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Can You Repair Your Own Roof?

A roof, by definition, is a dangerous place; it’s high, usually sloping, and has no fence or rail around it. Any time you go up on a roof, you are in a dangerous situation. Therefore, when considering doing a repair on your roof, you should ask yourself some tough questions. Is this particular roof repair within your DIY capabilities? Do you already have the right tools and equipment? How much money would you save by doing it on your own? Is it worth the time, effort, and risk?

These questions are difficult to answer. I never recommend a homeowner get on their roof, much less try repair it. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can do much more damage to your roof and possibly to yourself. The DIY websites show very simple straightforward roofs and if you are reasonably handy and follow all safety precautions and package directions you might be okay to roof your own home. However, it is still not as simple as they make it look. Also, if you have a steep roof or one with special flashing concerns such as a roof to wall, dead valley, hips, dormers, pitch changes, chimneys or a variety of other special issues, you DO NOT want to try it yourself.

A guy with common sense and a hammer might do a decent job on a small, simple, straightforward gable home, but those homes are rare today. The same goes for repairs. If it is a matter of replacing one or two tiles you might be able to tackle the job. The questions that need to be asked is: why am I missing one or two tiles and is there more extensive damage that I don’t see?

If you have a leak, it is time to hire an expert.

Newer homes or even remodeled older homes are tighter and more energy-efficient than ever before, but that causes new issues as well. Things to consider are ventilation, and improper ventilation is one of the biggest causes of roof failure. It can cause premature aging of tiles and rot of the roof deck and even mold and mildew issues in your home. Improper ventilation can draw moisture into your attic space. If you don’t properly seal chimneys, valleys or walls, you might cause leaking which could cause damage to your home and possessions, in some cases a leak into your attic may cause problems for years without any visible damage inside the home. By the time you notice damage on your ceiling, the damage to the structure of your roof may be extensive. If you don’t know what you are doing, the very act of walking on your roof can cause damage to the tiles, not to mention safety issues of falling off the roof and causing damage to yourself. Keep in mind that a day in the emergency room will be far more costly than hiring a roofer.

Some insurance companies will not pay the full claim unless you show that you have used a qualified contractor. Bundles of tiles can get pretty heavy and roofing is hot and hard work. It would be a shame to go through all that trouble just to save your insurance company money.

Ultimately my answer is yes you can repair your roof, but I would rarely suggest that you try it. There are too many ways to cause damage to the roof or yourself if you don’t take the proper precautions and ultimately these can end up costing you far more than the money you saved by NOT hiring a qualified contractor in the first place.

All that being said, choose a contractor carefully and do a little research, don’t hire the first guy that pulls up in a pickup truck with a hammer. Make sure he is licensed and insured and has the proper qualifications to do the job right. DO NOT think you will save money by hiring the cheapest guy- most often they will cost you far more in the long run.

 

Let’s talk about unspoken dangers first. Roofers have something instinctual like what sailors call sea legs. Roofers have spent so much time on roofs that they just know how to walk around, even on a slick roof, and not only maneuver skillfully but also feel comfortable while doing so. This comes from years of experience on a roof.

The typical homeowner doesn’t spend any time on their roof, and even if you happen to be a rock climber or a skydiver and you are already comfortable with heights, traversing a roof is an entirely different animal. The moral of all this is that being on a roof has an element of danger that is not often considered. Gusts of wind can come out of nowhere, and if you are carrying an OSB panel or something similar, you will likely find yourself on the ground and in pain.

Do-It-Yourself Roofing

After you have considered your ability and quelled your fear of being on a roof, you now need to consider the task at hand. Roofing is a lot like making a milkshake: there are not that many ingredients, and the chore itself seems simple… but, to make a good one, you need to know what you are doing. This metaphor breaks down in that if you make a bad milkshake you don’t have to drink it, but if you do a bad job of putting on a roof, you will have to live with it year-round or spend additional money to have your home re-roofed.

Painting is the easiest and most often attempted DIY project, and kitchen remodeling is attempted the least often. Roofing has to be somewhere here in the middle. Whether it is closer to kitchen remodeling or closer to painting depends on how much experience you have with roofing.

Roofing Advice

If you need a new roof to lower your energy bills and keep water and wind out of your house, but you cannot afford it, talk to a professional roof repair specialist. You may be able to do some of the work yourself. For example, if a tiling pro is coming to redo your floors, perhaps you’d want to rip up the old floor before he arrived. With roofing, talk with your roofing pro to see if he will allow you to tear out the old roof for a discount. Some roofers are so busy during the summer that they are happy to have you do some of this work.

Professional roofing contractors still need to repair the new roof, whatever roofing material it happens to be. Repairing a new roof yourself is not encouraged.

But when it comes to removing the old roof, it’s absolutely doable.

Tearing out the old roof is just muscle and sweat. Applying the new roof requires a little more skill, and it needs to be done quickly so that your roof is not vulnerable to the elements. This, in combination with the danger of being on a roof, makes this a tough task for those who have little experience with roofing.

Doing it Yourself

If you need to perform a minor repair, like fixing a leak or replacing a few tiles, you may be able to DIY. You can repair small sections of tiles that have broken or fallen off by simply detaching and replacing them using roofing cement and a caulking gun. But remember: this is only advised if you’re comfortable spending time on the roof and can do so safely.

When working on the roof, make sure to wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping, and always have someone else on the ground watching you. Do not attempt to go out on the roof in cold, windy or rainy weather and look out for power lines.

In addition, check out these two important considerations before you start:

● Warranty. Will your warranty be voided if you attempt DIY roof repair? Read the fine print carefully.
● Insurance. Does your homeowner’s insurance policy cover non-professional roof repair? If not, a future claim for damage may be refused, and you might even have trouble financing or selling your home.

