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    7 DIY Roofing Tips for Handy Homeowners (& When To Call the Pros)

    We get it. Sometimes you just want to take on a DIY roofing project on your own. It feels satisfying and you might even save a couple of bucks.

    While there may be some DIY projects out there that you can figure out how to do through a 10-minute YouTube tutorial, others are a little more complicated. Most roofing projects would fall under the second category.

    When you’ve done it enough times, roofing basically becomes second nature. But, the first few projects you work on can be a bit tough. If you want to do some work on your roof without hiring roofing contractors, follow these 7 tips to ensure it goes smoothly.

    1) Work With Someone Experienced in Roofing

    First and foremost, if it’s your first time working on a roof, you’re going to want to partner up with someone who is experienced. They’ll be able to show you the ropes and make sure that everything is done how it’s supposed to be done. A bad roofing job will lead to expensive repairs. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to serious damage to your home.

    Weak roofs in heavy snowfall climates are especially susceptible to severe damage. For example, an ice dam can form on a roof that isn’t properly ventilated, which can lead to a collapsed roof.

    Now, we’re not saying this to scare you. Instead, we just want to illustrate how important a good, solid roof is to your home. Having an experienced vet to lend a hand and show the ropes is the best way to handle your first DIY roofing project.

    2) Make Sure You Have the Proper Safety Equipment

    If you haven’t worked on a roof before, then you probably don’t have the equipment yet to take on the job. You’ll have to decide if you want to rent or buy some of the tools—like a roofing nailer.

    If you believe this will be your one and only roofing project, then you could probably get away with renting. But, if you’d like to learn a little bit about the trade and may work on your roof in the future, consider buying most of your equipment.

    If you’re not quite sure what to buy or rent for your roofing gear, here are a couple of great resources to start off your search:

    1. 15 Roofing Tools Every Good Roofer Needs
    2. Top 10 Essential Roofing Business Tools
    3. 10 Roofing Business Essentials

    3) Carefully Measure Out Your Roof Dimensions

    Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes a first-time roofer can make is not measuring the square footage of their roof properly. This can lead to either purchasing more shingles than you need or, on the opposite end, not getting enough. If you know what you’re doing, measuring the square foot of your roof is pretty straightforward.

    Check out this awesome breakdown video from Rox Roofers and Exteriors on how to do it.

    See, not too hard! Ensuring that your estimation is as close as possible will help save you headaches down the road.

    4) Pick the Right Shingles

    Picking the right type of shingle for your roof is a big decision. Not only are you investing in the aesthetic benefits the shingle provides, but also its durability.

    To ensure that you find the perfect shingles for your new roof, check out our helpful shingle guide down below:

    We break down some of the top asphalt shingles on the market by the following categories:

    • Weight
    • Nailing Zone
    • Pull Test
    • Coverage
    • Count/Consistency
    • Online Reputation
    • Granule Loss
    • Contractor Programs and Education
    • Sealant
    • Warranties and Class-Action Involvement

    5) Properly Clean Your Roof

    Before you begin any DIY roofing project, you must properly clean your roof. Twigs, leaves, and other debris accumulates on your roof over time, and cleaning your roof allows water to drain more effectively.

    All it takes is a household broom that you have laying around to gently sweep away the debris. Push the debris in the direction of the shingles to avoid breaking them. Avoid using a power washer on your roof because the sheer force can severely damage your shingles.

    While you’re clearing the debris on your roof, clean your gutters as well.

    6) Don’t Ever Attempt a Roof Overlay

    We’re not quite sure why, but once upon a time, someone decided that it would be a good idea to lay a new roof over their old roof. Coined as a “roof overlay,” we can only guess that the idea behind it was to save money since you wouldn’t need to replace existing shingles, redeck the roof, or do cleanup.

    But, we can’t stress this enough: don’t ever attempt a roof overlay. There are multiple issues with roof overlays, including:

    • A much shorter lifespan than a properly installed asphalt shingle roof
    • Traps much more heat
    • Prone to issues arising between the two layers
    • Frequent ice dams

    Even a DIY roof project will still cost you a good chunk of change, so it’s always better to opt for a professional roofer instead of saving a couple of bucks on a project that will cost you more money and stress down the line.

    7) Make a List for Regular Inspections

    One of the safest DIY roof projects you can do is performing regular inspections. Regularly inspecting your roof is a great way to catch issues and damage before they cause big headaches down the line.

    Make a roof inspection checklist for yourself so that you know what to look for in your DIY inspections. This list can include:

    • Look for loose or protruding nails
    • Loose or missing shingles
    • Granule loss on shingles
    • Clogged gutters and downspouts
    • Missing caulk on the metal flashing
    • Outside light peaking through indoors
    • Water stains on interior ceilings

    Situations When You Should Call in a Pro

    While there are many DIY projects that can be completed by novice roofers with some help from an experienced friend, there are many instances in which it’s best to leave it to a professional contractor.

    For example, if your roof is severely damaged (like if there are multiple leaks), failing to make the correct repairs could lead to disaster down the road. A bad leak can turn into a collapsed roof. Best to leave leaks and other heavier damage to the pros for this reason.

    If you live in a climate that sees a lot of precipitation—whether rain or snow—ensuring that your roof is stable enough to last through heavy rain and big snowstorms is essential. If your roof receives a regular beating from the elements year in and year out, then consider a roofing contractor to get the job done.

    Additionally, if your roof gets damaged by a storm, you may be able to secure insurance compensation for a new roof. All storm damage should be handled by a professional roofing company so that you don’t void your insurance coverage.

    In general, all total roof replacements should be handled by a professional.

    Shingle Guide to Get You Started

    Picking the right type of shingle for your roof is a big decision. Not only are you investing in the aesthetic benefits the shingle provides, but also its durability.

    To ensure that you find the perfect shingles for your new roof, check out our helpful shingle guide down below:

    We break down some of the top asphalt shingles on the market by the following categories:

    • Weight
    • Nailing Zone
    • Pull Test
    • Coverage
    • Count/Consistency
    • Shoutout to Sponsors
    • Online Reputation
    • Granule Loss
    • Contractor Programs and Education
    • Sealant
    • Warranties and Class-Action Involvement

    If you’ve decided that hiring a professional roofer is best, check out the Roofing Insights Directory to find a qualified roofer near you!

    When In Doubt, Trust the Pros

    There are a few DIY roofing projects that can be completed by a skilled and confident homeowner. But, it’s almost always the safest and most cost-effective to hire a roofing professional to take care of your roofing issues. When you hire a professional, you get warranties and skilled labor.

    So when it comes time to hire a professional instead of trying out a DIY project, check out the Roofing Insights Directorii to find a qualified roofer near you!

    Quentin Super
    Senior Copywriter at Roofing Insights, author of the internationally-selling book The Long Road North, founder of quentinsuper.com

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    2 Comments

    1. My sister would like to hire a roofer that will be able to address the leaky shingles. Thank you for sharing here as well the importance of hiring an experienced roof. I also agree with you that it would be best to check their equipment too.

    2. I would like to hire a roofer that will be able to replace my home’s roof with a new one. Thank you for sharing the importance of opting for an experienced roofer. I also agree with you that leaks must be checked too.

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