There are many benefits to living in a compact, but fully equipped home. Your life is made fewer complex chores and home improvements are made more quickly and easily, and expenses are certainly less than with a larger home. And yet, for many, a small house meets all their needs.
One potential benefit of small house living is that it’s more practical to tackle construction projects yourself, including installing a new roof or repairing an existing one.
But remember that the fatality rate and injury rate for roof workers is much higher than with other contractor jobs – and the same thing translates into the realm of non-professionals roofing their own little homes.
Here are five key safety tips to use if/when you tackle your roof job:
1. Invest in Top-tier Safety Equipment
Just because it’s a small roof doesn’t mean you can skimp on safety. In fact, a small roof has fewer spots not close to the roof’s edge, which is where 90% of falls off of roofs originate. Investing in top-brand, top-quality safety products for roofing (the kind professional roofers use) is a smart move.
2. Plan Ahead, But Be Flexible
Roofing is a very weather dependant undertaking, to say the least. You would do best to tackle a roofing job in the warmer months of the year and not in the rainy season either.
There’s a lot to get together as far as equipment and materials, so you need to plan ahead. But watch the forecasts and be ready to change plans, if necessary. Never go up to work on a wet, snowy, or ice-laden roof. And never work during high winds. Always put safety first.
3. Use Proper Ladder Safety
Besides using a harness and a lifeline and carefully watching your step on the rooftop, ladder safety is the other huge concern in roofing.
Be sure you plant your ladder level on the ground. If necessary, use a piece of plywood or another sturdy object to level it out. And lay the ladder against the eave at the proper angle: if you can touch the rungs with your fingertips while your toes are against the front of the ladder (standing up straight), that’s the correct ladder-angle.
Also: always hold onto the sides of the ladder while ascending and descending it, and use nails or roof anchors to hold the top of the ladder to the eave.
4. Never Roof When Home Alone
Even for a short roofing job on a small home’s roof, you never want to do roofing alone. It’s best if you have a helper, but at least have someone else at home who knows you are roofing. If all else fails, let a neighbor know when you are going up on the roof and ask him/her to keep an eye on you.
A fall or other roof accident is bad enough, but if it happens when no one else is around to help, it’s much worse.
5. Use High-quality Roof Boots
Last, but certainly not least, we mention to outfit your feet with high-quality, sturdy work boots. They need to be comfortable to wear, but above all must have high-traction rubber soles that produce plenty of friction, so you’ll keep a good grip on the roof.