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Can a Homeowner Perform Roof Repair Without Hiring a Roofer?

April 17, 2020

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Residential roof repair is often a costly investment for most homeowners, which is why they often wonder if they can manage this work on their own. Online videos and other tutorials often make it seem as if DIY roof repair is an easy task, and that hiring a professional roofing contractor is nothing but a waste of money.

Do-it-yourself roof repair often results in more damage to a roof, wasted materials, and the risk of interior leaks with resultant mold growth. A homeowner also risks dangerous falls from a ladder or the roof itself.

While a homeowner certainly can manage certain minor roof repairs on their own, the real question is if they should tackle this job themselves. While it might seem cheaper to replace shingles and other materials yourself, future roof repair bills as well as costs for interior water damage repair and mold cleanup might far outweigh those initial savings!

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Before you get out your ladder and tool belt or spend time watching another online tutorial, you might note what’s involved in most residential roof repair work. It’s also helpful to better understand a roof’s overall composition, so you know why repairs are typically more complicated than homeowners realize and the importance of high-quality repairs. You can then discuss your options with a roofing contractor near you and ensure you choose the best option for your home.

Why a Homeowner Should Avoid DIY Roof Repair

Homeowners are often concerned about their budget and assume DIY roof repair is somewhat easy, but note some reasons why it’s good to rely on a professional roofing company near you instead.

  • Simply walking on a home’s roof risks damage to shingles! It’s not unusual for homeowners to scrape granules off shingle surfaces or loosen shingles and other roofing materials just from walking across the roof itself, leading to more damage and costly repairs.
  • While nailing on a missing shingle is not difficult, a homeowner would do well to ask why their roof is missing shingles! Strong storms might blow away some shingles but, when this happens, other shingles are at risk of falling away.
  • If shingles are missing because they’re old and worn, it might be time to consider a full-scale roof replacement. You might simply waste money constantly replacing those shingles and also be risking interior water damage and energy loss with an old roof.
  • Failing to replace worn flashing or metal sheeting around roofing trenches, such as between shingles and chimneys, leads to interior water damage, worn chimney brick, and other needed repairs. Homeowners often tend to overlook flashing replacement when performing repairs or fail to install new flashing properly, risking future damage.
  • Using the wrong type of nail or connector, even if you use several per shingle, risks losing those shingles in a storm or high winds.
  • When shingles need replacing, roof vents might also be showing signs of wear and damage or otherwise need replacing as well. Ventilation is vital for protecting a home’s interior from trapped humidity and resultant water damage and mold growth. A roofing contractor near you ensures vents are inspected and replaced or repaired as needed during shingle replacement and other such repair work.

What Is Involved in Residential Roof Repair?

Knowing a bit more about roof construction and common repairs can also ensure a homeowner makes the best decision for property maintenance. First note that shingles are not the only covering for a roof; flashing, as said, protects valleys and covers gaps between shingles and obstructions such as chimneys and vents. Flashing is prone to tearing, cracks, and other damage, and might need replacing during roof repairs.

Underlayment provides a solid base and added insulation underneath shingles or tiles. Typically constructed of thick felt or another similar material, underlayment might suffer tears, rips, and similar damage, and often needs replacing especially if shingles are missing and have exposed the underlayment to harsh weather conditions.

The roof deck refers to the structural components between a home’s framing, including trusses and joists, and exterior roofing materials. A roof deck is typically strong and sturdy but might need repairs especially for an older home and if there is trapped moisture above or below the deck surface.

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As any or all of these components suffer damage and excess wear over the years, it’s vital that a roofing contractor near you offer a full-scale roof inspection before repair work begins. Overlooking damaged materials or covering them over with new shingles only allows that damage to get worse over time, leading to more expensive repair bills and even the risk of roof collapse.

How to Choose Local Roof Repair Contractors

Not all roof repair contractors are alike, and roofing is not a job for a general contractor. Not all contractors are experienced in working with various shingle and tile materials or with checking the many layers and materials used to create a roof, as mentioned. Rather than relying on just anyone for roof repairs, it’s vital that you shop around for the best roof repair contractor near you.

One factor to consider is if a roof repair contractor advertises the materials used and their expected lifespan or attached warranty. A 30-day warranty for new shingles and roofing installation is not much of a guarantee, so be wary of a contractor who doesn’t stand behind their work and materials with at least a 5-year guarantee, if not longer.

A reputable roofing company near you should also offer a full roof inspection before work begins. Even if you’ve inspected your home’s roof and know there are missing shingles or soft spots, it’s vital that a contractor note all areas needing repairs and consider existing shingle materials, condition of flashing, and other vital factors. A contractor who offers a quick quote over the phone, without ever setting foot on your property or roof, might not be well-qualified for the job!

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While a homeowner needs to consider their budget, it’s also shortsighted to hire the cheapest roofing contractor near you, or assume a contractor is “ripping you off” by quoting a higher amount than expected. As no two homes or damaged roof are alike, don’t assume that the price paid by a neighbor or friend for their roof repairs is the price you can expect to pay!

Quality materials also tend to cost more but last longer than cheaper shingles and tiles, and a roofer taking his or her time for a proper inspection and thorough repair job might also charge a higher price. Consider that high-quality tiles or shingles and other materials are likely to last longer than low-priced materials, making that higher cost a great investment in your home.

When Is It Time for Roof Repair?

Missing shingles and sagging spots are obvious signs of needed roof repairs, but there are many other signs that it’s time to call a roofing contractor near you! Overlooking these signs can mean more extensive damage over time and higher repair bills. On the other hand, knowing even the most subtle signs of needed roof repair ensures you can schedule that work as soon as it’s needed and avoid more extensive roof repair, interior water leaks, resultant mold growth, and the like.

One sign of needed roof repairs is trapped heat or humidity in a home’s attic or upper stories. A solid roof in good repair deflects heat and humidity while also venting humidity from the home’s interior rooms. Roof leaks, cracks, gaps, and other damage allow heat and humidity to seep into the house; as heat rises, you might then notice an overly warm and humid attic or upper story.

While needed plumbing repairs might result in interior water leaks and stains on ceilings, a damaged roof also allows water into the home. You might not see a drip from an attic or upper room ceiling but might notice water stains on the ceiling, along crown molding, or down corners. If you’ve ruled out a plumbing issue in the home, it’s time for a roof inspection.

A roof also helps support the home’s weight, dispersing it across its span. A weakened roof might allow a home to settle and shift, leading to interior cracks along walls and ceilings as well as cracks along the foundation. You might also notice uneven surfaces inside the home; a toy car or ball might start rolling on its own or shelves might suddenly seem uneven and lopsided.

Related Questions

What does roofing repair cost?

Most roofing contractors charge by the square footage and will adjust those charges according to materials needing repairs. Low end costs might run about $150 while major roofing repair costs upwards of $1500 or more.

When should you choose a new roof versus roof repairs?

While a new roof might be costlier than roof repair, note that an entirely new roof is likely to last longer and might also offer added insulation and enhanced curb appeal. A new roof might also make a home more salable, if you’re considering put it on the real estate market anytime in the near future.

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