As a homeowner, there have probably been numerous times when you just had to “do it yourself.” Maybe you’ve had to replace an old shower head, unclog a toilet, or pressure-wash your siding. So, you may be tempted to “do it yourself” when it comes to roof issues like:
- Missing shingles
- Clogged gutters
- Roof leaks
Some DIY roof repair projects are attainable for handy homeowners, while others should always be left to the pros. Use this ultimate DIY roof repair guide to help get prepared to tackle a roofing project and know exactly when to hand it off to the experts.
Top Tips Before Attempting DIY Roof Repairs
DIY roof repairs are not as simple as fixing a clogged sink drain. Roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country even for trained professionals, so think twice (or three or four times) before carelessly hopping up on your roof in the name of saving a few bucks.
Before undertaking a DIY roofing project, follow these helpful tips:
Gather the Right Materials 🧰
Depending on the repair project, you will need an array of roofing materials. These tools can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and some of the larger equipment might be available to rent.
Smaller repair projects will be most cost-effective in this case because as soon as you find yourself about to drop hundreds of dollars on numerous new tools and materials, you’re better off spending that money on a professional roofing company.
Some of the roofing materials you may need for a project include:
- Pry bar
- Hammer and/or nail gun
- Asphalt shingles
- Galvanized roofing nails
- Chalk line tools
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Circular saw
- Roofing cement
Follow All Safety Precautions 🪜🦺
As we mentioned, roofing is an incredibly dangerous job. You should only get up on your roof and attempt repairs if you feel 100% confident in your abilities. If you have any physical limitations or simply don’t feel comfortable, don’t force it.
Follow roof safety precautions like:
- Never work in the rain, snow, or extreme temperatures.
- Always have another person with you.
- Wear the proper gear, including a safety harness, hard hat, and sturdy rubber-sole shoes.
- Follow all basic ladder safety rules.
- Make sure the area is clear of debris and tripping hazards.
- Never consume alcohol, drugs, or other psychoactive substances before getting on your roof.
Be Mindful of Warranties 💰
Another tip you should look into before attempting DIY roof repairs is checking to see if your roof has any warranties. If you have an asphalt shingle roof less than 20 years old, it’s highly likely that it’s under some kind of warranty.
Typically, a new roof can come with a manufacturer’s warranty and/or a workmanship warranty.
- A manufacturer’s warranty is a guarantee placed on the physical roofing materials. If the materials are found to be defective or faulty within a certain time frame, then the manufacturer will replace the materials at no cost to you.
- A workmanship warranty is instilled by the roofing company. This warranty covers any improper installation methods for a set period of time. If something goes wrong on your roof because of how the contractor installed it, then you can get the issue fixed at no cost to you if your roof is still under warranty.
Most reputable roofing contractors will offer at least a manufacturer’s warranty, and some will also add a workmanship warranty in addition. There are two reasons why it’s important to know if your roof is under warranty:
- If your roof is still under warranty, you may be able to get professional repairs done for free or low-cost.
- If you attempt DIY repairs on your roof while it’s still under warranty, you run a massive risk of voiding that warranty and losing your coverage for the future.
Know When to Call the Pros 📲👷
At the end of the day, it’s noble to know when to hand the repair job over to the professionals. If you’ve done a certain repair a million times and feel confident in your abilities, that’s one thing. But if you’ve never attempted DIY roof repairs, the project is likely much more intimidating.
While DIY repairs can save you some money, there are lots of ways a DIY roof repair can go wrong. Your safety and peace of mind are most important at the end of the day. Here are some (not all) of the reasons you should pass on DIY roof repairs and call a roofing professional instead:
- You don’t have a friend or family member to help you out.
- You don’t feel comfortable getting on your roof.
- You’ve never done roof work before.
- You would have to buy or rent a lot of materials to do the project safely.
- You don’t want to void your warranty.
- You want to ensure the issue is resolved quickly and accurately.
- There is significant, complex damage to your roof.
3 Common DIY Roof Repair Projects
Now that you know what you should be aware of before attempting a DIY roof repair, it’s up to you to decide if you feel comfortable moving forward. If you do, there are certain repair projects that homeowners can commonly tackle and others that should always be left to the professionals.
We’re going to outline the steps to three of the most common DIY repairs:
- Replacing a missing or damaged shingle
- Finding and fixing a roof leak
- Cleaning the gutters
1) Replacing a Damaged or Missing Shingle
If only a few shingles are missing or damaged, then you can attempt this repair. Any more extensive damage should be handled by experts. Plus, if the damage occurred after a storm, you may be able to file an insurance claim and win coverage.
Follow these steps to replace a shingle:
- Buy the appropriate matching shingle(s) at a home improvement store.
- Climb your ladder to reach the affected area.
- Remove the damaged shingle by lifting the edges of the surrounding shingles and removing the nails with a pry bar.
- Slide the damaged shingle out, scrape away any excess mortar, and remove any exposed nails.
- Slide the new shingle into place. Make sure the front edge aligns with the back edges of the surrounding shingles.
- Secure the replacement shingles by nailing galvanized roofing nails into the corners.
- Cover the nail heads with roofing cement or caulk.
2) Finding and Fixing a Roof Leak
Roof leaks are incredibly frustrating, and it’s important to seal them quickly before more water damage occurs. If you suspect (or know) you have a leaking roof, follow these tips to find the source of the leak:
- Look for tell-tale signs of a roof leak, such as:
- Water stains on ceilings or walls
- Peeling paint
- Musty smells
- Visible mold
- Active water drips
- Inspect your attic for the same signs to point you closer to the source of the leak.
- Have a buddy remain in your attic as you use a garden hose to slowly add water to one section of your roof at a time.
- Have your buddy yell out when water starts to drip inside.
- Focus your attention on the area you were working on and look for exposed nails and damaged or missing shingles.
- If a damaged or missing shingle is the culprit, use the steps outlined in the previous section to replace the shingle.
3) Cleaning the Gutters
Last but not least, we have one of the most common roof repairs that homeowners can handle: cleaning the gutters. This task is fairly simple, but it does still require you to follow ladder safety rules.
Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage on your roof and inside your home.
- Grab a sturdy ladder, rubber-soled shoes, and disposable gloves.
- Lean your ladder against the roof, climb up far enough so you can reach the gutters comfortably, and begin removing the debris.
- Work in small sections. so you don’t have to reach too far. (Reaching too far to the side will cause your ladder to tip to one side, running the risk of a dangerous fall.) Reposition the ladder as much as necessary to work your way around the entire perimeter of your roof.
Need Advice or a Helping Hand? Trust Gouge Quality Roofing
While DIY roof repairs are attainable for some homeowners and unattainable for others, the only way you can guarantee a successful repair that leaves your roof better than you found it is to hire a professional roofing company.
Ohio homeowners have been trusting the 5-star solutions at Gouge Quality Roofing for years. Whether you need a simple repair or a total roof replacement, the friendly team at Gouge has your best interests at heart.
Reach out today to learn how we can help!