Should you DIY for a roof replacement? What about just a few shingles? In short, NO. And I usually support do-it-yourself stuff because you won’t get ripped off by a contractor that way, and you’ll learn about your home’s maintenance. But in the case of roofing, you should leave that to the professionals. And why is that? Glad you asked…
I got a call last week to replace some shingles on a 10/12 pitch roof. A roof of that pitch is like a barn roof almost, you have to wear a harness and almost rappel down the side. The job took 6 hours and 2 of those hours were safety prep work before I could even get up on that roof. Most people can’t walk a 10/12 pitch roof (which makes me pretty awesome that I can), but unless you’ve got your roofing legs, you will fall. Probably break your neck, too. It’s dangerous.
If you don’t have your roofing legs, you just shouldn’t go on a roof. Especially a roof with a steep pitch, it’s very hard to walk up there. Harder than it looks.
When working with shingles, if you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing, you can completely compromise the integrity of the shingle you’re cutting into. There’s a specific knife blade you need and you absolutely got to know what you’re doing. A compromised shingle means roof leaks or mold problems (or both) depending on how bad you did the job.
The shingles on this particular house needed repairing and so did the roof vents. Roof vents are another thing that a homeowner shouldn’t even attempt to do. You’ve got to know exactly where and how to cut these vents or you’ll ruin the integrity of your roof shingles.
Roof vents are in two places. One place is in the soffit of a house (by the eve that hangs over the house. I talked all about moldy soffits in a previous post, remember?). These roof vents allow air to come in, and the air travels through the attic, and out the roof vents on top of the attic.
A lot of people think that putting insulation by those soffit vents or attic roof vents will make your heating/cooling more efficient, and they’re right. But if you’re attic can’t breathe properly with an air flow, you will have a serious mold problem in not too long. So don’t put insulation in the way of the vents. The attic air should be the same temperature as the air outside, not colder or hotter. If there’s snow on your roof and it’s melting faster than your neighbor’s snow, then you’ve got a ventilation problem in your attic.
Cutting shingles and making the roof vents is careful business, you’ve got to know what you’re doing or you’ll end up with a slow leak (or a fast one, depending on how much you suck).
Bonus sidebar for you satellite dish people: When you get a satellite dish put on your house, you should always ask the contractor how they’re going to anchor the dish to your house. Ask them how they’re going to ensure that the roof doesn’t leak. Some installation guys will just screw the dish right into the roof! They put no sealant on the screws and then about 5 years later there’s a leaky roof. And actually, homeowners should ask the contractor for picture proof that they installed the dish properly. Contractors should have no problem doing that with the phone cameras these days.
So what’s the lesson today kids? Let the professionals do it when you’re dealing with roofing, or I will reach through the computer and smack you.