How To Roof a House by Yourself (DIY)?

Roofing a house could sound complicated and impossible. Still, if you have the equipment and materials and follow the instruction precisely, it is possible to do it yourself – save a ton of money!

Equipment You Need:

  • Caulk gun
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Extension ladder
  • Roof harness
  • Roofing nailer
  • Scaffolding
  • Stapler
  • Straightedge
  • Tin snips
  • Utility knife
  • Work gloves

Materials You Need:

  • #15 or #30 Felt underlayment
  • Valley flashing
  • Vent flashing
  • Step and dormer flashing
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Drip edge
  • Roofing nails
  • Sealant
  • Hook blades
  • Self-adhesive waterproof
  • Underlayment (“ice and water shield”)
  • Staples

Few Things to Know Before You Start

First things first, roofing requires a lot of physical activities like lifting, climbing, drilling, and most importantly, you have to be comfortable in heights. Before you start buying equipment and materials, go see if you are comfortable being on top of the roof. See if you are comfortable walking around the roof and if so, try if you can carry heavy objects while being on top. If you are comfortable, let’s get to work now.

Step-by-step Instruction

1. Remove old shingles and apply waterproof underlayment

Before you bring up the equipment and materials, you have to get rid of your old shingles. Safely tear off the old shingles and make your roof clean. You might need some extra help to bring the old shingles down from the roof. To prevent your house from heavy rain and snow leaking into your house, you have to apply self-adhesive waterproof underlayment, so called the “ice barrier.” You can purchase the ice barrier at roofing supply companies or home centers. The adheres to bare roof sheathing and seals around the nails. You have to apply 3 to 6 ft up from the eave depending on the climate region you live in.

2. Cover the rest of the roof with No.15 asphalt-saturated felt underlayment

After applying the waterproof underlayment, use a No.15 asphalt-saturated felt underlayment to cover the rest. Each layer overlaps the lower layer by at least 2inches. Nail drip edge along rakes, which is the sides of the roof, on top of the underlayment. To the outside of the drip edge, line up the lower edge of the roll, then peel back part of the uppermost backing on the roll. Nail the top corner of the underlayment to the decking then, start pulling the roll across the roof. Make sure to keep the underlayment as flat and straight as possible before you fasten it to the decking. The more hot and humid weather, the more adhesive on the rolls gets. It is a bit tricky if you are doing this in cold, dry winter.

3. Cover the roof with felt papers and staples

On top of all the underlayment, cover it with 15LB roofing felt papers. Begin with rolling out a short layer of paper, making sure it is secured with a dozen staples. This helps to roll out a long layer of the felt paper and go back and forth. There are overlap lines printed on the paper that could guide you to overlap evenly and straight. Drive a dozen staples grouped close together, unroll the felt and keep the felt paper straight, and repeat again. It’s important to have the staples no more than 12inches apart unless it could tear out under your feet and be dangerous. Once you reach the top of the roof, roll out your last row and drape the paper over the top ridge onto the other side. This creates a watertight ridge.

Roof House Yourself
Roof House Yourself

4. Waterproof your roof with metal flashings

Apply self-stick underlayment followed by the metal valley flashing. Begin with cutting the underlayment to size and peel of the plastic backer to apply on the roof. It is better to do it with two people by holding each end to place it flat without any bubbles inside. The self-stick underlayment will overlap with the felt paper because self-stick underlayment is only needed for the metal flashings. After installing felt paper and self-stick underlayment, cut the flashings back to the peak along each crease. Then fold the flashing back to the peak along each crease to cover the cut ends with self-stick underlayment.

5. Nail down the shingles

Improper nailing is one of the biggest reasons for leakage inside the house. You have to follow the manufacturer’s nailing instructions precisely for the best result. To create nice finish edges on the roof, run shingles over the edge, draw a line using chalk, and trim them off. You can use a hook blade to get a clean cut of the edge. Once you put the nail straight into the shingle, you might have to adjust the pressure setting to keep it tight and flush.

6. Work around the vents to keep them leakproof

Put a layer of underlayment around the vent pipes and caulk using a roof sealant before shingling. Before you install the vent flashing, make sure to run shingles halfway past the vents. Once you are done installing the underlayment, top it with a vent flashing and drive three nails along the top edge of the flashing and one each on the lower corners. Then, you seal the nail head and trim around the stack flashing using a utility knife and hook blades.

7. Ventilation then top the ridge

If you need more ventilation depending on your house’s size and weather, you can cut additional vent holes to create one. Use a circular saw and follow the same step from 6. Lastly, install the ridge cap to keep your roof safe from wild weather. The top ridge cap shingles will be overlapping the hip ridge cap.

8. Final touch-up

You are almost done. Make sure to sweep all bits off the roof for safety purposes. Seal all the sharp nails on the roof and around the vents using Lexel, a silicone-like model glue.

Always be cautious when working on the roof especially climbing up and down the ladder. Get some help from your colleagues and roofing experts if you are not sure what to do next. Always be careful and look around to check if there are any people around you.

Hope you find this article helpful and informative. 

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How To Roof a House by Yourself (DIY)?
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