So you want to DIY (do it yourself), but CAN you? Should you?

The answer to this question comes from the four “A”‘s:  Ability, Agility, Attitude, Aptitude.  Each plays a role in making it possible.

You’ve decided that you want to do the roofing yourself, and you are prepared to do the necessary learning and training to do it right.  However, another aspect to consider is your physical ability.  Roofing work requires some strength, good balance, and the ability to work in weather conditions that may not be ideal (either hot, or cold, or windy).  There are times when, due to rapid change in weather, you have no choice but to continue working even as the conditions deteriorate, and you have to have the ability to do so.  Roofing and renovation is physical, sometimes demanding work.

Roofing work also requires agility and awareness of your position in space.  You need to easily move from scaffold or ladder to the roof and back again.  If you’re working on a roof platform on a steep slope, it may require a little bit of physical effort to position yourself next to the work area.  Physical agility is important.  During the course of a single full working day, you may be up and down the scaffolding or ladder at least 30-40 times, usually carrying stuff up or down at the same time.

Some DIY projects can be done easily by one person.  Roofing usually requires at least two sets of hands, unless you are doing a very simple and low roof installation.  Even something as simple as running a chalk-line goes much better/easier with two people working together.  If you have to re-deck, it is much safer to have two people manipulating the sheet into place.  If there is a lot of measuring and cutting involved, it is often much simpler to have one person on the roof doing the measuring and another on the ground doing the cutting, bending, etc.  Installing a 10-ft. piece of flashing on the rake almost always requires two sets of hands.  Putting up or taking down the scaffolding is much, much easier with at least two sets of hands.

Roofing work can also be dangerous.  If getting up on a footstool makes you dizzy, you may want to reconsider.  Things can slip out of your hands and bounce down the slope and to the ground.  Sometimes you can trip on a safety rope or a piece of material.  On some materials, the footing can be very slick and you can slip.  Working on high ladders can be very dangerous if the ladder footing is not solid, or the ladder is not anchored properly at the top.  Therefore to work safely on a roof, requires a mindset that safety is always first.  Remember Murphy’s Law?  Don’t give Murphy an opportunity to play his game.  Accidents usually happen when someone doesn’t pay attention enough to everything that is going on around them.  Distraction is a common reason for the lapse in attention.

In some ways, despite the nature of the work being rather physical, the main indicator of success will be the mental attitude the installer takes on the project.  Your aptitude to plan the project, consider the risks and how you will handle them, take the time to learn the skills on the easier parts, check yourself as you go, work purposefully and carefully, will all contribute to your success.  “Measure twice, cut once” fits here.  As does “Haste make waste”.  

Next Post :  Is your roof a candidate for DIY?

(c)  2014 Paul Grizenko

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