Roofing your home is a necessary task, but can also be quite dangerous, especially if the proper precautions aren’t taken. In order to get the job done correctly and safely, be sure to follow our tips for safe roof repairs. If you are ever in any doubt, it is always a good idea to seek the help and advice of a professional roofing company to avoid any accidents and to ensure the work is completed to your satisfaction.
1. Use the Buddy System
Having someone there with you on the roof is important when you are undertaking your own roof repairs. If you injure yourself while working alone, you may not be able to get the attention that you need right away. This can be avoided by having a friend or family member with you to help during the roofing process. By having a partner helping you out, you will both have a spotter should something go wrong on the roof.
2. Buckle Into a Harness
Having the appropriate safety gear is important to any job that involves manual labor and heights. Whether you managed to find a friend to help, or couldn’t find anyone to assist you with your roof repairs, you should always invest in an appropriately fitting harness. These harnesses are crucial to your safety when on the roof. In 2015, a temporary worker in Houston fell off of a 12-foot roof and was hospitalized with fractured arms and severe contusions. He was not given a harness to wear while roofing, and his company was fined more than $367,000 in safety violations. This man was lucky to survive, and by wearing a harness you will be able to avoid this near tragedy.
3. Have a Plan Before you Climb Up
Too many times have amateur roofers climbed to the top of their homes to perform roof repairs only to become completely flustered with the task once they begin. Having an exact plan of what needs to be done – and the order in which the tasks must be completed – will take the stress of the roof repairs off of your shoulders and will allow you to focus on doing the job safely. Prepare a detailed checklist and keep your head clear.
4. Keep Your Workspace Clean of Debris
Your safety and the safety of your roofing partner should be priority number one during any roofing job. Harnesses will protect you from a fall, but a clean roof will help prevent the fall altogether. As the old roofing expression goes, “a roofer without a broom isn’t a roofer for long”. Be sure to keep your roof clean of any mineral grit, sawdust, loose felt paper, stray nails and shingling debris that may hinder your work progress. It’s also important to put away any tools or equipment that you aren’t using. These objects could get in your way as you work, which could wind up with you falling and hurting yourself.
5. Practice Ladder Safety
The process of getting yourself up and onto the roof can be just as dangerous as being on the roof itself. Safely ascending the ladder and making sure the ladder is secure is important to your safety, so here are some things to remember while scaling a ladder:
- Ensure the ground is level. If it isn’t, dig out the ground so the feet will be level as you ascend. If the ladder is on a deck, fasten a board behind the feet of the ladder to improve its stability.
- Never bounce the ladder to the left or right to extend your reach or to shift the ladder. Descend and move the ladder safely to wherever it needs to go.
- Wear a tool belt to keep your hands free during the ascent and use a rope to pull heavier tools up.
- Always face the ladder when climbing up. Never ascend or descend the ladder while facing away from the rungs.
- Ensure the ladder extends 3 feet above the point of contact.
- Fasten the ladder to the roof once you have successfully reached the rooftop. This will ensure the ladder doesn’t fall over once you’re on the roof.
6. Beware of Inclement Weather
You will need to make sure the weather forecast is favorable if you are planning to make roof repairs to your home. We have some very powerful wind and rainstorms that come through. Wind and rain make roofing a very difficult task, and only add to the danger. When working with sheeting, a sudden gust of breeze could take the sheet like a kite and push you onto your back or send you tumbling off the roof. Before starting up for the day, make sure the weather forecast is positive enough to conduct safe work on your roof.
7. Don’t Walk on a Wet Roof
After a Texas rainstorm, there may be some roof repairs to be made, but make sure the roof is dry before heading up. A wet roof will only increase your chances of falling, as the roof will become slippery. Any wet leaves that are on your roof pose a slipping threat as well. Ensure your roof is dry or at least dry enough to safely perform your roof repairs.
8. Wear Proper Footwear
Good qualities to seek out in roofing footwear are thin treads with shallow lugs (the grooves on the bottom of the shoe). Deep lugs often carry a lot of unwanted debris onto the roof, which makes more of a mess for you to clean up and possibly slip on. Boat shoes and tennis shoes may work, but their thin soles won’t provide protection from nail punctures. They also won’t provide much ankle support. Construction boots should be avoided as well, as the material on their soles makes it harder to grip the roof. Avoid leather soles as well, as they don’t have much friction with the surfaces you’re walking on.
9. Stay Focused
While you are up on the roof, you will no doubt have an amazing view. This view may be incredible, but you can’t let yourself get distracted by the scenery. It’s small lapses in judgment like this that cause people to step on a loose piece of shingling or felt paper and suffer a fall. Just remember to keep your feet under you and your eyes on where you are going. There will be plenty of time to look around once the roof repairs are completed.
10. Know Your Limits
You may think you are ready to climb your ladder and get started on your roof repairs, but if this is your first time on a roof you may want to climb up and see how you feel about it first. If you are uncomfortable with heights or tools, then consider getting in touch with a reputable roofing company. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and always stay safe while on the roof.