If you have some basic DIY skills and think of yourself as "handy," you may be able to make some basic roof repairs yourself rather than calling your roofing contractor. But while there's always some risk involved with working on a roof, that risk becomes even greater when your roof has an overly steep slope. If you plan to work on your steep roof yourself, be sure to follow these safety tips to prevent accidents and injuries.
1. Wear rubber shoes.
Work boots may seem like a logical choice when you're doing construction work, but they're not the best choice for roofing since the soles tend to be hard and slick. Wear a pair of shoes with rubber soles to give yourself more traction. Hiking shoes with Vibram soles are a great choice as they retain great traction even when moist.
2. Wear tight-fitting clothing.
Really, you should avoid loose clothing whether your roof has a steep slope or a shallow one. Loose clothes can get caught on items like gutters, sewer vents, and chimney flashing, causing you to take a dangerous tumble. Opt for slim-leg pants or jeans and close-fitting athletic shirts over baggy sweats.
3. Wait for a dry day.
If your shingles are in good shape, a little bit of moisture should not make them overly slick. However, it's really hard to tell if your shingles are beginning to loose granules without looking at them closely, so you won't know until you're up on the roof whether your shingles are beginning to deteriorate and are thus slippery when wet. Whey you have a steep roof, you need as much traction as you can get, so give your roof at least a day to dry after a rainstorm. If you ever get up on the roof and find that it's moist, climb back down and give it another day to dry out before you return.
4. If you can't reach from a ladder or roof's edge, use roofing jacks.
If you're lucky, you'll be able to reach the damaged area from a ladder or by standing just along the edge of the roof. If you have to walk any further up the roof to reach the damaged area, then it's safest to use roof jacks.
Roof jacks are brackets that hold a piece of scaffolding across your roof. To install the jacks, follow these steps:
- Find out where your roof tresses are located. You can do this by going into the attic, measuring the space between the tresses, and then measuring out the same distances on the top of your roof.
- Nail several roof jacks into the tresses across your roof, spacing them 4 feet apart. Make sure they are straight across from one another. Use two nails in each roof jack for stability.
- Set a ladder or a board across the line or roof jacks. You can now stand on this ladder or board as you work on the roof. It will keep you from sliding down the steep pitch.
Keep in mind that working on a steep roof is a dangerous endeavor, even if you do take all of the precautions above. If you are at all unsteady on your feet or start to feel unsafe about climbing on your steep roof, get off the roof and call a professional like Emmons Roofing & Siding LLC to make the repairs for you. They are specially trained to work on steep peaks, and they have the right equipment to do so safely. If's far better to pay someone to make your repairs than to risk a dangerous -- and possibly deadly -- fall from your roof.