Roof repairs are not out of reach for DIY-oriented homeowners. However, working on a roof can be one of the more risky home repair projects to take on. Here are four tips that can help keep you safe when you are patching a roof leak or replacing worn-out shingles.
Use the Right Ladder
It is important to start thinking about safety before you take the first step onto your roof. You will likely be going up and down a ladder several times over the course of a roof repair project. It is important that you choose the right ladder for the job and use the ladder correctly.
Before buying or renting a ladder, you should first find the height of your house. The ladder you choose should extend a few feet above the edge of your roof so you have something to hold when stepping onto and off of the roof. Ideally, the ladder should be placed on a level surface, but if this is not possible, you can place a wood block under one leg of the ladder to stabilize it.
Aluminum ladders are light and easy to maneuver, but they are also conductive. If there are power lines near your roof, you may want to choose a fiberglass ladder instead to reduce the risk of electric shock if the ladder comes in contact with the lines.
Always Work With a Helper
No matter how experienced you are at home repairs, roof repair is not a job that should be attempted alone. One of the most important jobs of a helper is to get help immediately in case of a fall or other accident. If you have a helper, you can also set up a rope hoist system to deliver tools and buckets to the roof. This will allow you to keep both hands safely on the ladder when you climb up and down since you won't have to carry tools yourself.
Rooftop Safety Gear
Wearing safety gear is a must when you are working on your roof. Your shoes are the first line of defense against a dangerous fall off of your roof. You should choose shoes or boots with rubber soles and thick treads to provide ample traction for walking around on the sloped surface of your roof.
For especially steep roofs, roof brackets can provide safe walking surfaces so you aren't at continual risk of falling if your shoes lose their grip on your roof. Roof brackets are installed by installing jacks under the shingles at even intervals along the length of the roof. A plank can then be laid across each set of brackets to walk safely on any part of the roof.
The safest way to work on your roof is using a roof harness system. The harness is worn around the torso, and a lanyard connects the harness to an anchor that is attached to a rafter, truss, or other solid support on the roof. If you lose your footing completely and fall off the roof, the harness system will stop your fall before you hit the ground.
Keep Your Work Area Clutter-Free
Nowhere is a clean work area more important than on top of a roof. Stray hand tools can easily lead to a dangerous trip and fall, so it is important to keep all tools organized while you are working. Tools can be kept in a bucket and hung on a roof bracket. If you are using any power tools, keep cords positioned so they will not be accidentally stepped on.
Using these safety tips, you can complete any roof repair project on your own with minimal risk of injury.
For more information, tips, or if you feel you'd rather have professionals work on your roof, contact a professional roof repair company, such as A-1 Roofing & Siding.