Like with any DIY project, the key is not being afraid of asking questions, even multiple times. Asking experts from where I bought my supplies and asking experienced friends was very helpful.
Mc Farland, WI (Vocus) July 6, 2009
Recently SnugHarness.com, a fall protection company who serves companies and individuals needing fall protection equipment, has developed a tip sheet to provide help and knowledgeable support for DIY Roofers. There are many different types of DIYers out there and before undertaking DIY projects they must analyze their project to see if it’s something they want to attempt after considering their ability, safety, cost and scope of project. Taking a comprehensive look at everything - from personal health to fall protection equipment means less unpleasant surprises later which cost time and money.
There is quite a bit of conflicting advice for DIYers who are considering roofing their own home. Some naysayers try to frighten with their advice while others go the other extreme, saying it’s easy. One Midwestern Roofing business said that 99% of DIY roofs have incorrect application and should leave it to the professionals. While incorrect application can cause roofing problems, this extreme advice doesn’t take into account the different levels of DIYers. Rick Hudson, a DIY who successfully roofed his own home, found that a team of friends, proper research, and hard work saved him at least two thousand dollars. “Like with any DIY project, the key is not being afraid of asking questions, even multiple times. Asking experts from where I bought my supplies and asking experienced friends was very helpful.”
One of the first questions a potential DIY roofer should ask themselves is have they considered ALL the costs?
Consider these three questions:
Safety: Can the project be done safely? Roofing a ranch style house verse a three story Victorian house is very different in safety requirements. This is not to say more complicated homes can’t be done, but different safety investments must be considered.
Health: Roofing is not rocket science but it is back breaking work. Up and down ladders, tearing off previous layers, scrambling across a hot roof and carrying heavy equipment. One must decide if their body is up for the challenge before proceeding any further.
Cost: Break down ALL the costs of the job. After proper research, DIYers can find all the hidden costs. Team of friends helping out? Great! But also consider how much it will cost to feed (and hydrate!) the team.
Equipment: Rent, Buy or Borrow?
Obviously, one can buy equipment, but if it’s only going to be used once it makes sense to borrow or rent. Many home improvement stores will rent tools by the hour, day, week or even month. Some equipment it makes sense to buy since it can be used in other capacities. If one plans on being on the roof again for cleaning eaves, chimney or the like, it may make sense to install a permanent roof anchor that can connect with fall protection equipment. Personal protection equipment, like safety glasses, are a mainstay for DIYers safety protection in most projects. Other items, like air compressors, may be better to rent or borrow unless there is a long term plan for other DIY projects.
A list (some optional) to be considered depending on the situation:
Safety Equipment: safety glasses, fall protection equipment (bucket of safety- lifeline, anchor point & harness), gloves, knee pads.
Tools: sturdy ladder, nail gun, compressor, roofers hatchet, nail pouch, flat shovel (if scraping off old shingles) chalk line, tape measure, utility knife.
Consider a powered staple gun that enables one to double their speed.
Materials: shingles, asphalt paper, nails, tubes of chalking (Blackjack)
There are a wide variety of shingles available so research this topic well. Asphalt shingles range from basically 20 year life to 40 year life. Consider how labor intensive replacing a roof is and consider higher quality shingles, unless planning on selling soon. Higher life shingles are thicker and not only wear better, but have more protection against punctures.
Other expenses to consider: permit, dumpster rental (if one doesn’t want to haul on own), plywood for rotten areas, food supplies for team, How-To book or DVD, tarps.
The Basic Process:
1. Remove all shingles. Some experts allow for two layers of shingles before ripping off. Don’t do this if shingles are curling up. Realize that this might shorten the life of the roof. However, for some home owners, this is a temporary solution that they are willing to do, knowing that the life of the roof may be shorter.
2. Make repairs on roof if necessary (e.g. replace bad wood with plywood)
3. Install ice dam protector
4. Put down asphalt paper
5. Apply chalk line at regular intervals to ensure a straight application of shingles
6. Apply Shingles - start at eaves and work up
8. Seal flashing with caulking
9. Install ridge vent
Consider all resources. Friends who have equipment or experience with roofing. The public library is another free resource to try. Amazon has reviewed books and DVDs that deal with DIY Roofing.
As long as help and equipment are already present for roofing, some DIYers also decide to replace older, heavier, and smaller eaves and downspouts with newer, lighter, and larger eaves.
There is a wide spectrum of skills, abilities, resources and experiences for DIYers. DIYers should not attempt a roofing job until all costs are properly factored in and one knows if they can successfully accomplish the job.