Important tips for safely working on your roof

A roof is a dangerous place to work. It's usually steep, often slippery and sometimes unstable. One mistake could mean a fall of several metres (15 to 20 feet or more) and a trip to the emergency room. For safety's sake, use a roofer's kit and follow these important tips.

Important tips for safely working on your roof

Watch the weather

  • Do not work in wet or windy conditions.
  • Avoid going on the roof early in the morning when the surface may be covered with dew or even a thin layer of ice.
  • Also avoid very hot conditions when you'll be at risk of sunburn, sunstroke or dehydration.
  • The ideal time to work on the roof is on a sunny afternoon in winter.

Work with a friend

  • Always have a helper on the ground.
  • The helper should remain within hailing distance at all times in case there is an accident or emergency.
  • If you're in a public place (for example, if your ladder is set up on a footpath), the helper can also keep passers-by at a safe distance.

Line up your ladder

  • Make sure your extension ladder is set firmly on the ground and angled at a slope of about one in four.
  • For example, if your ladder rises 4 metres (13 feet) to the guttering, the base of the ladder should sit roughly 1 metre (3 feet) out from the wall.
  • Extend your ladder so that it reaches at least 1 metre (3 feet) above the eaves.

Get a good footing

  • Wear shoes that have soft, rubber soles when you're working on the roof (running shoes are a perfect choice).
  • Give the roof a quick sweep before you start work to ensure that the area is clear of leaves and debris that could be a slipping hazard.

Tread lightly on tiles

  • Concrete and terracotta tiles can become brittle with age, so be careful where you step.
  • As you walk across your roof, always try to place your feet near the front edge of each tile.
  • The front edge is where the tiles overlap, directly above the batten, so it's the best place to put your weight.

Don't tempt fate

  • Some roofing jobs are simply beyond the skills of the do-it-yourselfer.
  • If your roof has a pitch of more than 30 degrees, call in the professionals.
  • If your roof is permanently in the shade (and therefore likely to be covered in slippery moss), call in the professionals.
  • If the idea of working at the height of your roof makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, call in the professionals.

Follow these important tips and use your roofer's harness kit to work safely on your roof.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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