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DIY Tips for Roofing Your Home

Author: John Alois

Roofing your home? Having major repairs done to your roof, whether from storm damage or normal wear and tear, can be somewhat expensive. However, roofers have a highly specialized set of skills and tools that allow them to replace and repair roofs quickly and safely. 

In certain situations, there’s no reason why a homeowner, armed with a little research and preparation, shouldn’t be able to make some repairs to their own roof. With the following guide and the proper know-how, you too can repair the roof of your home.

Safety

If you consider making your roof your next DIY project, safety should be your number one concern. Roofing is very physically demanding work. Roofers often have to carry shingles and equipment up and down ladders all day on a roof that offers little protection from the sun and elements. If you have a home with a steeply sloped roof, or one that is higher than usual, it may be best to leave that job to the professionals and altogether avoid the possibility of serious injury or death.

If you are confident about moving forward with this project, start with some proper safety equipment. Fall prevention kits can be purchased from most hardware stores for around $100 and could be the difference between life and death.

Layers of your Roof

Gaining a basic understanding of your roof’s structure will help you immensely when it comes time to handle repairs on your own. For example, if you aim to prevent storm and weather damage, paying close attention to the underlayment of your roof can save you thousands in water damage repairs.

Underlayment

The underlayment protects against ice dams and water damage. Ice dams form when heat escapes from a poorly insulated roof and causes snow to melt during cold weather. The water can accumulate and re-freeze on the roof’s edge, causing damage to your roof and the wood underneath.

Underlayment is often called an ice-and-water shield. It’s installed in two layers that adhere to the layers below and above it. The material used in this layer is waterproof and seals around the roof’s edges as well as the nail holes used for shingles in order to further prevent water damage.

On top of that, layers of felt are stapled down to the underlayment. Be sure to overlap the felt slightly between sheets and over the peak of the house to ensure a water-tight seal. This layer will further prevent any water damage by shedding any water that makes it through the shingles.

Shingling

Next, a layer of starter shingles is laid down, followed by a top layer of shingles. Be sure to layer these shingles in a pattern that overlaps the edges, so water will have a more difficult time penetrating through the multiple layers. Placement and the number of nails used on each shingle are also crucial to forming a good seal on your roof.

Shingling using an improper nailing pattern is the largest cause of storm damage on roofs, so make sure each shingle has no fewer than six nails per shingle arranged to maximize their effectiveness. If you live in an area with more extreme weather, consider going for up to eight nails per shingle to ensure they stay in place.

Protect and Repair Storm Damage

Knowing how to protect your roof and house from damage when the weather turns cold and stormy can save you thousands of dollars in repairs. In addition, taking some preventative steps to stop ice dams and water damage to your gutter will help your roof last as long as you need it to.

Ice Dams

Ice dams occur when poor insulation allows heat to escape through the roof, allowing melted snow to seep into your roof’s lower layers and re-freeze. If an ice dam forms on your house, don’t chip at it with a hammer, as this can cause damage to your roof. Instead, you can pick up heated cables from your local hardware store and run them along the eave of your roof. These will prevent any ice from being able to form by melting the snow and preventing re-freezing.

If you already have a leak formed as a result of an ice dam, you first need to find the spot where the leak is getting in. To repair the leak, place a large fan in your attic, and aim it directly towards your leak. This will cause the water leaking to re-freeze and keep it out of your house. Once the weather improves, you can then repair or replace the damaged tiles, and re-seal your attic.

Gutter Guards

You can easily install a drip edge over your gutters to prevent water damage to the wood fascia on your roof. Typically made of either aluminum, galvanized steel, or copper, gutter guards ensure that water goes directly into the gutter to prevent mold or rot from forming on the wood. These devices can be easily installed using roofing nails, and there are many edge profiles available to ensure a good connection to your existing gutters.

When secured properly in place, drip edges do a great job of protecting your roof’s underlying frame and components from water damage and are an easy way to get your house ready for the winter.

Take it into your hands and save money

While roofing your own house can be stressful and difficult, there are certain projects that you can undertake today to make your roof more durable and ready to protect your home from the elements. By following the advice outlined above and doing proper research, you can tackle roofing your own home in no time at all.

With a little know-how and a few tools, you can improve your house’s insulation and prevent water damage, all while saving a lot of money. And if the job seems too daunting to DIY, call the experts at Ashton McGee Restoration Group while you relax – we got this, y’all.