Old Roof? Reroof! For Serious DIY-ers Only

By The Old House Web

You know you have problems when you have a green roof--no, not eco-green--but truly green. Like moss and accompanying rot, bugs and slugs.Even if you are a die-hard DIYer, you might have a little consternation about redoing the roof, especially if it is one of those older, highly pitched roofs that look like the Himalayas. There is the danger factor. And there's the physical factor--there's enough bending, climbing, lifting, kneeling and slope walking to make even the most agile body scream "Ibuprofen!"

If you are so inclined, you can do it yourself. Here are a few tips.

Roofing Tip #1: Air it Out

If you are heavily into DIY, you probably already have an air compressor. It's well worth your money to buy the appropriate pneumatic nail gun for the surface you are installing. And if you don't have a compressor, this might be a good time to convince the spouse that it is a cost-effective purchase.

Roofing Tip #2: Don't Be Blue

If there is the slightest chance of precipitation, make sure you are well tarped. You might think you can get all the roofing felt down before the rains move in, but as DIYer, you know that nothing ever goes as fast as you had hoped. Be prepared to cover up with a few blue tarps. You may want to do the roof one side at a time so as to not leave too much exposed.

Roofing Tip #3: Remember to Use Scaffolding

If your roof is any steeper than 6 on 12, talk with experts to learn how to use roof jacks and scaffolding (not that it wouldn't hurt to use them if it is less sloped). Also, get safety harnesses for all workers.

Roofing Tip #4: Look to Recycle

Is there a market in your area for your old roofing? Check with local recycling companies--it's worth exploring. It keeps the material out of landfills, plus dumping tons of roofing can cost into four figures.

Roofing Tip #5: Dumpster Planning

Have a rental dumpster placed next to the house before you start the deconstruction. Many an amateur has simply tossed old roofing to the ground, only to curse his lack of forethought when he has to pick it all up again to toss up into the dumpster. It's so much easier to simply drop the debris into the bin.

Roofing Tip #6: Day Labor

Speaking of deconstruction, few tasks are as unpleasant as ripping up old rotting roofing. You might consider hiring day labor. You also might check with your insurance agent about liability coverage.

Roofing Tip #7: The Right Foundation

Make sure you have the correct surface for your new roof. Old wood shakes were probably laid down over 1x4 strips, spaced every three or four inches. New composition shingles or various eco-friendly materials probably will require a solid surface of plywood or OSB. Also, with the roof off, repair any rot or other damage. And, if you are uncertain, educate yourself about how to properly flash your roof.

Roofing isn't rocket science, but it does require planning, effort, and safety. Take the time to prepare for the job and consider hiring an expert if you're not up to the task.


Search Improvement Project