Doing roofing projects and repairs can be challenging -- and downright dangerous -- if the proper safety measures aren't taken. Though Mark Graham of the National Roofing Contractors Association advises that most roofing projects -- from heavy-duty, complex installations to smaller projects like fixing leaks -- should be handled by a roofing professional, there are some precautions that homeowners can take if they decide to go down the DIY route.
Tip No. 1: Don't go it alone. If you must do roof repairs or projects, do it with a buddy. Not only can the extra pair of hands help with, say, moving large quantities of heavy shingles, but having someone to discuss and work through issues with can be helpful as well. Most importantly, if an accident should happen, there will be someone there to help you.
Tip No. 2: If you must do repairs alone, use a safety system. Install roof brackets before engaging in any serious work up there, or even better, invest in a roofing harness system. According to Family Handy Man, a safety harness and rope tied to something sturdy is the "next best thing to a parachute" and can save your life in the case of a fall.
Tip No. 3: Check the weather. Avoid doing projects or repairs on excessively windy or rainy days. Under no circumstances should you work on a wet, icy or snow-covered roof: It's downright dangerous.
Tip No. 4: Invest in safety gear. Being on a roof puts the body in positions that are uncomfortable or unsafe. That said, DIY Network suggests wearing soft, rubber-soled boots to provide the best roof traction. Always wear a helmet to protect your head and minimize injury if you fall. Roofing Networks also suggests wearing safety glasses and gloves.
Tip No. 5: Prepare a checklist and make sure you know what you're doing, and in what order. Before tackling a massive roofing project or repair, organize yourself ahead of time so you have a clear head when you're up there. There's nothing worse than feeling frazzled or realizing you're lacking the tools needed when you're stuck in a precarious position on a steep roof.
Tip No. 6: Clean up as you go. Keep the site clear of debris and other objects while you work. Nails, old shingles and stray tools can create a hazard. If you're not using tools, get your buddy to remove them from the work site to prevent a slipping or tripping danger.
If at any point in time you don't feel confident or comfortable doing your own repairs, Graham advises you consult a professional. "It's not worth the risk -- leave complicated roofing repairs to the trained professional," he said.
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