Advantages of a Professional Roofer

For major repairs that are beyond your expertise or complicated procedures that require spending long periods of time on the roof, it’s best to hire an experienced roofer. Additionally, a roofer should inspect your roof periodically for damage caused by the elements if you live in a colder climate. In warmer areas, high temperatures can warp or melt tiles. There are often signs of a problem waiting to develop that only a professional can identify. Also, a roofer may be able to spot insulation problems which might be reducing your home’s energy efficiency.

Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Roof

You Don’t Save money

Repairing a roof is a big investment. Other projects, such as a bathroom remodel or finished basement, are showier and seem to deliver more bang for your buck. Because you don’t necessarily notice your roof, it can be hard to dip into your home renovation budget to repair it. For this reason, you might be tempted to save money by taking it on yourself.

However, you don’t save money when you DIY your roof. Replacing a few worn or missing tiles is one thing — tearing off the entire roof is another. Professional roofers know the problem areas to look for in a roof’s tiling. They’re also experts at identifying damage and providing homeowners with the most cost-effective way to fix it.

If you handle your roof repair and fail to spot problems, you will only incur extra costs down the road when you’re forced to hire a pro to repair your work.

You Void Your Warranty

Most, if not all, roofing material manufacturers will not guarantee materials that haven’t been repaired by a professional roofing contractor. The reason is simple: A botched repairation that misuses the materials will inevitably lead to costly damage.

If you attempt to repair your roof, you are taking a gamble that you won’t encounter any problems down the road. Even if you pull off a perfect repair, you won’t have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your tiles and other materials are covered by warranty. If you need to make repairs or a full repair in the future, you will be forced to pay out of pocket. Doing it yourself might save you a few dollars now, but it will almost certainly cost you more doing the road.

It’s Dangerous

Repairing a roof may look easy, but it’s dangerous work. There are numerous hazards to contend with, including heights, deep sloping surfaces, the weather and power tools. Experienced roofers have the tools and equipment they need to work safely. If you’ve watched roofing DIY tutorials on YouTube, keep in mind that these usually feature pros who are giving tips for basic repair work and simple patching jobs.

Practice makes perfect, and roofing contractors have the experience of doing a job over and over again. Chances are, as a homeowner, you’ve never repaired a roof. A home roofing expert will have done it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Not only can they get the job done faster, but you’ll also end up with a roof that improves your home’s curb appeal.

Furthermore, your roof might be so damaged that it has become unsafe. The warning signs of an unsafe roof include sagging, leaks, cracks in masonry and buckling ceilings. You should also watch for doors and windows that suddenly stick, as this could be a sign that your roof has shifted and affected your home’s frame.

If you suspect that your roof is unsafe in any way, you should stay off of it. A damaged roof can collapse, causing serious damage inside the home — and serious injuries to anyone walking on it. Homeowners have even been killed from a roofing fall or cave in. Don’t take chances with your safety. Call a roofing expert to perform a professional inspection.

There’s a Chance You Will Miss a Serious Problem

If you notice a stain on your ceiling after a hard rain, you might try to patch the leak and paint over the damage. Easy, right? This might fix an aesthetic issue, but it could miss a serious underlying problem.

If you attempt to patch without addressing the damage underneath, it’s only a matter of time before more widespread damage occurs. Once water finds a way into your home, it just continues to create damage. Over time, the water will spread, which can lead to mold, rot and even structural failure.

In many cases, homeowners wonder if they can cut costs by shingling over an existing roof. You might be able to achieve an appealing look by placing new tiles over the old, but this fails to address the issues underneath, which is precisely where you’re likely to have water damage. Furthermore, shingling over an old roof almost always voids the manufacturer’s warranty. It’s a short-term fix with serious long-term financial consequences. As a result, professional roofing repairers don’t recommend it and strongly discourage it.

It Won’t Look as Good as a Professional Job

Done properly, a new roof will add beauty and style to your home. While a roof isn’t always the first thing, people notice when they look at a house, you can be sure they’ll see it if it’s poorly repaired.

Considering that your roof covers the entire surface area of your home, it will stand out if it’s improperly repaired. Signs of a bad roofing job include rippling tiles and an appearance that isn’t uniform. In most cases, these defects will appear almost immediately after the roof is repaired.

DIY Repairs Are Costly

While it may be true that repairing your roof is cheaper on its onset (after all, you don’t have to pay contractors or suffer markup prices for materials used in construction), DIY repairs are also very costly to you. For starters, you have to forgo work or other important activities to work on your roof, which is an opportunity cost (the value of something lost to do something else instead).

Secondly, in order to get your roof accomplished in a short amount of time, you’ll have to hire friends or family to assist you. This can create a financial burden on you (in addition to your material costs), and having too many people on board for your roofing project can make mistakes more likely to happen, which will cost you more money in the long run.

To decide if doing your roof repairs is worth it to you, add up the estimated costs of materials, hours lost at work, and the number of helping hands you will need to hire at minimum wage (as an example). Compare your final roofing reparation estimate with that of a professional roofer: you will find that repairing your roof on your own isn’t as financially beneficial as you thought.

Sometimes doing these small repairs on your own could save you a few hundred dollars. However, it’s only worth it if you can fix the roof safely and successfully. If the job is more difficult and complex, an inexperienced homeowner may do more harm than good. When roofing problems aren’t treated competently, they tend to recur or get worse, causing you to spend much more money over time.

Ready to call the professionals?

Here at TopGlaze, we’re offering FREE inspections to our valued customers. The roof is one of the most important parts of your home. We want to help keep it in good shape!

If you have any questions about the process and the health of your roof, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 1800-887-798.

Alternatively, fill out the form on our website, and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can. When it comes to your roof, don’t wait for the problem to get bigger.

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