iStock_000000199361SmallMake no mistake about it- roofing is hard labor. You're either baking away in the sun as it beats down on your back and neck, or you're being poured on as the heavens open up. You can't be afraid of heights and you need to be relatively fit enough to maintain your balance on a slanted surface. Before committing to a roofing project, do test trial by grabbing a ladder and climbing onto your roof. If you can't walk around the roof comfortably then it's in your best interests to leave the roofing project to the professionals. If you can walk and keep your balance, go to your nearest lumberyard or home center and throw of bundle of shingles onto your shoulder, and imagine yourself carrying that load up a ladder' many, many, many times. Here are a few roofing tips for projects and how to do it yourself.

Can You Do it Yourself?

Why not give it a shot? First and foremost, some states require a permit to work on a roof: don't be that guy that doesn't have one. To begin, you can skip a lot of the heavy lifting up and down a ladder by hiring a roofing supplier to hoist the shingles onto the roof. Be cautious of the weather, windblown heavy rain and/or snow can force water up and under even properly installed singles. Even worse are ice dams, frozen water/snow that builds up on roof edges, which can wreak havoc on a homeowner's roof by allowing water to seep up under lower shingles and then drip into your house. The best way to attack such a problem is applying self-adhesive waterproof underlayment, or 'ice barrier', which adheres tightly to bare roof sheathing and seals around nails driven through it.

On With the Process

Next, find the center of the roof at the top and the eave, and then draw a chalk line to begin shingling. For the first row of shingles, called a starter course, or strip, you cut the tables of the three tabbed shingles and apply them with the self-sealing adhesive strip facing up along the eave. Finally, nail the first course of shingles directly on top of and flush with the starter course. Use four roofing nails per shingle, as indicated on package instructions. Once this course is laid, you can begin snapping horizontal chalk lines up the roof to ensure straight rows. Make sure to expose five inches of the shingle tabs where the bottom edge of the tab meets the top of the cutout.

Tearing Off the Old Shingles

It's impossible to properly install new flashing and underlayment if you don't tear off the old roof beforehand. When tearing off the existing shingles, be sure to remove all the old nails or pound them flat. Protruding nails will tear holes in your new shingles. If you have movable items near your house and you're worried they might get damaged, relocate them. Invest in a few large tarps to protect your plants and landscaping and to catch the thousands of nails that will rain down off the roof. It can be downright miserable to remove old self-stick ice-and-water underlayment, but it's okay if you have to leave it in place. And if at all possible, have the rented trash bin parked close to the house so you can toss in the old shingles right from the roof.

Waterproofing Valleys

Roof valleys channel a lot of water, so they need extra protection. Start by installing sell-stick underlayment on the decking. This process is much easier with two people. Cut the underlayment to size and peel off the entire plastic backer. Fold the underlayment in on itself, stick side out, if this self stick underlayment bridges both sides of the decking, leaving a gap underneath, it could tear once you install the metal valley flashing. Another way of dealing with valleys is to use the 'weave' method. This shingles are woven together from both sides of the valley. The benefit of a woven valley is that it doesn't leave an exposed flashing, which results in a cleaner look. The downfall is that leaves and twigs don't get washing away as easily, which can cause little water dams. This is especially true for roofs with low pitches.

For Many Cases-- Call a Professional

While it is possible for some ct homeowners to complete a lot of basic roof repair on their own, do not be tempted to do the same with major problems. For major problems, make a plan to contact your insurer as well as your residential roofing company or local roofing and siding contractors as soon as possible. Your insurer will cover most repair cost (or the roof replacement cost, minus your deductible) as long as you have conducted regular roof maintenance. Contact Fiderio and Sons, your local roofing and siding contractors, for a free consultation and estimate for roofing costs.