do it yourself imageIf you’ve ever lived in an older home, you’ve had firsthand experience with the do-it-yourself project gone wrong. Maybe you see evidence of it yourself, or perhaps a contractor you hired has pointed out the hidden disaster.

There are definitely some tasks that homeowners can, and perhaps should, learn to do for themselves, because they are simple, because even if you make a mistake you aren’t going to impact the value or integrity of your home, or just because sometimes getting dirty and doing something yourself is fun.

When the project you’re looking at is key to the integrity of your home however, when there are risks to yourself, or when even the do-it-yourself channels and websites recommend a professional or someone with experience, you want to think twice before you try to do-it-yourself. Your home’s roof is a prime example.


Because safety should always come first, let’s start with that. If you’ve never seen a flat roof on a residence that’s because they don’t exist, at least not around here where in some years the amounts of snowfall we receive would collapse even the best built roof. No, roofs here are inclined, and in some cases significantly. That makes safety a key concern for anyone who thinks they can just hop up on that roof to do it themselves. Besides what you can see, you have to consider what you can’t see or can’t predict and know how to plan to prevent accidents. Unless you are equipped with safety gear for working at heights, and know how to properly use it, perhaps rooftop work is best left to the professionals.

Your roof is key

While clearly your four walls are important in keeping out wind and weather, your roof has the added job of dealing with the majority of the precipitation load that your home shelters you from. Water or moisture damage can rot or soften wood, impacting the structural integrity. Moisture can also lead to mould in places you can’t see that can lead to health problems you can. That out of sight, out of mind factor is the real problem.

Other home issues you may see because they’re in the spaces you occupy daily. Problems with your roof often don’t reveal themselves until it is too late. That means anticipating and preventing future problems by hiring someone who knows what they’re looking for and who can identify concerns before they show themselves.

Nothing lasts forever

As much as it would be great to buy a home and just live in it as long as you want, without worrying about maintenance, that isn’t reality because nothing lasts forever. And, while your home’s brick could last hundreds of years and its siding 50, a roof may only be good for 15 to 20. That means you can be pretty sure that at one time or another, it’s going to need attention.

Just as your mechanic can advise you on what needs to be done now and what may need to be done down the road, a professional roofing contractor can offer the same advice to help you deal with what needs to happen now and they can help you plan for future maintenance that will keep your home safe and protected.

Just as not everyone is equipped to repair and maintain a car, not everyone is prepared to repair and maintain a home. Knowing when to get professional help can save both you and your home.

This story was written by writer Heather Kirk for the GOHBA Renovators Council.

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