Learn Roofing Safety

Learn Roofing Safety

Preparing/Protecting The Job Area 


Some general suggestions for preparing the job area:

  • Make sure you have a clean and organized work area
  • Block the work area off from children and pets
  • Identify and avoid all site danger areas such as dangerous power lines, unsafe roof access areas, and underground hazards (such as cesspools and power lines)
  • Remove wall hangings as well as any loose items from walls and shelves
  • Use tarps to avoid damaging plants and shrubs – Create a debris removal plan
  • Park all vehicles away from the driveway and a safe distance from the construction area
  • Cover items in your attic and garage to protect from tear off dust and debris
  • Disable any sprinkler systems
  • Cover any pools and hot tubs, and remove any other sensitive items around the house that might be damaged by falling roofing  

Tearing Off The Roof And Preparing The Roof Deck

Nothing is more important in roofing than preparing the surface under the shingles. With a roof tear-off, when the old materials are removed, you’ll have a clean deck that allows you to see any potential problems that need to be fixed. 

This could range from rotten wood to cracked boards to an unsound deck that won’t hold nails as well.

For the proper methods for tearing off a roof and preparing the roof deck, see our How-To-Video. 

Installing Roof Deck Protection

The proper installation of high-quality roof deck protection like Deck-Armor™ Premium Breathable Roof Deck Protection, Shingle-Mate®Roof Deck Protection, or Tiger Paw™ Roof Deck Protection is the foundation on which a good roof system is built.

For installing premium deck protection, see our How-to Video.

View application instructions for roof deck protection products. 

Installing Leak Barrier

Protect your investment and safeguard vulnerable areas of your roof with proven leak barriers from GAF.

View application instructions for our StormGuard® & WeatherWatch®  leak barrier products.

Starter Strip Shingles

One of the most common sources of failure in a roof system is the improper installation of starter shingles. This starter course is very important – especially for wind resistance. Starter strip shingles are the first line of defense against wind uplift along the edges of a roof. GAF offers pre-cut WeatherBlocker™ Premium Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles and Pro-Start® Starter Strip Shingles.

For the proper installation technique for starter strip shingles, see our How-To Video.

Proper Shingle Nailing 

Nailing errors, such as under-driven or angled nails, can cause future problems with your shingles—everything from premature failure to blow-offs. Nail type, location, length, angle, and impact force used to drive the nail are all critical to consider when installing shingles. It’s important to take your time when nailing down your shingles to ensure the job is done correctly.

For the proper shingle nailing technique, see our How-To Video.

Installing Shingles

Your best option is to install Timberline®Shingles with Advanced Protection® Shingle Technology. They are the #1-selling shingles in North America. Timberline®Shingles will not only protect your most valuable asset—they’ll beautify your home for years to come.

Maximizing your property’s visual appeal with Lifetime Designer Shingles from GAF can be exciting and fun—and a smart investment. Check out the wide variety of Designer Shingle options there are from GAF.

For the proper installation technique for Timberline® Shingles, see our How-To Video.

View the application instructions for our Timberline® Shingles.

How To Install Valleys

Valleys are one of the areas of roofing that takes careful planning and time to install correctly. Valleys are a prime leak area, so it’s important to be precise during installation. Make sure to utilize a leak barrier in the valley.

For installing valleys, see our How-to Video.

Installing Flashing 

Wherever surfaces intersect on a roof, there is a chance of water seepage. Flashing is required for waterproofing these critical areas of your roof. At walls, step flashing is a proven way to protect your property.

For installing flashing and details, see our How-to Video.

Installing Ridge Vents

Proper ventilation is critical for helping to reduce hot and moist air in your attic space that can damage your possessions, result in mold growth, increase your energy costs, and potentially reduce the longevity of your roofing system. The Federal Housing Authority in the U.S., the Engineered Wood Association, many national building codes, and all major roofing manufacturers have requirements for the installation of attic ventilation. GAF offers one of the industry’s most comprehensive line of ridge vents.

 Installing ridge vents requires working on some of the highest parts of your roof—the ridges. As always when working on a roof, utilize proper safety equipment to prevent falls or injury when installing ridge vents on your roof. See our Safety section for more details.

Deciding on the proper vent and the amount of ventilation needed is critical. Consult your local building code for balanced attic ventilation requirements in your area. Once you decide on the type of vent that is needed and how much to install, always ensure you install the vent as per written application instructions. Be careful not to cut any attic rafters or wires, and always ensure to properly fasten the vent to prevent blow-off or weather infiltration.

For installing ridge vents, see our How-to Video.

View application instructions for Cobra® Plastic Ridge vents.

Installing Ridge Cap Shingles

Hip or ridge cap shingles are not only a great finishing touch to your roof, they’re also a critical piece of your roof system that helps to protect some of the highest stress and vulnerable areas on your roof. GAF offers premium ridge cap shingles designed to match your GAF shingles.

Installing hip or ridge shingles requires working on some of the highest parts of your roof—the hips and ridges. As always when working on a roof, utilize proper safety equipment to prevent falls or injury when installing hip or ridge shingles on your roof.

View application instructions for Ridglass® & Timbertex® ridge cap shingles. 

Installing Other Ventilation Options 

GAF offers an extended line of professional-grade Master Flow® ventilation products, from whole house fans to roof louvers to turbines.

View application instructions for Master Flow® Power Vent & Roof Louver ventilation products.

Roofing Is Tough

Roofing Is Tough

Don’t think you’re up to it? Your best option is to find a factory-certified GAF Master Elite® Contractor near you to do the job.

Find A Contractor

Cleaning Up The Job Site

Professional roofing contractors have developed specialized techniques and equipment for keeping the job site clean. Tackling the job on your own, you can adopt some of these practices as well. Some quick tips are:

  • Shelter and protect bushes and plants that might be affected by material dropping from the roof
  • Use a tarp to catch as much material as possible
  • Run a magnet over the "drop zone" to collect any nails that might have escaped
  • Also see our section on Recycling and Waste Disposal  

How Long Will It Take?

Realistically, do-it-yourself roofing can take a lot of time and effort. Just how long depends on various factors including your level of experience, the size of your roof, the slope of your roof, whether or not you need to do a complete tear-off of the existing roof, how much preparation your roof deck needs, and how many people are assisting you. Since it’s important not to leave your roof unprotected for any length of time, you must allow at least several uninterrupted days in a row to work on the project. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.

Keep in mind that a professional roofing contractor with a crew will finish the job more quickly and efficiently. So while you can do all this yourself, your best option is always to find a GAF factory-certified Master Elite® Contractor near you. 

How Much Could I Save If I Do It Myself?

Many factors go into a professional cost estimate for a roofing job—everything from tearing off the existing roof, installing new shingles, and structural repair to disposal of old materials, clean up, and rental of equipment. Other factors include the size of your roof, how steep the slope is, and the amount of roofing materials you need. It is possible that by installing a roof on your own, you might save a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars.

However, you should carefully consider if this savings is worth the risk. Roofing is a dangerous business. If either you or someone else gets hurt, you may need to hire someone to complete the job anyway. Is it worth that extra cost—and your personal safety? What if a mistake is made when installing roofing materials, or the inside of your house gets wet from a leak? You will incur added costs to fix those problems as well.

Ultimately, your best option is to choose a professional roofing contractor who can do the job efficiently and safely. GAF factory-certified Master Elite® Contractors are state licensed, adequately insured, have a proven reputation, and are committed to ongoing training to ensure high-quality installation.

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