Sometimes You Have to Do Scary Things

I just had the steepest roof job of my life. I previously had a post on how doing roof work can be dangerous and costly if you don’t do it right, and the danger part was at an all-time high when I did this job recently.

Pitched roof jobThis roof was on top of a 5-story commercial building. The regular roof on top of the building is flat, and in the middle of this flat roof is a pitched roof. Something like this serves absolutely no need at all whatsoever. It’s just an “architectural detail” that looks pretty from the road. It’s supposed to make all the credit card holders of the world think the building looks pretty and want to shop there.

Unlike any job before, I had to take a deep breath and just swallow how scared I was to get on a roof with this steep a pitch. I made sure that I brought another guy on the job with me so that he could call an ambulance right away if I fell off.

I wouldn’t let the guy even go up there to do any of the work himself either, it was just too dangerous and he was too green when it comes to roofing.

Since you’re reading this, you can assume that I lived, but dudes, it was scary. And sometimes in life, you’ve just got to do the things that scare you.


Sometimes You Have to Do Scary Things — 23 Comments

  1. Dude, I’m sure that roofing is a scary business. I painted houses for a summmer, and I remember having to get up on the second story of one particular house. Because of the angle, we couldn’t reach our extentioin ladders directly to the second floor. So, we had to put the ladders on the first story roof. The roof was super steep, and it scared the crap out of me. Needless to say, we moved our ladders very deliberately whenver we finished painting an area.
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    • Oh man, you’ve gotta be so careful doing that kind of stuff. Glad you finished it all safe! Extension ladders set up all cockeyed remind me of that movie Christmas Vacation when the guy is putting up his lights with the extension ladder and of course falls off :-)

  2. There is a roof in my neighborhood being done and the guys walk around like they’re on flat ground with no safety harnesses on. I watch them all day expecting to hear a scream from them falling to their death! Not a job for me!

    • Well, depending on the pitch of the roof, you certainly can just walk around no problem, so long as you’ve been roofing long enough that you have your “roofing legs,” as I say. But on very steep roofs, that’s just dumb to be without a harness.

  3. Wow, I am glad that it was not me. For some reason I have some crazy irrational fear about heights. Good thinking on your part to bring someone else with you in the case something bad happened. Great point that though in life you sometimes you just have to do something that scares you. I think it’s good sometimes to be taken out of one’s comfort zone.
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  4. I understand a rational fear of heights, if there is a large risk of falling. If that is the case though, shouldn’t you guys have a better safety system than a second man to call the ambulance? I’m thinking a scaffolding or harness or something. If you aren’t equipped to handle a slip when one is quite likely, I’d think you aren’t equipped right. That sounds like you’re either taking a dangerous shortcut, or your taking jobs out of the range your business is equipped for.

    • We actually do use harnesses for work like this, I had one when I was up there. But for really steep jobs, having a buddy there too is a good idea.

  5. I don’t see a safety line in that picture haha. 1-800-Cal-OSHA. I remember doing some pretty scary roofing jobs but we always used roof jacks to make it easier to work. Not a big fan of doing any roof over a 7:12 pitch myself. My roof is so close to the ground in the winter I just jump off. Lots of snow up in here.
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  6. Ha! I decided that I was going to be a big girl and get up on top of the garage (one story) to clean the side of our second story siding. I got up the ladder about 4 steps, started shaking, and decided to come back down and let Jeff do it. I’m not even scared of heights, just ladders! I think I saw Home Alone too many times as a kid. If you know what I’m talking about, good for you…you’re old too! 😉
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  7. Now I know why there are so many guys that stand around at a construction site, to call the ambulance if something goes wrong! Joking. That scares me to death. We have a pretty steep pitched roof and I dread the day when it has to be redone. We will certainly hire that out and pray no one falls off.
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  10. Well, you’re only born with two inate fears: loud noises and falling.

    That said, I have a ridiculous pitch on my roof. I had it replaced a little over a year ago and the guys, seasoned veteran roofers with skin resembling tanned leather, wore some sort of spike shoes. I still thought I was going to be scooping brains off the driveway. Long story short, I paid $15,500 cash, and everyone lived.

    You’re a ballsy fellow, and I don’t envy you, but I certainly appreciate what you do!
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