New roof installation is one of the most significant investments any homeowner has to make. Even the most basic type of roofing material entails considerable amounts. As a roof is exposed to the elements all the time, serving as a large part of the home’s defense against precipitation, wind, dust and debris, it makes sense to invest in good-quality roofing material and its regular maintenance.
To ensure your roof’s good condition, twice-a-year inspections are a must: once towards the end of the fall season, and another at the start of spring. You can probably perform one of those inspections, but make sure the other is performed by a professional. Having a professional perform both inspections, however, is the best way to do it.
During inspections, it’s not uncommon to find damage or signs that mean you can expect damage in the near future. When this happens, it’s important that a professional roofing contractor handle the repairs. A professional’s services are even more important if the roof has to be replaced.
It’s common for many homeowners to attempt DIY repairs or even a complete roof replacement. There are several reasons for this, such as trying to challenge themselves and treating such work as a hobby, but the most common reason behind DIY roof repairs is trying to save money.
Trying to save money with a DIY repair is well and good, but in most cases, it doesn’t work out because the homeowner doesn’t have the training, the equipment, or the knowledge to perfect the job. This can lead to more problems that a professional now has to deal with, possibly doubling the expenses.
Here are some of the roofing mistakes a homeowner can make when going DIY:
Causing Damage While Inspecting the Roof
This sounds ironic but it’s true. If you don’t have the training and the knowledge, you might end up causing damage to the roof you’re inspecting. The best way to perform a preliminary inspection of your roof is by standing on the ground and using a pair of binoculars. You can also use a drone camera. This sorely limits what you can see or do, but it’s better than walking all over the roof, where you can step on weakened shingles or flashing, starting a leak where there wasn’t one.
Walking on your roof can also be dangerous, especially if your house is tall and you’re not equipped with a sturdy harness. Even if you never leave the ladder, you are still exposing yourself to fall risks.
It’s best to call a professional for roof repair and inspections, instead of putting yourself and your roof at risk just trying to save a few bucks.
Choosing Materials Based on Aesthetics
It’s not wrong to want your home to look great, but just because a type of roofing material is pretty doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. You still have to adjust for the exposure to your local climate and common weather events. Choosing roofing material based on how it looks instead of how it performs in your environment will lead to early problems. Your shingles are likely to fade, become a growing ground for ugly algae, or make your home hotter. Tiles that were not manufactured for your local weather might crack and shatter soon. If you have a metal roofing system, the wrong type of metal panels might corrode or warp.
This is why you should trust your roofing contractor whenever you have to choose a roofing material. It won’t do to buy the material first and then find a contractor second. You need your contractor’s expert advice.
Covering Roof Vents
Some homeowners think roof vents allow dust and pests into their homes, so they cover them. Others cover their roof vents in winter, thinking this would stop drafts from entering their home through the roof.
Attic vents are there for a reason, so covering them will only lead to problems.
Hot air will get trapped in your attic, baking your roof from underneath and making your home too hot. This will also lead to ice dam formation, as the hot ridgeline of your roof will melt snow too quickly while the cold edges of the roof will make the melted snow refreeze. This is a primary cause of roof leaks, as the melted snow now trapped by the ice dams will back up and penetrate the shingles from underneath.
Attic ventilation systems, such as a combination of soffit vents and ridge vents, allow the outdoor air to enter the attic (through the soffit vents) and push the hot air out through the ridge vents. This is also important in preventing frost from forming in your attic and causing water damage. Covering vents will trap hot, moist air, forming condensation on your roof sheathing.
If your roof has adequate ventilation, you can avoid plenty of water damage and humidity problems. To prevent drafts from entering your home through the vents, add more attic insulation and make sure none of the insulation ends up covering or blocking the vents.
Not Getting Permits
You can’t simply start doing some major work on your roof. You need a permit to perform many types of repair. You also have to know about local building codes and roofing requirements. If you DIY your way through all of it and fail to pull the necessary permits, or do not go by code, your insurance might be affected. Local authorities can also make you remove whatever you repaired.
Making Mistakes When Replacing Missing or Damaged Shingles
It might look simple, but replacing damaged or missing shingles is a job best left to a roof installation professional. It’s their skill and training that make it look easy. There are many things that you can do wrong when you try to do this yourself, such as nailing new shingles over old ones, which will make your roof look like a bad patch-up job. You might also use the wrong type of nails, use too many or too few nails, nail the shingles on the wrong spots, make mistakes with overlapping shingles, and other things that will necessitate more expensive repair work.
If you hire a professional, there’s no need to worry about such mistakes. Your roof will look great and perform as expected.