DIY Roof Replacement — Is It Right for You?

By Karen L Edwards 09-28-2022
Tag Icon

Do-it-yourself home improvements continue to gain popularity, with more homeowners choosing to do the work themselves as the proliferation of how-to videos on YouTube makes it easier than ever. But not every project should be DIY — especially when it comes to your roof. If you are thinking about a DIY roof replacement, here is what you need to know.

Personal Safety

Even just walking on a roof presents challenges and dangers, especially if yours has a steep slope! Professional contractors have the right shoes and equipment, along with the experience, to make walking on a roof as safe as possible.

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that falls from height are the leading cause of death in construction. Anyone working six feet or more above a lower level (so even on the ground floor or the lower story), is required to wear protective equipment that includes a personal fall-arrest system consisting of a harness and safety lines that are tied-off at an anchor point. Most homeowners are not likely to have the equipment or experience necessary to safely carry out a DIY roof replacement.

Disposing of Old Roof Material

Tearing-off your old roofing system is hard work. It's typically not possible to have a waste-disposal container on the roof with you and most people will toss the materials over the edge of the roof. That risks damage to your siding or landscaping. Professional roofing contractors will use disposal systems placed at the roof edge, either with a lift or using special trash chutes. They may also drape a catchment system around the edges of the roof, which allows materials to slide off without damaging flower beds or shrubbery.

Any torn-off material needs to be disposed of properly. You can't just place it curbside and expect your trash hauler to take it: also, roofing contractors have resources and relationships in place for safe, effective disposal.

Complexities of a Roofing System

An asphalt shingle roofing system involves more than just nailing shingles to the roof deck. It's a complete system involving underlayment, leak barriers, proper ventilation, shingles, flashing, and the right accessories.

All the pieces must work together to provide proper waterproofing protection for the home. If any one of these things isn't done correctly, it can lead to water intrusion and property damage. And since damage caused by roof leaks is a leading cause of insurance claims, it's important to make sure your roof is expertly installed by a reputable (i.e., manufacturer-certified and properly trained) contractor. Some insurance claims can be denied by insurers on the basis of improper installation.

Specialized Equipment

A DIY roof replacement requires more than a hammer and nails. Hand-nailing shingles is very time-consuming and can make a project drag out over several days. Professional roofing contractors rely on pneumatic coil roofing nail guns as well as compressors and hoses that can support fast, continuous nailing.

Speed is nice when driving nails, but the placement of those nails is also key to the performance of the roofing system. Asphalt shingles have specific nailing zones known as the common bond area where the nails must be placed. Nailing outside the zone or over- or under-driving the nails can jeopardize the integrity and performance of the roof.

Cost vs. Savings

While it's true that a DIY roof replacement would cost less than hiring a professional contractor in the short term, it's the long-term costs you have to think about. If anything is done improperly during the installation, your home and belongings will be at risk of water intrusion and severe damage.

It's also likely you won't be eligible for enhanced warranty protection if your installation isn't carried out by a certified contractor. Most professionals offer workmanship warranties along with the manufacturer's warranty. That way, if you experience problems after the installation, your coverage will tend to be much more extensive.

If you've decided hiring a professional contractor is the way to go, you can refer to this guide to find step-by-step details of what to expect from a properly executed roofing project. Then visit GAF's contractor locator to find a trusted and certified contractor* near you.

*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
Hurricane Ian was the deadliest to strike Florida since the famously catastrophic 1935 Labor Day hurricane. With wind speeds that reached 150 mph, the 2022 hurricane left a trail of profound devastation—and the people caught in that trail are now fighting to rebound and rebuild. Leveraging the combined expertise and resources of GAF and Standard Logistics to assist affected locals, GAF is proud to be part of the efforts to provide relief to those who need it most.
As the winter season approaches, decorating your home with lights is a classic way to show your holiday spirit. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about this (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, anyone?)—and, depending on your roof, the correct ones may not always be easy to accomplish on your own. To help, here are five tips to simplify your annual holiday light installation so you can make your home merry and bright without damaging the roof — or yourself!
Architects strive to achieve a roof design that strikes a delicate balance between aesthetics and performance. Achieving high-performance means incorporating the code, warranty, and guarantee requirements that building owners must meet — among the most important factors of any construction project — into design vision. This isn't made any easier by the sheer number of roofing systems available. Even experienced architects can find it challenging to get familiar with all available components and positively identify which materials are going to deliver the ultimate protection for the building.
As Erasmo "Mitos" Fuentes — GAF CARE Team Training Lead and highly respected "Maestro" of the roofing world — will warn rookies, errors during installation can have consequences later on in the life of the roofing system. Many are minor, like small leaks. Others, though, can be much more serious, such as major (and potentially catastrophic) cracks.
A harsh storm can cause all kinds of damage to your home, especially its roof. While some roof problems are obviously visible, others aren't as simple to spot. Whether you can see them or not, fixing any issues that pop up in the aftermath of a storm helps keep your home safe from further harm. With strong storms come sharp winds, hail, and heavy rain that can damage shingles, gutters, flashing, and other areas.
About 82% of homes in the United States have outdoor living areas—many with low-slope roofs. That's nearly 6 million homes that could feature a self-adhered roofing system. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities that these porches, sheds, garages, and carports represent?
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.