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  • Writer's pictureMcKay Roofing

To DIY or not to DIY: When it makes sense for Homeowners to call in the Pros

Admitting it is the first step: you need a new roof.

You’ve scoured The Family Handyman and This Old House. You’ve made countless trips to the home improvement store. You’ve sat on your laptop Googling for hours. You think you’re ready to handle your roof replacement project.

STOP! Before you climb up on that ladder, we in the roofing industry politely beg you to pause for a moment. You may think roofing seems easy. “Tear down old shingles! Put up new shingles! What could go wrong?”

Lots of things. While we don’t ever want to deter someone’s home improvement ambitions, choosing to outsource your roofing job could literally mean saving your life (if it means you don’t fall off a ladder on a windy day). Before you begin, you owe it to yourself to make sure you’ve at least thought through all of these considerations before you step up there.

Pros have knowledge and experience

While you might just see the shingles, your roof actually has many layers. These layers need to be connected properly to ensure water gets directed off the roof so not to leak into your home. Pros are trained in how to do this. We’re aware of both the local building codes, and are certified by both manufacturers and state organizations. We often can spot problems before they occur.

Even small details like the right nail size can make the difference between a roof that insulates you from the elements and one that leaks them inside your home. Think about your chosen profession: would you expect a person to be able to come in and do it anywhere close to as well as you without the years of study and training you put into it?

Furthermore, when you’re working on your own roof, it’s unlikely you have an entire group of people to help you like our crew of professionals. This means your project will take longer to complete. Even in climates like Southern California, roofing materials can be damaged when left out too long. If you’re a weekend warrior, you’re also going to have to invest in some heavy-duty tarps to protect your projects from the elements until you have a chance to get back to it.

Safety concerns are another reason to let the pros handle your job. Roofing is a skilled profession. Roofers are trained in how to walk properly, climb a ladder, and carry loads of heavy material up and down without falling. Without this training, you could literally fall to your death (something none of us want to think about!). Even if you escape death, you could severely injure yourself on a nail gun or throw your back out trying to keep your balance. Is saving a few bucks worth a trip to the hospital?

Pros come with warranties and liability insurance

Repairing a roof yourself means you alone are legally responsible for it for the years to come (20-30 years). If your roof suffers damage after your repair job or due to a mistake you made, your insurance company could deny your claim due to negligence. This means you would have to pay out of pocket for any future repairs needed.

We are all humans and we make mistakes. When a professional roofer makes a mistake that results in damage to your home, their license and insurance provides them - and you - peace of mind and the money necessary to repair your property.

Both your professional roofing company as well as the shingle manufacturer should also provide you with a warranty to cover their work. That manufacturer’s warranty is not valid for your typical do-it-yourself job.

Material costs can add up

While you may be considering a DIY roof repair job to save some money, it is likely you’ll lose money simply in material cost. You may end up buying the wrong type of shingles, or the wrong amount. You might have to buy a bundle that is much larger than what you actually need. On the other hand, a pro can take excess materials and apply them to another job at a later date. You may also have to rent tools such as a ladder, a nail gun, and a safety harness.

Financial aid can offset your hardship

If your roof is in desperate need of repair and you’re experiencing financial hardship, a pro can assist you. Whether that’s financing a HELOC or personal loan through a bank or credit union, providing financing through their company, or scaling back your project, your roofing expert can offer insights to save you some cash.

If you want to DIY, there are aspects of the job that make sense to do alongside the pros to save money while leaving the dangerous work to the skilled experts. For instance, you could tear off the old shingles but hire a pro to make sure the new ones are installed correctly. Some roofers are actually so busy that they’d prefer to have you do this work themselves so they can move onto their next job faster!

When it comes time to sell your home, you will recoup your roofing investment costs. No buyer wants to purchase a home in need of significant roof repairs. Fixing your roof can add to your curb appeal and make your house easier to sell when the time comes.

Prevent or delay your roof repair

Inspect your roof in the spring and in the fall. Don’t wait until something bad happens before you call a pro! Check your gutters and shingles. Look for cracks, curls, missing or excess granules. Color changes can be a sign of excess moisture or algae.

However, most problems can’t be seen from the ground - so by the time you see them, it’s too late. You can see more by going into your attic than you can from outside. Look for signs of moisture and wood rot, and any areas where the sun is leaking in where you would not expect it to.

Whether or not you decide you want to handle your roofing job or hand it over to the pros, we’re here for you to turn to for advice and to work out a plan that makes sense for your home. Contact us today to discuss your project!

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