Which Roof Repairs Are Safe to Tackle on Your Own?

Reader Contribution by Holly Welles
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If you’ve got a leak in your roof or a couple of shingles have come loose, you might be worried that you’re looking at an expensive call to your local roofing company to fix the problem. Depending on the severity of the problem, this might not be the case. 

Which roof repairs are safe for you to tackle on your own, and how can you stay safe while you’re working above the ground?

Fixing Small Leaks

A small leak — a single droplet now and then winding its way through your ceiling into the rooms below — doesn’t always necessitate a call to your local roofing company. 

There are a few variables here that you need to consider. These include the location of the leak, how much water is leaking through your shingles, what’s causing it, and whether you caught it early enough to prevent additional water damage.

You may be able to fix it yourself. Look for the usual villains, like missing shingles, vent flashing, holes, and other similar problems.  If you can get into the attic of your home, you can often figure out exactly where the leak is by where the water is pooling. 

Fixing Broken Shingles

A stormy night or a broken branch can easily pull a shingle or two from your roof — not enough to merit a full replacement but enough that leaving it unfixed could result in a leaky roof.  If the shingles are new enough, replacing one or two missing or broken ones shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon.

Take your time. Rushing through it could result in additional broken shingles which will just make your job harder than it needs to be. 

Staying Safe While You DIY

Whether you’re repairing a shingle, searching for a leak or debating a full replacement, it’s important to stay safe when you’re attempting your DIY repairs.

You should wear work boots with adequate traction and find personal protective equipment, or PPE, if necessary. At the very least, make sure the weather is cooperating. Extreme heat, cold or precipitation can make DIY roofing dangerous even for experienced homesteaders.

Serious work requires more thought towards your safety. Instead of using a ladder to get up and down from the ground to the roof, consider setting up some scaffolding. It’s more stable, easy to assemble on your own, and will keep you safe when you’re repairing the problems that would otherwise require a professional. 

When To Call a Roofer

Not every repair job is something that can or should be attempted by the average DIYer.  If you can’t find the leak, or it’s been leaking long enough that there is extensive mold or water damage, or you’re going to need to replace more than a few shingles because of the overall age of the roof, it’s time to call a roofer. 

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help — calling a professional is sometimes the best option when a project is too large to manage on your own. 

Don’t try to tackle a project that you don’t have the experience or tools to handle.  You could make the problem worse and you’ll end up calling a roofer anyway — and many charge more if you’ve already made the problem worse. 

Roofing Tips for Homesteaders

You don’t have to call a professional for every little leak and broken shingle. If you’re comfortable getting up on your roof or into your attic, these little hassles can be easy to fix.

Just make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew and make sure you’re staying safe by working on calm days and setting up some scaffolding instead of a ladder to make it easier to get up and down to finish your project. 

If there’s a lot of damage — especially if the wood in your roof is rotting or is home to mold colonies — or your roof is due for a replacement anyway, it might be best to leave it to the professionals.

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