Do-It-Yourself Roofing; Can it Be Done?


Sam nailing down shingles

Many of us have the idea that the outside maintenance of our homes is over our heads. We think that things like siding and roofing can only be done by professionals. While there is a need for professionals to do these things, many of us that are able bodied CAN do this ourselves. There are many resources for building a knowledge base for many home improvement projects that need to be done on your house. For example, the shingles that we were using to put a new roof on a friends garage were manufactured by GAF Materials Corporation(R). They have a great video reference for roofing yourself on your own home.

One thing to remember though is that the warranty is different for the types of shingles that each company offers. As the quality of shingles goes up, they require certified installers for the installation.

Some other things to consider:

  1. How to dispose of the trash; renting a dumpster
  2. Will the lumber yard deliver the shingles? on the rooftop?
  3. What type of shingle to pick out
  4. Can I get enough friends to help?
  5. Will they still be friends afterwards?

These are all good questions that you need to answer before starting your project. As I have said, make sure to research completely any projects that you are unfamiliar with and make sure it is something you can handle from the beginning to the end.

Contemplating God, the Universe and my Bauer Ladder

As I lay on my back looking up at the evening sky, I was thinking about a lot of things. Why am I here? Why is the sky blue? Where are we going? Why did the third rung on my Bauer ladder just break like it was made out of a Keebler cracker? The most inexplicable thing about all of these questions is that I have reasonably good answers to all of them. Now you might ask yourself, if he knew his ladder had a cracker step, why not just skip to the fourth rung? Well, of course, I could not fathom which rung was actually made of a delicious buttery cracker, but I should have looked at some important warning signs before using the ill fated piece of outdoor equipment.  

rung hole
splitting rung hole


It may be difficult to see in the picture, but notice that the wood around the rung is slitting out around the rung hole. You know you are in trouble when your rung hole is not of adequate tightness. Also, the condition of each step does not look comforting. It looks slippery and water logged. This may be a sign that the ladder was not stored properly or with enough sunlight to adequately dry the ladder. Perhaps one was not allowed to let the ladder be seen by visiting guests. 

Rusty catches

Old Bauer ladder showing signs of age

Notice the rust and flaking paint. Although, there is less paint left than exposed wood. This is never a good sign.  A ladder should be kept inside, in a garage or shed, to prevent the wood from soaking up water and not drying properly. Any flaking paint should be stripped off and re-primed and then painted to seal out the elements and keep it ready for use. 

Obviously this ladder was not kept in the best conditions. In fact, it was hung on the back of my shed in perpetual shadows which prevented it from ever drying out completely. 

I have to explain that, of course, the first step on the ladder was missing. As with any neglected wooden tool, as stuff starts to break off, we just deal with it. It is a large step to the second rung, but actually the bottom ends of the ladder were cut off because of rotting. You would think that all these clues would discourage me from climbing the ladder to clean the gutters, but you would be wrong. For, you see, I am not that smart. I cannot predict the future until after it happens, which is not a good predictor of futures… 

broken rung

broken rung and 3 feet of air!

So that ladder is dead, my back is really hurting and my family is laughing at me, but, at least I know where I stand, or not, with my precious Bauer ladder.