If you’re someone who knows their way around power tools and enjoys doing home improvement work, you may be interested in tackling your own DIY roofing projects. We don’t blame you for wanting to expand your skill set to roofing, as successfully completing difficult projects can be very satisfying.
However, DIY roofing projects aren’t as simple as the projects you may have taken on inside your home or on the ground. Whether you’re planning to fix a few asphalt shingles or follow through with an entire DIY roof replacement on your aging roof, a few YouTube video tutorials aren’t going to teach you everything you need to know.
If you want to start doing repair work on your own roof without utilizing a professional roofing contractor, you’ll want to follow the roofing tips below for the best possible outcome.
Always Work With Someone That Understands Roofing Systems
The buddy system is always encouraged when doing roof work, as having a partner will provide the following benefits:
- Extra pair of hands to complete the work quicker
- Extra pair of eyes to check your work — including the math you’ll have to do
- Someone who’s there to hand you tools, hold the ladder steady or call emergency services if you get injured
More importantly, you want to team up with someone who is experienced when it comes to roofing — especially if you are not.
Someone who knows how to do standard DIY roofing projects will be able to show you how to do things correctly. They’ll also be there to ensure that the job is done correctly so that your attempt at fixing your own roof doesn’t lead to costly damages to your roof or home.
For example, if you choose to replace your existing shingles but don’t install the new shingles correctly, the next storm could blow them clean off, leaving the underlayment exposed. This will only lead to excessive water damage to your roof and your home’s foundation.
Be Sure to Use the Proper Safety Equipment
If you’ve never worked on your own roof before, then you likely don’t have the safety equipment needed to take on the job. You can decide whether to buy or rent the equipment; however, you will need the following:
- Safety goggles
- Safety harness and ropes
- Proper clothing — long pants, long shirt, work boots, and gloves
- Guard rails
- Fall restraints
- Fall arrests
- Safety nets
- Stable extension ladder
You never want to just climb up on your roof and move around without the right safety gear
Measure Your Roof Dimensions Twice
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a DIY roof rookie is not measuring the square footage of your roof properly. Incorrect measurement can lead to you having to buy more asphalt shingles and other roofing materials than necessary or not enough.
Measuring your roof is a pretty straightforward process, but you’ll want to do it carefully and more than once to ensure you’ve gotten the right numbers down.
Here’s an overview of how it’s done:
- First, calculate your home’s square footage by measuring its length and width and then multiplying the two measurements together. (If your home isn’t a perfect rectangle, you’ll need to break it up into geometric areas and add the square footage of each together)
- Next, measure your roof’s pitch by dividing the vertical rise of your roof by the horizontal run. This will give you the number of inches that your roof rises per foot.
- Now factor in the slope by taking the pitch number and multiplying it by 100.
Of course, you’ll also need to factor in your roofing components to ensure you can come up with an accurate estimate of how much roofing material you’ll need.
Choose the Right Roofing Materials
Choosing the right roofing materials for new roof installation is important as they not only cater to the function and structure of your roof but also the durability and overall aesthetic. As a DIY-er, you may want to avoid metal, tile, or slate, which leaves you with the three different kinds of asphalt shingles:
- 3-tab shingles
- Architectural shingles
- Luxury shingles
Keep in mind that each will have a different installation process, which you’ll want to take the time to learn about so you do the job correctly. Of course, you’ll also want to ensure that you choose the other roofing materials wisely, including:
- Roof decking (if it needs to be replaced)
- Ridge capping
- Drip edge
Always Clean Your Roof First
Before starting any DIY roof replacement or repair, you always want to clean your roof properly first. Over time, debris accumulates, leading to insect activity, mold growth, punctures, and extra weight on certain areas of your roof.
Debris accumulation can mean there are hidden roof issues that you weren’t aware of, which can make the job that much more complicated. Also, if you don’t clean up a roof before carrying out a repair, you run the risk of damaging your new shingles and other roofing material underneath.
All you have to do is use a broom or plastic rake to gently sweep away the debris (in the direction of the shingles to avoid damage). It’s also a good idea to clean up your gutter systems while you’re at it — especially if you plan on keeping them.
Stay Away From Roof Overlays
At some point in time, roof overlays were a common solution to an age-old roofing problem. Some professional roofing companies will still suggest overlays — but would strongly advise against them, no matter what.
A roof overlay is when new shingles are installed right on top of existing shingles. It’s a way to save on roof material costs and cleanup, but it comes with several downsides, such as:
- Extra weight on your roof’s foundation and home
- A much shorter lifespan compared to correctly installed shingles
- It traps a lot more heat as there’s an extra layer of materials
- Due to the extra layer of materials, overlays are prone to warping and frequent ice dams
Consider Leaving It to the Pros
There’s a lot to learn about roofing. However, the most important thing to understand is that roofing projects can become complicated fast — especially for an inexperienced homeowner. While there’s no doubt that you can learn to carry out basic repairs like a pro, it’s always best to leave the roofing up to the actual professionals.
Trust Roofing is the professional roofing company that can handle all of your roofing needs, from maintenance to complete replacements. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services and to schedule a free roofing inspection!