Three Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn’t Install Your Own Roof

Think you’re up to the challenge of taking on the fourth most dangerous job in America? If you decide to install your own roof, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even police officers have less chance of dying on the job than professional roofers do. And yet countless DIYers risk their lives every year just to try to save some money.

“There’s no better way to meet an orthopedic surgeon – or an undertaker – than by spending an extended amount of time on your roof,” cautions PopularMechanics.com. “One small slip or misstep, and it’s a long way down.”

With that in mind, here are three questions to ask yourself before deciding:

• Are you comfortable with heights? You may tell yourself you’re comfortable with heights, but it’s an entirely different experience when you’re 40 feet up on a roof, knowing that – even after you’ve ripped out all the old roofing and checked for damage – you still have to install things like leak barrier and roof deck protection before you can even think about nailing on new shingles.

All while wearing rubber-soled boots to (hopefully) keep you from tripping on a slick spot, safety glasses to (hopefully) keep you from injuring an eye with an errantly hammered nail, and a harness to (hopefully) keep you from plummeting to the ground when working on a steeply pitched roof.

• Are you as strong as you think? You’d better hope so because you’ll be lugging what feels like tons of roofing material and equipment up a ladder.

Some of the equipment alone includes: an air compressor, a circular saw, a hack saw, an
electric drill, a saw horse, a roofing shovel, a claw hammer, a framing hammer, a chisel, and a pneumatic nail gun, which has been described as “basically a weapon.”

And that ladder? Not only will you need to position it correctly for safety reasons (extending it 36 inches above the landing or roof eave), but there’s a potentially life-or-death reason why it should be made of a particular material.

“It’s crucial to use a non-conductive ladder made of wood or fiberglass when working near wires to avoid electrocution,” advises Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE). “Far too many roofers have died because they were using metal ladders.”

• Do you already have the necessary tools? As Angie’s List says, “If you have to go out and buy a power saw but don’t plan to use it in the future, it’s probably not a good investment.”

Having second thoughts? GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, has made it easy to find the most reputable and adequately insured professionals in your area by searching its website’s GAF Master Elite Contractor database.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the top three most dangerous jobs: loggers, fishermen and fisherwomen, and aircraft pilots.

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