Re-roofing your home is one of the most important aspects of a home renovation. A new, properly installed roof guarantees protection from rain, snow, ice and debris. It also boosts your property’s value and improves the energy efficiency of your home.
Despite the key role that a roof plays in protecting a home, many DIYers insist on attempting this project by themselves to save money. However, re-roofing is one of the most dangerous home improvement projects out there, and doing it improperly can lead to disastrous consequences. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you leave your roof replacement in the hands of experienced roofing professionals.
Why You Shouldn’t DIY It
Whether you need to repair wind damage or replace an aging roof, DIYing your roof replacement is strongly discouraged for the following reasons:
1. Your Lack of Experience
Chances are that you do not have an in-depth knowledge of how roofing works. Most professionals in the industry dedicate hours and hours perfecting their skills with other contractors before they set out in business on their own. They are licensed, experienced and know exactly how much material they will need for a project. DIYs who attempt to do this project on their own tend to either grossly under- or overestimate the amount of material that they need.
Regardless of how much research you do, you won’t be able to gain the understanding that roofing professionals have, so it’s best to leave this complicated project in experienced hands. Your roof is not something you want to experiment with — it’s better to get it properly replaced the first time to avoid needing repairs later on. Homeowners who attempt a re-roofing project on their own to save money often end up spending more money, as they have to hire a professional to fix the mistakes they made.
2. High Risk of Injury
People fall off roofs every day, and many become seriously injured or die. Even if you’re extremely cautious when walking on your roof, keep in mind that you may not be as aware of your surroundings since you will be learning a new skill and most of your attention will be focused on re-roofing. If you stop paying attention to your footing for even a second, you could slip and fall off the roof.
Other potential roofing dangers include:
- Unstable roof: Roofs, especially if old or installed improperly, may not necessarily be able to support your weight. It could also bow on a hot day or have trusses that aren’t intact. Professionals know how to inspect the underlayment and assess the stability of a roof.
- Improperly placed ladder: Poorly placed ladders lead to numerous fatalities every year. When placing your ladder, you must make sure it’s at a 4:1 angle, the top is above the roofline and the feet are secure. Never forget to inspect your ladder before you use it.
- Weather: Snow, ice and high winds always pose a hazard if your roof is slippery. Membrane roofs are particularly slippery when wet and should be avoided in these conditions.
- Lack of edge awareness: Sometimes people become so wrapped up in their project that they forget where the edge of the roof is.
- Holes in the roof: A fall through a poorly covered roof hole or unguarded skylight can be just as deadly as falling off the edge of the roof.
- Improper training: If a person working on a roof has not been properly trained in the correct safety procedures, they are a rooftop safety hazard and could injure themselves or others.
- Incorrect use of fall protection gear: Examples include a lanyard that’s too long, a poorly anchored railing or a weak tie-off point. It is critical that you understand how to properly use fall protection equipment.
- Poor line of sight: Shingle bundles, chimneys and ridge vents could block egress on your roof. Make sure to maintain a good line of sight so you’ll always know where you are in relation to the edge of the roof.
- Steep pitch: The steeper the pitch of your roof is, the easier it is to fall. Make sure the shingle bundles and fall protection are secure before you set foot on your roof.
- Lack of specialized tools: You will likely not have the specialized tools that roofing professionals use to stay safe. Although roofing has been around for centuries, the techniques are always changing. It’s best to leave this task to a person who has been through all the twists and turns in the industry.
If you manage to do your roof correctly the first time, it may save you some money, but the amount of time it will take will be immense. Most DIYers who attempt to reroof know very little going into the project and have to spend countless extra hours learning the techniques as they go. But no matter how much time you spend on your roof, it could be all for nothing if you make even the tiniest mistake.
If you make a major mistake, in most cases, you’ll have to call up a roofing professional, which will ultimately cost you much more money. If a roofing company makes an error, they will correct the issues, usually at no extra cost to you. If you make the mistake, however, having a professional correct it could be quite pricey.
Before you commit to doing the roof yourself, first think about all your options. Once you’ve bought all the required materials and tools, hiring a roofing professional doesn’t seem as expensive, especially if you consider all the time you’ll be saving.
10 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Roofer
These days, many homeowners are into DIY and try to take on many home improvement projects by themselves. However, when it comes to an aspect of your house as essential as your roof, we recommend that you work with a professional. Here are some reasons why:
- Professional, knowledgeable team: Roofing professionals have been in the industry for a long time and have experience with numerous kinds of roofing projects for various clients. This means they can deliver superb results without making any mistakes. They will make sure your roof stays safe and undamaged for many years to come. They will perform a new installation or repair using the best products and techniques.
- Quality materials: Roofing experts will also use quality materials, ensuring that their installation or repairs will last for a long time. Roofing professionals also know which materials are of the highest quality and which are most suitable for your roof. What’s more — they can buy these materials at wholesale costs.
