Have you ever put off getting your car checked out when the check engine light comes on, only to have to pay hundreds of dollars in repairs a few months later? Well the same predicament can happen to your home when you don’t pay attention to the signs of potential roof damage. To save you from making the costly mistake of missing the signs of a roof-related problem before it’s too late, here are 7 simple DIY roofing tips:

  1. Roof work can be dangerous–always work safely: General DIY roof safety rules include: never work on wet or windy days, never work alone, use a sturdy, extendable aluminum ladder on a flat and hard surface, wear shoes with soft rubber sole for grip, use a harness, mark off ground underneath in case of fallen tools, clean shoes and roof of debris before getting on roof.
  2. Practice ladder safety: Avoid carrying anything up or down the ladder and instead use a bucket and rope pulley-system to move tools and materials, make sure the top of the ladder extends at least 3’ past the roof’s edge so that you can have something to grab and steady you as you step on the roof, never step on ladder rungs past the roof’s edge, use two hands to grip the top rung of the ladder when stepping on the roof.
  3. Inspect condition of shingles/other materials, avoid getting on slate, tile, and steep roof roofs: Not every roof is capable of safely being repaired or maintained on a DIY basis, including slate and tile roofs which are tough to work with if you’re not experienced in handling and installing slate and tile. Exceptionally steep roofs are always best left to the pros when it comes to maintenance and repairs.
  4. Check the valleys for signs of leaks: A common area for a roof leak to arise is in the roof valleys, or an area of the roof where two sections meet, since this is where water can accumulate and deteriorate the shingles if there isn’t proper drainage. Look for signs of worn-out shingles and water damage in roof valleys to take a preventative approach to leaks when performing your DIY roof maintenance.
  5. Look for signs of dry rot: A lack of ventilation can result in dry rot and when the plywood starts to deteriorate and crack, the roof itself will begin to sag in the middle, cracking the shingles and causing major roof leaks. To avoid dry rot, a combination of ridge and soffit vents must be installed, a process which involves drilling holes in the soffit vents to allow cool air to circulate out the hot air that leads to dry rot.
  6. Inspect the rubber boots: The rubber boots that seal and protect the pipes and vents penetrating from the roof need to be checked for dryness because if they become dried out, they become ineffective and will need to be replaced. This DIY roof fix involves possibly removing some of the shingles and laying another layer of tar when reapplying the shingle after the rubber boot has been replaced.
  7. Fix potential causes of ice build up: Finally, when inspecting your roof and performing maintenance in the winter, look for signs of ice damns in the gutters and along walls, as ice can build up and seep into the house if not properly drained. Ways of preventing ice build ups include installing a drip edge, rain and ice shields, and ensuring proper ventilation in the attic.