They make it look so easy on TV. You just pull out the ladder, grab some tools, climb your way up and get to work on the roof. We’re talking big time DIY – and you’ve watched enough YouTube tutorials to know what you’re doing. Roofing is one area of your home that is delicate, difficult and dangerous – getting it wrong could cost you a lot more than a few shingles.
It’s a Dangerous job
In reality, it’s not that simple. Roof jobs are among the most dangerous jobs a homeowner can brave.* Even for experienced professionals, roof work has an injury risk 5.9 percent greater than other jobs, with a fatality rate of 29.4 per 100,000. Research shows that one-third of all construction fatalities are the result of falls from roofs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 43 percent of all fatal falls involve a ladder. You don’t have to climb high to get into serious trouble. Most ladder deaths result from falls of 10 feet or less.
A licensed roofing contractor isn’t immune to such dangers, but it means they’re more experienced and trained in the field, which is why any roofing repair or replacement project should be left to a professional.
Here are some other dangers associated with conducting your own roof repairs:
- You may not see the actual problem. Just because it looks like there’s a leak coming from the roof, you may not be able to easily identify where it’s coming from. A roofing contractor is equipped to inspect all areas of the roof and find the problem.
- You may not know how to actually repair the problem. While you might be able to see the shingles falling apart, that doesn’t automatically mean you know how to repair it.
- You could use the wrong materials. A roofing contractor will know what materials work best for your roof and where they should go, including using the right sealant.
- You could be injured. While we’ve mentioned the risk of falling off a ladder, that’s only one danger. You could be injured if you’re not wearing the right clothes, boots or using the right tools.
Not convinced yet? Keep reading.
It’s Easy to Get it Wrong on the Roof
Your roof is almost certainly your home’s biggest asset. Structural failures on the roof can lead to water and weather damage in the attic and throughout the home. There is a direct correlation between the integrity of your roof and the energy efficiency of your home. Installing the wrong kind of shingles can make your heating and air conditioning less efficient, it can corrupt insulation or framing under the roof and it can void your warranty. Materials are warrantied by the manufacturer for a specific period of time. If shoddy work is done or problems are repaired incorrectly, the warranty may not cover the cost of getting it right.
Why You Need to Hire a Professional
Like many specialties in construction, roofing is an industry where most homeowners don’t hold an intimate level of knowledge and understanding. You may not be able to spot bad work, and if you do, it may not be until a long time after the work is done, or when further damage becomes evident. Because of this reality, unscrupulous or incompetent contractors have used the ignorance of naive homeowners as an opportunity to overcharge or do substandard work.
Reputable, reliable, experienced roofers, on the other hand, bank on their reputations and have long-standing relationships with suppliers of raw materials. If for some reason there are problems with the work they perform, they will work to fix it afterward.
It’s natural for homeowners to try to save money by fixing what they can on their own. Your roof, however, is not the place to pinch pennies. Call a reputable, competent professional – or risk spending a lot more on repairs or, even worse, medical bills.
How do you find the right roofer? Start by looking through our directory of roofing contractors. Customers like yourself have written reviews on a number of our experts. Read through reviews and make an informed decision.