This is a question posed by homeowners more often than you might believe. In fact, “Can you DIY a roof replacement?” is something we at G.J. Keller Roofing hear so often that we wanted to dedicate a post to exploring whether DIYing the best way to replace your roof. DIYing has become incredibly common, as evidenced by the many millions of new DIY-focused blogs, magazines, websites, television shows, and more that crop up each day. So, it might seem reasonable that a person who can fix a toilet, put up drywall, or build a doghouse can also manage the task of replacing a roof. Unlike those other tasks, though, poorly or improperly done roof replacements can have serious, far-reaching, and even catastrophic consequences.
According to a recent article posted by CNBC, “Experts say it’s important to think about the worst-case scenario for a botched project, when deciding if you should DIY or hire a pro.” Here at G.J. Keller Roofing, we know a thing or two about the best way to replace a roof, so, today, in response to the question, “Can you DIY roof replacement?” we’ll explore the worst-case scenarios that could result from a DIY job:
You could improperly install your roof.
If you fail to properly and securely attach the shingles or roof decking to your home, these materials could blow off during a strong storm, possibly causing damage to property and injuring bystanders. Even if there is no damage or injury, you’ll still have a roof that needs to be replaced—again.
If you think you can DIY a roof replacement because all that’s involved is putting down underlayment and shingles, you need to know that this is absolutely NOT the best way to replace a roof. Much more goes into a high-quality roof replacement job. Your roofer will obtain the proper permits, inspect your roof, ensure your attic is properly ventilated, carefully and completely remove your old roof, replace damaged decking and address other concerns, install new flashing and drip edge, carefully work around objects such as chimneys and skylights, install a proper water barrier, install new gutters if needed, clean up after the job is done, and a heck of a lot more. There’s simply no comparison to a professional roofing job.
You could miss something critically important.
Even the best DIYers can miss problems roofers are trained to identify, such as rotted or improperly attached decking. Failing to notice and rectify these problems could cause your brand-new roof to leak, damaging your property and forcing you to tear off pieces of that newly installed roof to attempt to locate the cause of the leak (though we hope you’ll call a pro at this point).
Another issue you may not be qualified to assess? Whether your attic is properly ventilated. A poorly ventilated attic is likely to be an extremely hot attic, and this sort of heat can damage and actually shorten the life of your shingles!
What else might you miss if you replace your roof yourself? Mold. This insidious growth can develop on and beneath damp roofing components and spread very quickly if left unchecked. Not only is unsightly and extraordinarily challenging to remove, it can also be dangerous for those living in your home, especially small children, the elderly, or those with chronic health conditions.
You could run into problems later.
Even if your roof seems to be holding up okay and keeping water out, you may run into problems later when you attempt to sell your home. A trained home inspector can very often spot a DIY job, which could deter potential buyers from purchasing your home. What’s more, if you need to file an insurance claim later on because of a roof leak or storm damage, you may find that your insurance isn’t required to cover a roof that was DIYed. And if you fail to obtain the proper permits, you can count on it being extremely difficult to sell your home. It will likewise be very challenging to get your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of any damage to your roof.
You could fall off your roof and be seriously injured or killed.
This is the big one, right? Why risk life and limb for something that would be better and more safely accomplished by roofing professionals like those of us here at George J. Keller? Roofing professionals know the safest and best way to replace a roof, even when dealing with steep inclines, hard-to-reach areas, or roofs that are several stories high. We also know how to tell if the underlayment is secure and the trusses are intact, and we understand how to place a ladder and traverse a roof safely.
Bottom line on DIY Roof Replacement
You simply cannot underestimate the safety risks that come with attempting to replace your roof yourself. Each year, more than 164,000 people visit the ER and 300 people die as a result of falling from ladders. Think you’re safe because your house is only a single story? Know that most ladder deaths are the result of falls from ten feet or less. Even for pros, roofing is a dangerous job! In fact, falls from ladders are the leading cause of death on construction sites.
“Can I DIY a roof replacement?” Well, now that you know many of the worst-case scenarios, we hope you’ll understand why our answer is, “Absolutely not!” While don’t recommend that you replace your roof yourself, we can assure you that best way to replace your roof is to call the experts here at George J. Keller and Sons. We’ve been installing roofs—and instilling trust—for nearly 40 years! Let us shoulder the huge responsibility that’s involved in replacing your roof. Call us today at 973-927-0963!