In most cases, it is easy to distinguish between home repairs and improvements you can do on your own and larger projects that require professional assistance. However, the roof of the house can prove a bit tricky because it all comes down to the nature of the problem.
A missing shingle or a roof tile is definitely a DIY project but complete roof replacement is a job for pros. We offer a short guide to roof repair that will help you determine which issues you can resolve on your own and which require professional help.
Replacing a missing shingle or two
Rainstorms or heavy ice both have the power to dislodge a shingle or a tile. The shingles that usually fall off the roof are the ones positioned near the edge because they are looser than the ones in the center of the roof.
If two or three shingles fall off the roof, you shouldn’t have too much trouble replacing it on your own. However, if a whole section of the roof gets damaged during a storm or a large branch falls on it, then it is wiser to call professionals because the shingles need to interlock tightly.
Damage to the sheathing
The reason why tiles and shingles fall off is because they get detached from the sheathing underneath. In older structures, sheathing is usually made from plywood which is quite affordable, while in newer structures, the dominant material is oriented strand board (OSB).
Since sheathing is responsible for the stability of the entire roof, you really shouldn’t try and fix it on your own. Although there are videos on YouTube on how to install and repair roof sheathing, you are a layman when it comes to determining the extent of the damage, especially on wood decking located under the shingles.
Installing a different roofing material
There are numerous materials used for roofing, from old-school terracotta tiles to durable slates made from fine-grained metamorphic rock. There are numerous homeowners who wish to replace the outdated orange-colored tiled roof with a durable slate roofing option, mostly because the latter is resistant to weather and fire.
As with replacing a whole section for a damaged roof, it is better to let professionals take care of covering larger surfaces on the roof. They have experience with different roofing materials and know the fastest way to shaper them and install them properly.
Cleaning the gutters
You are probably thinking that cleaning the gutters is definitely a DIY chore. Well, you are both right and wrong because you can clean the gutters on your own but you need to be extra careful. Actually, every time you climb the roof, extra caution is necessary because falling from height is rather dangerous.
In order to clean the gutters from leaves, debris, and an odd baseball, you don’t actually have to stand on the roof, as a ladder leaning on the roof’s edge will get the job done. However, you must be careful while standing on the ladder because you are going to lean outward to clean the gutters. If you lean too much, the ladle might topple over, sending you flying to the ground.
Shingles and their different nailing patterns
Since the roof has to be 100% waterproof, any alternations to its structure, such as the installation of solar panels, have to be executed precisely. In this sense, even replacing a single shingle requires a lot of preparation because you need to figure out the particular nailing pattern of that type of shingle. Sticking to this pattern is important because a randomly nailed shingle will not be as structurally stable as the rest of the shingles.
Potential problems with flashings
Whenever you clamber up the roof, you should take the time to inspect the state of the flashings. Look extra carefully around skylights, vents, and chimneys because there are the areas the flashings are most vulnerable in. You can use a caulk gun to fill smaller ruptures the size of a pinhole. If the damage is extensive, then adjacent tiles will have to be removed which is a job for a professional roofer.
The ability to accurately determine whether you can solve a problem with the roof on your own or you need to call in the pros will save you money in the long run. These issues can range from a small hole in the flashing above the kitchen vent to a missing shingle.