DIY Roofing or Employ a Contractor? How to decide which is best for you

Roofing used to be a very skilled trade, with hot materials and specialist equipment required to install even the simplest of coverings.

But modern technology has changed much of that and particularly if you opt for one of the newest types of roof, such as a single ply membrane, there’s a much greater possibility of being able to install in on a DIY basis.

But is installing a roof yourself a good idea or should you really be calling in the experts? Here’s a guide to the factors you should consider when deciding whether to employ a contractor or do it on a DIY basis.

Be honest with yourself

The equipment to install a DIY roof can look deceptively simple and in many cases, it can be surprisingly easy to fit a single ply membrane roof.

However, although you no longer need to mess around with hot tar or naked flames, you do need to be realistic about the prospect.

Even if you install the roof yourself, the materials are still a significant investment so you need to think carefully about whether you are likely to be able to complete the task successfully.

For example, if you struggle to get to the top of a ladder without feeling wobbly, working on a roof isn’t likely to work out well. You will need the confidence to move around with ease and work quickly at times so feeling persistently terrified means you might be better off paying the extra money and calling a professional.

Likewise, if you have never attempted any DIY before, or have only had disastrous attempts at simple tasks, it might be a more financially shrewd move to protect your outlay and use an expert.

Type of roof

The type of roof you have and also the size will play a large part in determining the suitability for a DIY installation.

A pitched roof is a complex piece of workmanship and requires technical skills plus a real head for heights. Many people could cope with working on a flat roof, but being at an angle is significantly harder.

If you have a flat roof, there’s a much better chance that you could attempt a DIY installation. Whether it’s an extension, a shed or even a garage, a flat roof takes far less experience and technical ability, making it a real possibility for a DIY enthusiast.

Materials chosen

Roofing comes in many different forms and today there are more choices than ever before about what materials to pick.

Composite shingles or tiling remains one of the cheapest and most popular options but are much more difficult to get right if you aren’t professionally trained. If you get the roofing wrong, you will potentially up with a damp house and even rotting structures and beams so it’s not something you should consider taking a chance on.

If you pick a more straightforward type of roofing material, such as a single ply membrane, you will find the process far easier. You can also purchase DIY kits where the retailer will calculate how much of all the materials you will need to save you wasting money – or running out of what you need. With these kinds of packages you can also rent the tools – such as industrial heat guns – so it works out even cheaper.

Season

Installing a roof is far easier in the summer months and if you are a DIY-er, this is probably the best time for you to have a go.

Installing a roof in icy or wet weather can be dangerous and it’s much easier to slip or fall.

Speed can be an issue too; if you aren’t experienced in replacing a roof, the chances are that you will take far longer which could leave your roof exposed to the elements.

Finally, the installation of a roof in cold weather can be technically trickier too. Many materials require a certain temperature in order to cure; bond or seal and achieving this when it’s cold and icy can be a challenge. If you don’t get the adhesives or materials properly sealed before it rains, you could end up with water trapped in your roof space and a covering which is permanently leaky.

Conclusion

DIY packs make installing the roof yourself a very viable possibility but it’s not for everyone. Consider all the factors, including your own degree of comfort and confidence, and if you doubt your abilities, you may find it’s a wiser investment to pay for a contractor.

Image credits: Focx Photography and Fr Antunes