15 Best Tips for DIY Roofing Projects

Of all the repairs you could do to your home, perhaps one of the most expensive (and frustrating) is doing repairs to your roof. The cost of repairing or replacing a roof can vary according to the size of the replacement you need, material costs, and whether you choose to hire help, or choose to use DIY roofing instructions. In either case, prices for replacing your roof can be staggering. In fact, the prices for roofing repairs vary greatly, on average ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 or more. However, choosing to buy materials and follow DIY roofing instructions on your own can save you thousands of dollars in labor costs.

Going it Alone

Choosing to use DIY roofing instructions can be a great way to save money, gain some new knowledge on construction, and rest easy knowing the job was done by you. However, if you’re unable to work on your roof because of certain limitations, don’t have the time to research enough, or simply don’t have time to do the project, there’s no shame in hiring professional help. If you do choose to use DIY roofing instructions, these 15 tips can help you plan the project, stay safe while doing so, and complete your first DIY project with pride!

1. Check Physical Limitations

Doing any sort of repairs on your roof is incredibly hard work. It’s important to understand this beforehand and see if you’re comfortable handling the amount of physical work that goes into roofing repairs or roof installations. Start by walking around your roof with the proper safety gear, climbing up and down your ladder with heavy shingles and materials on your back, and seeing if you can keep your balance while doing roofing repairs. If you find these tasks difficult to do, perhaps it is best to skip the DIY roofing instructions altogether and simply get a professional to help you. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help, and this is especially true if you are also looking at doing siding repairs along with your roof repairs. Because both take a good amount of time to work on, require permits and different materials, finding professional siding services along with roofing can be a great option to save you on time and money.

2. Take Weather into Account

In a perfect world we would be able to fix a leak right away without having to wait for any appropriate weather. However, it’s important to wait for a couple of days full of sunshine to start work on roofing repairs. You can always try and find a leak later on by looking inside your home for water staining on roof beams, damaged insulation, and damaged drywall instead of trying to do repairs in the rain. In addition to rain, be wary of doing repairs in extreme conditions such as snow, hail, and especially high winds.

3. Make a Budget

The roof is one of the best investments to make on your home, but is also one of the most expensive. However, having a sturdy roof that lasts for years to come can be a great way to get your return on investment when selling your house. Roofs can last for well up to 20 years if properly maintained, but if you’re looking for a quick and cheap fix, these are available as well.

For example, a re-roof repair is cost-effective, easy to use DIY roofing instructions with, and adds a layer of protection to your roof. However, though re-roofing is cheap as it only involves adding another layer of shingles on top of the old one, it will not fix any major issues such as rotting, sagging, or damaged shingles. It’s important to consider your options and make a budget of how much you’re willing to spend on roofing. Consider the size of the damage, the extent of the damage, what materials you would like to use, and the overall time you’re taking out of your day to actually work on your roofing project.

4. Buy Safety Materials

Once you’ve made a budget, decided on the extent of the repair and whether or not to include siding, and how to move forward, it’s important to talk safety. All DIY roofing instructions will ask for safety first, and this includes getting the proper materials. Flat bars, proper nails, rubber-soled boots, a ladder that sticks out at least 3 feet over the roof’s height, and safety harnesses are all important. Safety harnesses are luckily cheap, going at about $100 per kit. Depending on the height and pitch (or steepness) or the roof, you’ll want to shell out more on safety equipment depending on your project.

5. Plan for Disposal

While doing roofing repairs, you’re going to replace various large and heavy items on your roof. Not only will you be replacing damaged shingles, but with the extent of the damage can come replacing the ice-and-water underlayment, other cracked tiles, flashing, 15 or 30 lb. felt paper, and in general a lot of construction hardware like staples and nails. Consider dumpster rentals to help you clear out all of this mess, and make it easier to keep your area safe from debris and clutter.

6. Buy Proper Materials

You will need various materials, as mentioned earlier, when replacing a roof. For asphalt roofing, these materials include shingles, the most common of which are architectural shingles, flashing for various areas, sealant, underlayment, felt, staple and nailguns, and flatbars just to name a few. If you are planning on replacing the less-common flat roofing, materials might vary and could include metal roofing, TPO, and PVC roofing. The process for replacing a flat roof is thought to be more difficult, as it is less common, however, with the proper research it can still be done with different materials!

