In this day and age, it seems like things are only getting more and more expensive. There are still plenty of ways to save money by doing things yourself — especially for people who know their way around a toolbox. One of those things you may want to try doing yourself is to fix a leaky roof or replace missing shingles.
If that’s you, follow along as we explain four easy tips for DIY roof repair to help you the next time a nasty storm blows through town.
Get a Pair of Roofing Shoes
The most important part of any DIY project is safety. Taking on a job usually done by trained professionals means you also take on the risks and responsibilities of said job. The best way to ensure your safety is to have the proper equipment, and when it comes to roof repair, no piece of equipment is more essential than a quality pair of roofing shoes.
Roofing shoes come in different materials, but most will share one common feature: rubber soles. Due to their constant exposure to the sun, intense heat is constantly radiating from most roofs. As such, you need thick, insulated soles to protect your feet. Additionally, if you’re repairing your roof in cold weather, having rubber soles ensures that the cold won’t penetrate your shoes.
Another essential quality of roofing shoes is their treads improve your grip. Roofs are not only high up but also feature a pitch that increases the likelihood of someone slipping and falling.
While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, a pair of roofing shoes with a tread that helps you stay on your feet while you embark on your DIY roof repairs journey is one of the best ways to ensure your safety.
Don’t Leave Nailheads Exposed
There’s no point in buying the tools and equipment necessary to fix your own roof if the repairs only last a few weeks. Not doing a thorough job the first time increases the likelihood of you having to make multiple trips to the roof of your house. The most common mistake people make during DIY roof repairs is leaving nailheads exposed.
When you leave a nailhead exposed to the elements, it rusts. As the nail rusts, its overall size will shrink. The problem is that while the nail shrinks, the hole it created does not.
As time goes by, the nail will shrink to the point where water will start to flow into the gap when it rains, leading to a leaking roof. The roof leak might go unnoticed for a while, but eventually, it will cause the wood in the attic to rot, leaving you with more repairs than you had at the start.
Luckily, covering exposed nailheads is not a complicated process. The first step is to check that you’ve hammered down the nail to the point where it does not pop above the roof’s surface.
Use Roofing Tar
Once that’s done, apply roofing tar to the nail and seal the surrounding roof surface. After you let it dry for a few hours, the roofing tar will act as a layer of protection against elements that will cause rusting and roof leaks, preventing further water damage.
No Shingle Left Behind
The point of any DIY project is to save money. The best way to do this when repairing your roof is not to spend money replacing salvageable shingles.
When assessing the damage, take your time to determine which of the surrounding shingles to replace and which just need a little tender love and care. Softening brittle shingles using a heat gun is an easy way to ensure they won’t snap when you push them to the roof.
Use Roofing Cement or Nails
Along those lines, roofing cement and roofing nails are great options for keeping down shingles that are starting to curl upward.
Of course, there are some situations where salvaging shingles isn’t possible. But taking the time to try every possible solution could save you lots of money.
Use Matching Shingles
While it may not seem important, making sure any replacement shingles you order match the brand, color, and size of your roof’s original shingles is paramount. There are two reasons for this: efficiency and your property values.
Due to discontinuations, you may not find exact matches for your original shingles when searching for replacements. However, if possible, exact matches make replacing shingles easier.
Mismatched shingles can make applying the new shingles harder because of overlap and poor fits, which can increase the duration of your DIY project, making it more time-consuming than it’s worth.
But the main issue with mismatched shingles is that they can decrease your property values. Differentiated colored shingles stand out when people look at your house. In addition to angry emails from your neighborhood homeowners association, realtors won’t be willing to give you the money your home is worth if the roof is an eyesore.
The best way to avoid these problems is to either make sure your replacement shingles are as close to an exact match to the original as possible or replace the entire roof. Unfortunately, the latter is a job best left to professional roofers.
Call A Professional
As much as you might want to save money, a DIY roofing project may not be the best course of action. Whether it’s because you’re not the handy type or the repairs your roof needs are out of your skill range, calling a professional is sometimes the only option.
If you spend more time looking up tutorials on tackling specific problems than actually fixing them, it’s probably a sign you’re trying to bite off more than you can chew. Furthermore, if you’re constantly having accidents with a nail gun or nearly falling off the roof, outsourcing the job to a trained professional might be the best thing for your safety and the longevity of your new roof.
As much as these DIY roof repair tips are meant to help you with your DIY endeavors, they can’t make up for the fact that you’re not qualified to fix a roof leak or do entire roof replacements on your own.
However, it’s important to admit when something is out of your control so you can avoid even more damage. You know your own abilities best, but it is also okay to admit that there are simply some things you’ll have to hire a professional roofer to do for you.