“DIY Roofing”. Good Or Bad Idea?

To DIY? Or to not DIY? That is the question.

Most people these days prefer the ease of hiring a professional when it is time to fix something. Whether it is our car, home, or something else.

However, a percentage of folks prefer to try their hand at fixing whatever may be broken, before spending the money on hiring a professional.

This can be consequence free much of the time, and can even be rewarding to the DIY daredevil. There is a point however where a professionals knowledge and skill is unavoidably necessary.

How so does one approach DIY roofing then? What is a healthy challenge vs. biting off drastically more than one can chew? In this weeks blog, we cover this very topic.

How to determine if it is safe to attempt a repair on your own.

For the amateur handyman, a small repair is often manageable. First, however, safety should be the concern. So, determining the safety of climbing on your individual roof is the first step. Not all roofs are the same.

Roof Pitch.

Roof Pitch Examples

One of the biggest factors in determining your roofs climb-ability is finding out your roofs pitch, or the angle at which your roofs surface was designed.

If your roof was built with a lower pitch (1:12 to 5:12), this type of roof is fairly easy to walk on, as it has a lower angle. A repair on a roof within this range could be manageable for the able bodied homeowner.

If your roof has a higher pitch however, then safety becomes more of a concern, as the footing becomes less solid. When on a roof with a pitch in the 6:12 to 8:12 range, the steep slopes are considerably harder to navigate.

A pro may feel safe on such a roof, but years of experience climbing on roofs might make it appear easier than it actually is.

9:12 to 12:12 pitch roofs, and steeper (up to 18:12), are considered incredibly unsafe to walk on without safety harnesses and other safety gear, by pros themselves.

We do not recommend, and strongly discourage, any attempt at climbing on higher pitched roofs. Your safety and well being is far more important than saving some money on roof repair by a professional.

Roof Condition

Deteriorating Asphalt Roof

Please understand, that even a low pitch roof can be dangerous to walk on depending on the individual, but more importantly the condition of the roof. If a roof is older, the asphalt shingles most commonly used to build roofs, deteriorate and become an unstable walking surface.

One of the prime reasons being, that the small pieces of asphalt that break off of shingles with time and weather, build up in different areas. Once under weight (of a daring homeowner, per say), the asphalt pieces, or “shake”, can give way and send you into a slide down your roof.

A loose shingle can also be a quick way to lose your footing and take a slide down a roof. Nails hold nice new shingles together well, but an older or wind damaged roof’s shingle nails may not be as secure as you would hope.

In cases of other types of roofs such as metal, tile, or other, caution should still be used. If you are unfamiliar with roof design concepts, you may be placing yourself on top of a surface without a great amount of support below it, depending on the design of the roof/quality of the build.

Roof Surface Moisture.

While we assume most people know that walking on a wet roof is not safe, we wanted to take the time to explain why that is.

Immediately after a storm (24 to 72 hours afterwards), there will most likely be moisture on the surface of the roof, making it much more slick/slippery to walk on. Pros themselves often refuse to even mount a rooftop during or immediately after a rain as it would not be the first time someone slipped and fell off of a roof, due to being wet.

(Not to mention the fact that you have raised yourself above most surrounding objects and increase chances of being struck by lightening, provided the storm is still anywhere nearby.)

In a nutshell, if your roof has not had ample time to dry, or if it is still raining (even nearby), just stay off of your roof. Again, your life is more important than stopping a leak.

Roof Sub-Surface Moisture.

Thermal Drone Image

This is where someone without professional knowledge of roof damage will most likely find stress. Moisture, trapped beneath the surface of your roof is hard to locate, even for pros.

While a DIY homeowner may find surface damage to their shingles, and replace those shingles, they may not be solving the whole problem.

Hidden moisture rots wood, plain and simple. Not to mention the damage it can cause to electrical devices beneath your roof. Professional roofing contractors are trained and have experience in locating trapped, sub-surface moisture.

However, even they don’t always know the full extent of the water damage until the roof is being peeled off, and the sub levels of the roof are exposed to the naked eye.

Some roofing companies employ the use of Thermal Drone Technology (example shown above) as a way to see beneath the surface of the roof, but this is no $20 trick. It can be somewhat pricey and requires a trained drone pilot to perform.

So, the DIY homeowner who has little or no experience in identifying hidden/trapped moisture, and water damage, can be up against a taller task than a small repair, and not even know it.

In Closing.

Keeping all of this in mind, if you are an able bodied individual, who is willing to take the responsibility of climbing on your roof, and accept the safety risks involved, then you might be in for a rewarding experience of repairing your own roof.

If you are feeling like perhaps a professional is better suited for this particular endeavor, then you are in luck! We write this blog to help educate the homeowners of DFW about roofing, and all it entails. However, we operate our own roofing company as well, Craven Roofing & Construction, Inc.

If you’d like to have one of our professional roof repair specialist come look at your roof, and go over all of your options with you, simply click here, and we will navigate you to our contact page on our website.

Thank you for reading!

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