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Home Roofing Corner – What Can I Do Myself and What Do I Need Help With?

Home Roofing Corner – What Can I Do Myself and What Do I Need Help With?
  • Opening Intro -

    All things are theoretically possible, but there are times when it is a good idea to do things for yourself and times when it really makes more sense to hire an expert to do the job.

    This is certainly the case when it comes to fixing things around your house.


Yes, you can do all the work for yourself but there are a number of pretty good reasons why you should leave this endeavor to a Salt Lake City roofer. Take a look at some of the things you might consider doing yourself and some that are best left to the professionals.

A Fast, Perilous Ballet on Your Roof

The two main reasons why this is a job for the kind of people who do it for a living is that they have the manpower and the proper equipment to perform the task quickly and with little annoyance. In many cases, a large crew will come to your house and have the job entirely done in a single day, or perhaps two. Doing it yourself could take weeks, and this leaves the top of your house exposed to the elements until you are finished. In addition, most re-roofs now require you to tear off all the old shingles. This amounts to several tons of black, sticky, smelly asphalt shingles that turn everything they touch black, plus they are full of rusty nails so you might want to make sure that your tetanus shot is up to date.

Keeping the Elements Off Your Head

There are, however, a great many other tasks you can perform up on your roof. Fixing a leak is one of the most common tasks and is not really very hard. The key to fixing a leak is finding where it is occurring. Logic would dictate that you start looking directly above the discolored spot on your ceiling, which is usually how you find out you have a leak in the first place. In this case, however, logic is quite likely to be wrong. Roof leaks usually occur higher up on the roof and the water that gets under the roofing and beneath the plywood often runs down along the inner side of the plywood for some distance before it drips down onto the ceiling.

The Counter-Intuitive Nature of Spotting Roof Leaks

Looking for leaks therefore starts inside the attic rather than up on the roof. Once you have found the source of the leak by looking for stained roofing plywood up in the attic, you can go out on the roof and see where the trouble actually lies. At this point, you can usually understand exactly what needs to be done to patch things up—but keep in mind that the major barrier to roof leaks is the black felt paper underneath the shingles rather than the shingles themselves.

Down in the Valley

Practically every roof has what are called ‘valleys’ and these locations are the most common place for leaks to occur. The water runs down one slope of the roof and into the valley, then momentum keeps it going so that it sloshes up underneath the singles on the other side of the valley joint. Tar your valleys up tight from top to bottom. Any flat place where rain or snow can pile up is a good candidate for some reinforcement. The upper ends of roof skylights or chimney stacks are frequent places for leaks to start. Re-sealing around the rubber boots that surround the vent pipes on the roof is always a good idea.

Getting Blown Away

Another major cause of roof damage is wind. Wind damage typically starts by blowing loose the shingles on the edges of the roof and then working their way inwards. Storm(double) nail along the side edges of the roof by putting a nail close to the roof edge on every shingle, then seal this nail head with a dab of tar or silicone to keep it from rusting and then loosening up.

Stay on Top of Everything

Above all, the best thing you can do for your roof is to inspect it regularly and also after every major weather event. Little problems can be easily fixed by the homeowner, but big ones will eventually require a crew of trained professionals.



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