- Quick turnaround: The best roofers often have very busy schedules, so you can be assured that they will work as efficiently as possible.
- Lasting results: Professional roofers do high-quality work meant to last for years to come and will back up this work with a warranty on both their labor and the materials they’ve used. This warranty will give you peace of mind because your roof will be protected regardless of what happens once the project is complete. If any problems with the roof occur within the warranty’s given time frame, a professional will examine it and resolve the issue at no extra cost to you.
- Cost-effectiveness: Having a roofing professional install or repair your roof is rather cost-effective. First of all, professional roofers will obtain their materials at a considerably lower cost than you can due to the long-term relationships they have with suppliers. Also, they already have all the tools they need to complete the project. If you calculate the costs required to purchase all the materials and tools yourself, you’ll realize that it will cost much more.
- Enhanced safety: Accidents regularly occur during roof work. For this reason, roofing professionals have invested considerable money in acquiring the appropriate safety gear to guarantee their safety at all times. It makes much more sense to hire a professional who already has all this safety equipment than buying safety gear that you may never use again.
- Protection from lawsuits: Most professional roofers are insured, meaning that you won’t be held liable if an injury occurs on your roof.
- Code: Chances are that you don’t spend a ton of time reading your city’s building codes and don’t check them regularly to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Professional roofers are very familiar with local building codes and stay up to date on any changes. If you install you roof yourself and end up violating a code, you may have to have it completely re-roofed before your home can be sold.
- Advice: Certified roofers can also offer further advice on how to maximize the performance of your roof. They know it’s their duty to make sure their customers are satisfied with the services they offer.
- Peace of mind: Hiring an experienced, licensed roofer is priceless for your peace of mind.
How to Hire a Professional Roofer
Even if you’ve decided to hire a professional for your roofing, you may be unsure of how to find a roofer. Here is a handy checklist for hiring a roofer:
- Find out if they’re insured: If you think you’ve found a roofer you like, you’ll need to verify whether they carry liability insurance and compensation coverage for workers. Their liability insurance should be a minimum of $1 million. Ask for the name of their agent and for proof of their insurance. Once you’ve done all of these things, ask for an estimate. They should offer this for free.
- Ask to break up the total into payments: Roofing projects are short-term work, so ask to pay a third up front for supplies, and the rest once the roof and cleaning have been completed and you are satisfied with their work.
- Ask for a good warranty: Ask for a warranty covering flashing failure, leaks and other problems related to the labor. The warranty should be at least a year, although we recommend one that lasts two to three years. These stipulations should be included in the contract, which should also mention the roof type.
- Ask for high-quality materials: Request the longest-lasting, highest-rated materials that your budget allows. If you’re having shingles installed, keep in mind that shingle manufacturers usually offer 20- to 30-year warranties. Installing new shingles over already existing shingles may void the warranty, so you might need to remove the old layer, which will cost more. An asphalt roof lasts an average of 13 years, so a warranty for 20 years should be more than enough. Just don’t forget to get a proof of purchase and any other paperwork required to deal with any issues later on.
Here are a few other tips to ensure your new roof performs well for years to come:
- Replace eaves and valley flashing: These tasks are easiest and cheapest when re-roofing, so do them now. You should also replace roof jacks or pipe boots to direct water away where gas vents or pipes protrude. Don’t mess with the chimney flashing if it’s in good condition. If not, have your roofer hire a mason.
- Check your attic ventilation: Have the condition of your attic ventilation inspected by either an HVAC professional or the roofer. An attic with inadequate airflow can reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and in the winter, moist air may cause condensation on the sheathing’s underside, causing it to rot. Consider installing soffit and ridge vents so cool air can better circulate into your attic.
- Replace rotted plywood decking: If it looks like your plywood decking under the shingles is suffering from dry rot, add a low allowance — $200, for example — in your contract to replace it. State clearly that you will have to approve any changes that exceed this allowance and that the money will be returned to you if there is nothing wrong with the decking.
- Ensure that your plants are protected: Ask your roofer how they will protect plants and bushes. Roofers generally use plywood.
- Ask how they will dispose of their trash: Make sure that trucks or garbage disposal dumpsters won’t be rolling over your lawn or your sprinkler system. Also, thick plywood should be placed under the wheels of the truck or dumpster to protect your driveway or turf.
Contact Brothers Aluminum for Your Residential Roof Repair
Brothers Aluminum has been re-roofing homes in the Greater New York area for more than 38 years, including Long Island, Nassau County, Queens County, Suffolk County and Westchester County. A family-owned and operated business, Brothers Aluminum is dedicated to providing products and services custom-tailored to meet the remodeling needs of our customers. This commitment includes premium products, 100% financing, free in-home price assessments, holistic solutions and professional workmanship. Our specialties include vinyl siding, masonry, roofing, window and entry door replacement, as well as renovations and interior redesign.
If you’re interested in roofing or renovating your home, contact us online. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about our services or products.