DIY roofing may seem like a simple task on paper, but there are many steps and materials needed in order to complete this job.
Some basic materials and tools needed:
Drip edge (check with your local building code to see if you’re required to use metal drip edge)
Self-adhesive waterproof underlayment
Steep and dormer flashing
Basic steps to replacing a shingle roof:
Strip off old shingles.
Install the drip edge.
Install the self-stick underlayment.
Cover your roof with felt paper and overlap the ridges at the peak.
Install flashing on any valleys for waterproofing.
Install your starter row of shingles at the bottom of your roof, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install shingles.
Trim off excess shingles on roof edges.
Install step and dormer flashing.
Install underlayment and caulk vent stacks with roof sealant to make your plumbing vents leak proof.
Add vent flashing, seal nail heads, then shingle over it.
Add extra roof ventilation.
Cap the ridges to prevent wind from blowing over overlap seams.
Seal everything up.
Can I shingle my own roof?
The answer to this initial question is—yes. Anyone can watch some YouTube tutorials, grab the necessary supplies, and climb up to their roof to nail on some shingles. The question you should be asking yourself is, “Should I shingle my own roof?”
Unless you’ve been professionally trained in roofing, that answer is almost always no.
The Dangers of DIY Roofing
Roofing isn’t a simple DIY project like painting a wall. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult and dangerous projects you can undertake in your home. The physical demands of roofing are often understated. Many homeowners don’t spend a lot of time on their roof and aren’t familiar with trying to walk around or recognize damaged areas that may be unsafe. You have to be able to carry heavy loads of shingles up on your roof, and starting your shingle work requires you to start working at the very bottom edge of your roof—which is typically much easier with scaffolding.
Weather is another factor to consider. Rain or morning dew can make roofs slick and a strong enough gust of wind can prove disastrous if it hits as you’re carrying paneling or unsure of your footing. Not only is roofing dangerous for your safety, but it can also be dangerous to the integrity of your home if done incorrectly.
If you do a bad paint job on your home, you can leave it and try again once it’s dry. Bad roofing jobs are there to stay and may even lead to water damage or other expensive infrastructure issues. If you have a very simple roof—such as a roof with only one vent stack—this job may be doable. However, if you have a steep roof or a roof with some special areas such as dead valleys, pitch changes, or chimneys, you’re better off calling a pro.
What questions should I ask a roofing contractor?
Hiring a roofing contractor is the best way to ensure you’re getting a high-quality job, but it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into before signing any contracts or paperwork. Ask these questions while researching to find a great company:
Is it a real business? Look for an address or permanent place of business as well as a local telephone number—this helps certify that the contractor does work in your area regularly.
Is the contractor legitimate? Look for a website with the contractor’s reviews, services, and experience. Where possible, try to find information on the contractor's business license including the dates in which it is valid.