From time to time, we meet with a homeowner about a roof repair or smaller project, and they mention they are deciding between hiring a professional and doing the work themselves. While there are many things homeowners can and should do themselves, I believe roofing and gutters are not the place for DIY.

Ask the Expert: “Why Can’t I Do This Roof Repair Myself?”

Climbing Ladders Is a Serious Safety Risk

Let me explain – one of the most dangerous things anyone can do is climb a ladder. Did you know that falls remain a leading cause of injury mortality nationwide? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of fatal falls involve a ladder. National statistics show more people are injured in falls from ladders than from roofs. This is dangerous work, and the consequences of falling off a ladder can mean injury, disability, loss of livelihood and even death.

Whether homeowners are considering cleaning their gutters, or fixing a few missing shingles, any DIY project that involves a ladder requires a high level of training and safety – something many homeowners overlook, or don’t consider.

For example:

  • Any ladder used to reach the roof or gutter should be tied off at the top to prevent sliding.  Ideally, to a purpose-built safety bracket.
  • Anyone climbing the ladder should wear a quality fall-protection system.
  • The ladder feet should be on a solid, stable surface.

There are specific techniques for safely climbing ladders and roofing professionals receive this training.

Professionals Have Safety Equipment & Training

So it’s not that I am against DIY, it’s that I am in favor of safety. Our crews go through rigorous training and we have specific processes and procedures in place to maximize safety and minimize injuries. We also use specialized equipment that is tested regularly, and is far more than what the average homeowner has available.

If you need a small repair, please don’t think that the safety needs are less just because the project is minor. I see the stats, and it’s why I’ll tell homeowners, “Yes, you can do the roof repair yourself, but please make sure you have professional-quality safety equipment and training.”