DIY Fixing your Roof – Read this First!
Roof work is a very high risk activity because it involves working at height, sometimes with fragile materials such as roof lights and asbestos cement roofing sheets. While many enthusiastic DIYers will decide to carry out roof work on their home themselves, there are several safety issues to take into consideration before you begin. When it comes to working at height on a roof, even the very best safety equipment is no real substitute for good judgement and common sense. Use the following tips to carry out work on the roof of your home safely.
- If the roof is steep or the work that needs doing is very high up, then it’s really best to leave it to the professionals. They have the knowledge, experience and expertise necessary to carry out the work quickly and safely. They also have the necessary access equipment (safety ladders, scaffolding, etc.) and safety equipment to minimise the risk of an accident or injury. The money you save by doing it yourself is just not worth the risk of death or a life-changing disability should you fall while carrying out the work.
- If the work is suitable for DIY, then make sure that you pay attention to weather conditions. Choose a calm, clear day with no rain. Wet roofs are slippery and present an extra risk when it comes to falling. Wind can also pose a danger and wind speeds at roof height are often stronger than the wind speed at ground level. If the weather is very hot, this will have an effect on the roof tiles, making them more vulnerable to damage.
- Wear shoes with a soft rubber sole to ensure good traction and make sure that the soles of your shoes or boots are free from mud, dirt and grease before you being.
- Mark off the ground beneath your work area (with rope or tape) to alert people to the fact that you’re working on the roof. However careful you are, there is still a risk that a tool or some materials may drop from the roof. If you do intend to throw something down, always look and call out before doing so to avoid injury to anybody standing or walking below you.
- Make sure you choose the correct ladder for the job and that you carry out a safety inspection to ensure it’s still fit for purpose before using it.
- If possible, set the ladder on firm and level ground and secure it properly with wire or rope tied to stakes. Secure the top of the ladder to a secure anchoring point to keep it from sliding sideways when you step onto the roof.
- Try to avoid carrying tools and equipment up the ladder where possible – get somebody to help you and use a bucket tied to a rope to hoist up your tools and materials.
- The top of the ladder should extend 3ft above the roof edge to provide you with something to hold on to as you step onto the roof and make sure you keep both hands on the ladder as you step onto the roof. Never step onto the rungs that are above roof level.