DIY projects are the best way to save some money while having fun and learning something new in the process. That’s why more and more homeowners spend their free time working on DIY projects and improving their homes. If you too love to fix things in and/or around your home, then you know what we are talking about.
While some projects require only basic tools and a bit of creativity, others are more demanding and complicated. For example, if your roof is leaking or has damage and you want to find the source or temporarily add a tarp until help has arrived, you will need to possess certain skills, as well as the appropriate tools. Due to many factors, roofing safety is certainly something you should brush up before pulling out that ladder.
Below you will find a list of safety tips that will make your trip up to the roof a painless experience. Learn everything you need to know about general safety, ladder safety, how to properly navigate the roof and when to contact a professional.
1. Dress Appropriately
Roof projects can take a while; you might spend hours on top of your roof working on something. For that reason, you should wear comfortable clothes. However, that’s not enough. You should also wear clothes that will protect you from wind, sun, rain, snow, etc.
In summer, sunscreen is mandatory. Nobody likes ending up with nasty burns and red, irritated skin. Therefore, lightweight and light-colored clothes are recommended. During spring and fall, there might be a lot of rain. Check the weather forecast and schedule your project accordingly. Wear a rain slicker and steer clear from cotton, since it dries slowly. Finally, if you need to work on your roof in the winter, be extra cautious. Put on warm clothes, preferably water-resistant. If the wind is strong, postpone your project.
One more thing — regardless of the season, be sure to always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a hard hat while working on your roof.
Wearing appropriate footwear is especially important — that’s why footwear gets its own section.
The old sneakers that you usually wear while working around the house won’t be safe enough for roofing projects. When it comes to roofing safety, you’ll need to invest in a pair of good rubber-soled work shoes. Those will keep you from slipping off of your metal or shingle roof. You can also opt for boots with good tread. Either way, sturdy footwear is a must.
2. Watch the Ladder
If you want to work on your roof, having a proper ladder is necessary. An extension ladder is the best choice since leaning over a short one is not only impractical but also dangerous. In order for you to be safe, the ladder has to firmly touch the roof so that you don’t need to lean forward. Also, your ladder should extend a bit higher than the roof — holding on to the edges will make climbing down easier.
You need to set up the ladder on even ground; it should not wobble even when you step on it. If the ground is uneven, use a piece of wood to level it out. Also, it might be smart to secure the ladder with stakes. Angling the ladder correctly is also very important. Place it a quarter of its length away from the roof, and don’t forget to fasten it securely to your roof.
3. Prepare the Terrain
In order to safely navigate the roof, you need to prepare the terrain first. Before you start moving around the roof, make sure that you have cleared the area. Twigs, leaves, and dead insects can make you lose your footing and hurt yourself. Once you’re done clearing the area, you can use a hose to wash off the remaining debris.
Also, since getting on and off the roof isn’t exactly quick and easy, make sure that you have everything you need. Consider getting a toolbelt that will hold all of your tools securely and right where you need them.
In addition, if you plan to walk around your roof, you should strongly consider wearing a harness. You might think that a harness is a waste of money and overkill, but if you slip, it will prevent you from falling off the roof. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Tie the harness to something sturdy, and you’ll be good to go.
4. Have Some Company Around
There’s no roofing safety without someone who will supervise you. No matter how skilled or experienced you are, it’s always good to have someone around when you’re up on the roof. They don’t need to help you; they just have to be aware of your whereabouts, in case of an emergency.
After all, something trivial, such as your ladder falling, could happen, leaving you all alone on the roof without a way to get down. That is why it is smart to have someone around to help you out. No matter how small, help is always welcome.
5. Seems Dangerous? Contact an Expert.
While we all like to learn new skills (and save money!) by doing ourselves what some pay others to do, there are some circumstances that are best left to the professionals. If navigating your roof seems at all unsafe, you should contact a licensed contractor to come assess the problem and submit an estimate for any necessary repair work.
Not only do we at Tadlock Roofing help our customers inspect their roofs every day, but we do it for free (so maybe it’s time for you to climb down off that roof and give us a call at 855-964-7663 or fill out our online form for a free estimate or inspection).