Home improvement projects can be a lot of fun, and many people choose to take them up on their own instead of hiring a contractor. Roofing projects, however, are generally not so fun and most often require hiring a professional. And yet there are instances, involving minor damage, that you might decide to undertake repairs yourself. From roof cleaning to cracked flashing to a couple of missing shingles, small jobs like these are often performed (or at least attempted) by homeowners to save costs and to avoid having to wait for a contractor to schedule their repair. In these cases, it is of utmost importance to take all possible safety precautions. For this reason we are laying out here some basics of roof safety to keep in mind when attempting any repair (or anytime you decide to climb onto your roof at all).
Overall Safety Tips
There are some general safety tips to keep in mind. Never work on your roof when it is wet or slippery. This can be after or during rain or even early in the morning when the dew still has not evaporated. Even when the roof is not wet, it is important to wear soft-soled and ridged shoes for proper traction. Also avoid working when it is either too hot or too cold out. Temperatures like these can warp the shingles and make them dangerous to step on. It is also very easy to get dehydrated and dizzy during hot weather, which is exacerbated by the heat coming from the roof surface itself. Additionally it is important to keep your work area clean to avoid creating a tripping hazard and make sure that nothing falls off of the roof, as this can seriously injure someone or cause property damages. Keep children and pets away from the surrounding area when you are working.
Ladders and Electrical
To get up on the roof you are going to need a ladder. The type of ladder and its set-up are both incredibly important. Make sure that it is a vertical ladder, not an A-frame. Also, be sure that the ladder is long enough to reach up to and beyond the edge of the roof; otherwise, it is not safe to use. Ladders should be set up at an angle so that they rise vertically four feet for every one foot they extend horizontally. Ladders should also be stationed on a level surface, making sure that both feet are at the same elevation. When climbing the ladder, make sure to wear appropriate footwear and keep at least three points of contact at all times with the ladder.
When setting up the ladder, find a clear area of the roof well away from any electrical fixtures, especially power lines, and even satellite dishes. Not only will these obstruct your ascent onto the roof, but they also create a hazard of electrocution. Another electrical hazard is a metal ladder. Make sure that your ladder is made of fiberglass (or wood, although that is rare nowadays) so that electricity cannot jump from the powerlines to your ladder. And, always, avoid touching any hot wires with either your hands or your tools.
Nail Gun Safety
Nail guns are an essential tool for roof repairs, but they are also a dangerous instrument that can potentially turn into a weapon. When using a nail gun make sure to follow all safety instructions that come from the manufacturer. Particularly, never point the nail gun at any part of the body or any other person. When discharging nails, make sure that the nail gun’s barrel is pressed right against the surface and avoid “shooting” nails. Make sure that all the safety mechanisms of the gun are in place and never tamper with any of them. Finally, disconnect the air supply to the gun as soon as you are finished using it and never attempt to clean or repair or do any work on the nail gun while it is connected.
If you do not feel confident taking on roofing repairs yourself, no problem. Just call us! Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!