 – Are You Ready?

Preparation is a very important part of doing any construction job. Here are ways to prepare for working on the roof:

  • Clean and organize things. If you have a clean and organized area, your work will be easier and more efficient.
  • Keep your children and pets away from the area of construction. When working on your roof, make sure that children are kept away from the construction site. The same holds true for pet as falling debris can hurt and injure them.
  • Secure sensitive items. If you have plants and other items that can be damaged, cover them or temporarily move them away from the area where you are working at.
  • Keep vehicles safe. You don’t want anything to fall on your vehicles, so make sure that these are parked at a safe distance. Take it from me. My family lives in a townhouse, so I knocked on the neighbors’ doors to ask them to move their cars to a safe place too.
  • Cover open areas that could get dirty. Learn from our mistake. We have a balcony from our bedroom and that was used for people to climb up and down the roof. The balcony ended up covered with nails, old shingles and dirt because we didn’t cover it. So don’t do what we did and make sure you put a tarp or something. Otherwise, the nails and other debris will go into the cracks and you will spend hours trying to get them out.
  • Think about your indoor furnishing and other important stuff. Sensitive items inside the house should also be removed from the area where you will be working on. Things that can get dirty from dust and debris should also be covered and secured, just to be sure.
  • Prioritize personal safety. Of course, you also need to think about your own personal safety. So before starting on your work, identify dangerous areas and conditions first. Avoid going near power lines and stay away from the edges of the roof as much as possible too.

Tip #2 – Proper Way of Nailing Shingles

If you think that nailing shingles is a simple matter, think again. Nailing errors have been known to result in improper construction of roofs and cases of blow-offs during weather disturbances.

Nailing errors include under-driven nails, over-driven nails, and angled nails. All of these can result in poor roof construction.

It is therefore important to use the correct type of nails for a particular roofing project so as to ensure proper installation of shingles. The right length of nails will depend on the type of shingles that you’re using. If you are not sure, get assistance from the salesperson at the hardware store.


Tip #3 – Installing Ridge Vents the Right Way

Installing ridge vents is very important as these can lessen the amount of moist and hot air in your attic. The vents will also extend the life of your roofing system.

Since you will be working on the highest parts of the roof when doing this job, make sure that you are properly harnessed and protected while performing the job. Fasten the ridge vents securely and properly so that these won’t get blown off by strong winds.


Tip #4 – How Long Does it Take to Finish the Work?

The length of time involved in doing and fixing your roof will depend on a lot of things. If it’s a major job that involves tearing off a large part of the roof, the work can be extensive. But if the work only involves minor repairs, it won’t take that long to complete.

It’s important to note that the roof should not be left unprotected for so long as exposure to extreme weather conditions and other elements can result in damages. If possible, try to finish the work in just one day. And if that’s not possible, plan for an uninterrupted number of days to get the job done completely. It took us a week.

Needless to say, getting the assistance of several people will allow you to finish the work quickly. So if it’s a major roofing job, don’t do it alone. The boys helped us rip off the old shingles in 15 mins!


Tip #5 – Check on the Gutters, First and Foremost

As clogged gutters can result in leaks, regularly cleaning and checking on these should be a part of your routine. Not doing so can lead to water buildup when it rains; and the gutters can become rusty too.

Tip #6 – Don’t Go One on One with Bad Weather

Sure, a leaking roof is a big problem. But it’s not wise to go out on a bad weather just so you can temporarily fix it. This is especially true if your roof is covered with frost as it can be slippery. Even ordinary rain can expose you to danger when you attempt to fix a leak while it’s raining.

Think safety first and fix your roof when the weather clears up. This time, you can even work on a permanent solution to prevent future leaks.


Tip #7 – Safety, Safety, Safety

The roof is a dangerous place to be in because of its height. If you’re going to work on fixing your roof by yourself, you will need to stabilize yourself to avoid falling off. Wearing shoes with rubber soles will help keep your balance.

It would also help if you use harnesses especially if you are positioned at steep locations on rooftops. An extra hand from a friend or relative will also make the work more enjoyable. You can look after each other’s safety while up on the roof too.


Tip #8 – The Right Way to Check for Leaks

You can use a garden hose to check the roof for any leaks. Just aim your hose at different locations and soak the roof with water to see if there will be leaks.

Spraying the roof with water, however, is only applicable during warm weather conditions such as in the summer. During wintertime, the roof can get very slippery when wet.


Tip #9 Use Proper Materials and Procedures

If you’re using shingles on your roof, make sure that these are always in good condition. Damaged and cracked shingles can cause leaks, and you know how damaging that can be.

If shingles are accidentally damaged or cracked when you nail them, replace these with new ones immediately. Don’t wait for it to rain to see if it leaks, as it surely will.

Tip #10 – Planning and Buying Materials

It’s important to have all the materials you need when doing or repairing your roof. Surely, you don’t want to go to the hardware store every time you need something.

If you’re going to use shingles, measure the area so that you’ll have an idea as to the number of shingles to buy. It’s also practical to buy about 10 percent more, just in case you miscalculated. You can always keep the extra ones for future repairs.

Know the type of work that you’ll be doing so that you can buy all the things that you need in one go. Make a list of these things so as not to forget anything that could delay your work.


Tip #11 – Finally… Cleaning Up After the Work

Once you’re through working on your roof, dispose of all the collected debris and junk properly. It would be wise to run a magnet over the area of construction too, so as to collect nails and other metals that could have fallen from the roof.


Is it a Job for…. Handyman?

If you are a handyman or DIY type of person, you can surely perform minor jobs on your roof all by yourself. And if you are really experienced in carpentry work, you can even handle more demanding tasks.

Should you find that the job demands too much work, however, don’t hesitate to hire a contractor or a professional carpenter. Remember, the roof is an integral part of your house – and it needs to be properly installed and fixed to prevent leaks and other problems.

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