You know it’s time to replace your roof. Your shingles are starting to curl, your gutters are filled with granules, and the new shingles need to go on before a major storm comes through.
This leaves you with a big decision: should you tackle replacing your own roof or hire the professionals? Here are some important points to consider before embarking on a DIY roof replacement.
DIY Roof Replacement
There are some cases in which DIY roof replacement is a good choice. Before attempting to replace your own roof, here’s what you should keep in mind.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
There are plenty of roofing repairs that are suitable for the typical do-it-yourselfer including fixing loose shingles, sealing a small leak, or replacing a shingle that’s blown off. Before tackling roof replacement, ask yourself honestly how much experience and comfort you really have with roofing.
Roofing isn’t just dangerous; there isn’t much room for error. Improper installation is a leading cause of premature roof failure, which may shave years off the life expectancy of your roof. Incorrect installation of the barrier or shingles—or failing to check the structural integrity of your roof deck before installation—can spell disaster the next time a storm blows through Tampa. Without the right experience and knowledge, you may be costing yourself more money in the long run by replacing the roof yourself.
Replacing the roof on your home isn’t something you should tackle if you don’t have experience roofing. Instead, your shed is a better place to start.
Don’t Overlook the Tear-Off
Roof replacement involves more than just installing new shingles; don’t forget the amount of work that goes into the tear-off. The removal of the old roof often accounts for a large amount of the labor paid towards a professional roof replacement for a reason: it’s time-consuming, labor intensive, and produces a lot of trash that needs to be recycled or thrown away.
After the old roofing material is removed, the roof deck needs to be carefully inspected for damage and repaired or replaced as needed. Unfortunately, this is an area homeowners frequently overlook when replacing their own roofs. Installing a new roof system on water-damaged plywood is like renovating your home but neglecting the damaged foundation.
Installing a new roof on existing shingles is possible, but it isn’t usually advised. While it costs less and avoids the tear-off, it adds weight to the roof and potentially hides serious defects in the roof structure. The new layer of shingles also won’t last as long as a brand new roof.
Roofing Is Dangerous
Along with the risks of improper installation and the intense work involved in the tear-off, there’s another important area of DIY roofing to consider: the danger. Roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs, even for professionals. Nearly 40% of all construction-related deaths involve falls, and more than one-third are falls from a roof. In the roofing industry, falls account for three-quarters of all deaths. Working on a roof requires care and proper safety equipment, including a safety harness system and roof jacks. If you don’t have these, you’re putting yourself at serious risk of a fall, making a DIY roof a dangerous proposition.
Professional Roof Replacement
It may be a good idea to try basic roof repairs on your own or even replacing your own roof with adequate experience, but hiring a licensed Tampa roofing contractor is generally the best and safest way to get a new asphalt shingle roof. Here’s why it’s worth it to hire the professionals.
When you install your own roof, the best warranty coverage you can expect is the one provided by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, shingle manufacturer warranties aren’t as comprehensive as you may think. They only cover defects in the material, and many manufacturers require that the shingles be installed by a licensed contractor. If you install your own roof, you may be throwing away this coverage.
When you hire a licensed roofing contractor, you will also benefit from a warranty from the roofing company. This warranty will cover workmanship which means you will be covered if you suffer damages due to improper installation.
Proper Installation Techniques
Your roof is one of your home’s biggest components, protecting your family and belongings from even the harshest elements. As your first line of defense against rain, hail, and wind, you want a roof that’s installed properly and that is ready to deliver 20 years or more of excellent service.
The best way to guarantee your roof is installed correctly is to hire a licensed roofer. A professional knows the best way to install your new roof system for years of worry-free use.
Common beginner roofing mistakes you can avoid by working with a professional include:
- Incorrectly installed starter shingles. A starter section of shingles must be installed along your eaves or water can quickly invade the sheathing.
- Improper valley flashing installation. Your valleys are the most vulnerable areas of your roof. If the metal flashing isn’t installed correctly, water will run under the shingles.
- Improper nailing. Shingles need to be nailed down properly and in the correct place. Driving nails into or above the adhesive strip can allow water to penetrate under the shingles.
- Incorrect amount of shingle exposure or overhang. Standard shingles should have a 5″ exposure. Too much exposure and the shingles will be blown off in high winds; too little exposure makes the shingles vulnerable to water. The edge of the shingles should also overhang the roof by 1-1.5″ or up to 3/4″ if you have drip edge flashing. If there is too little overhang, water will reach the fascia boards. Too much overhang makes the shingles vulnerable to wind.
Inspection of Your Roof System
During the tear-off and installation, a licensed roofing contractor will inspect your roof deck and all elements of your roof for signs of damage such as wood rot, water damage, leaks, or previous work that wasn’t done to code. Without experience and training, these problems may not be obvious when you replace your own roof.
Professional roof replacement ensures you get a safe roof that’s up to current building codes and free of potentially serious structural problems.
Don’t take risks with a DIY roof. It’s one of the largest investments you will make in your home and your first line of defense against water damage. By working Westchase Roofing, you are protecting yourself with quality and reliable installation and warranty protection with the peace of mind knowing your roof isn’t hiding hidden damage or mistakes that can come back to bite you later.
If you think you need a new roof—go to the experts. Contact Westchase Roofing for a free quote on a new asphalt roof today!