7. Take the Proper Time

When following DIY roofing instructions, it’s important to take your time in repairing everything no matter how long it takes. For example, rolling out the underlayment of your roof takes time and patience, and is incredibly important in order to ensure a proper seal to the deck, and to ensure no ice or water gets under the shingles. In addition to taking the time to properly lay your ice-and-water underlayment, extra time should be devoted to areas such as valleys, and sections more prone to water damage such as near your chimney. These areas must be properly inspected for leaks, have flashing put on them (preferably with a partner), and weaved along with the shingles to ensure no water goes under them. Do not rush through the project, as this will only lead to future damage.

8. Obtain Proper Permits

Depending on the county you live in, doing a roof repair job requires a permit, and this is also true if you live in an area with strict HOA guidelines. The look of your roof might be a little hard to re-capture, as shingles might be faded from the original color, and so taking the time to match the current shingle colors to make your roof more visually appealing can make your HOA easier to convince about roofing repairs or replacement. Just like siding color plays a roll in HOA decisions, so does roofing color and type. Contact your county or city’s safety and field office for more information.

9. Clear Gutters

Before you start working on your roofing project, it’s important to clear out any debris that might hinder your ability to find leaks, and overall make the job more difficult. Clearing your gutters throughout the year can not only keep ice dams and leaks from forming, but also help when it comes time to do roofing repairs. This can also help prevent water buildup during the rainy season.

10. Strip your Roof

Properly stripping your roof makes all the difference when following DIY roofing instructions. When looking at architectural shingles, it’s important to remember to remove the shingles that are above and below the shingle you are trying to replace. Once you strip your shingles, pay attention to any damage that can be seen in the underlayment below your shingle. This dual underlayment might have one layer missing, meaning it must be replaced and stripped entirely in that section. It’s okay to take it section by section, and do your best to properly strip your shingles and underlayment, and later put them back using proper spacing between nails and adding sealant for extra protection.

11. Use Sealant Properly

Sealant is great to use in between shingles once you place them back on your roof. Sealant can also help seal areas when installing step and dormer flashing. Vent pipes are another area often overlooked can have problems arise. You can make plumbing vents leak-proof by installing a layer of underlayment around vent pipes and caulk with roof sealant before adding shingles. Be sure to avoid silicone and asphalt-based sealants in order to have a longer-lasting seal.

12. Check Leak-Prone Areas

Valleys in your roof, ridges, and ill-fitting rubber boots are all areas that can be prone to leaks. It’s important before you finish up your work to inspect all these areas and make sure your flashing is properly installed to ensure no water gets into your shingles. In addition, when looking for a leak, start from the top of the valley of your roof and work your way down, and this will generally help you find the source of your leak.


13. Cap your Ridge

Once you’ve added all your shingles, capping your ridge is important to protect against wind. Architectural-style ridge caps come in two layers thick, to match the look of the shingles, so using longer nails will help you nail this thicker ridge cap into your shingles. When installing a ridge cap, start at either side of your roof and make your way down to the middle.

14. Prevent Ice Build-Up

Ice damns can damage shingles and cause leaks to form under your roof. Usually, if you live in a severe climate area with heavy snow, building codes require applying ice-and-water self-adhesive underlayment 3 to 6 ft. up from the eave. Once you’ve fully repaired or replaced your roof using DIY roofing instructions, it’s important to prevent future damage by preventing ice build-up. Shovel off the snow that accumulates on your roof, use proper ventilation, rain, and ice shields as well as install a drip edge to help prevent ice build-up.

15. Conduct Routine Maintenance in the Future

Roof maintenance is important to follow once you’ve finished with your DIY roofing instructions and your final repair is finished. Pay attention to small details that could wreak havoc on your roof later on. For instance, roofs with cracked tiles can be prone to having damage to the underlayment, which can, therefore, cause leaks and even damage to the decking itself if exposed. Slipped tiles or tiles with cracks bigger than 3 inches cannot simply be caulked and kicked back into place. Similarly, vents that now have cracks cannot simply be sealed with sealant. Make sure to conduct proper maintenance to find cracks, leaks, and slipped tiles before they become an issue.

Save Money, Feel Better

The main reason you would want to do roofing repairs yourself would be to not only save money, but also rest easy knowing you followed DIY roofing instructions properly. Following instructions and safety properly are the most important parts of working on a project on your own. Many times, laziness, unsafe working conditions, and shoddy workmanship can cause even the most reputable roofing services to do a terrible job and cause your roof to become even more damaged. By doing proper research, having a good budget, and spending the proper time doing your roofing repairs, you can have the confidence to know your roof will last for the next 2 decades to come.

Leave a Reply