How to make it safe to walk on your roof is a question I get asked quite frequently. As a licensed home inspector in the Palm Beach County, Florida area for the past 18 years I am often asked, “What are the best methods for protecting yourself when walking on your roof?” This is an excellent question and one that deserves some thoughtful answers. After all, there are many different types of roofing systems and materials out there. Each one has its own weak spots and areas that you need to pay close attention too.
There are several different ways to prevent injuries and even death occurring from falling when walking on your roof. It is vital that you identify these weak spots and take necessary steps to strengthen them. However, no matter how safe your roof system is now there is always room for improvement. In fact, I’d recommend having a professional to give your roof a thorough inspection at least once a year to look for weak spots and other problems.
The first thing you should do when evaluating your roof and finding areas of concern is to look at roof anchor points. A roof anchor is simply a spot on your roof where the rafters meet the roof. These strong points are weak spots in the roof system and have the potential of buckling and falling if not anchored properly. Many times these weak spots can be identified by checking the condition of the roofing shingles.
When considering how to make it safe to walk on your roof, another area worth examining is underlayment. Over time certain areas of the underlayment will wear out or tear. This will expose your shingles to any sort of moisture that may seep up through the cracks in the roof. Over time this can lead to mold or mildew growth underneath your shingles and ceiling, something that you don’t want to be experiencing while walking around in your home.
Some people will feel that they don’t need to worry about how to make it safe to walk on your roof until they have large holes in their roof or a whole roofing shingle falling off. However, this isn’t a sign of weakness in your roofing. While large repairs may be necessary, such as with massive water damage or massive windstorm, you should also work to strengthen the roof to make it more difficult for leaks and other roofing problems to occur in the first place. A solid roof overhang can be quite dangerous if you aren’t careful. I would also suggest considering roof guardrails to avoid anyone getting too close to the edge.
So, how to make it safe to walk on your roof begins with making sure the roof is properly secured in all areas. If the roof is not properly secured, you run the risk of having the weight of your body to pull on it and cause a weak point to be created. When this happens, leaks are often the result.
When learning how to make it safe to walk on your roof, you need to pay close attention to any nails or shingles that are being used to hold down your roof. These types of materials can be incredibly strong, but they can also be weak and brittle. They can easily break under the weight of your body, so only use them where they make sense. When you are doing roofing repairs, it is important to also use the right kind of nails and shingles. You don’t want to be damaging your roof by using nails and shingles that are too big, or ones that are too weak.
In learning how to make it safe to walk on your roof, you must also pay special attention to where you are walking and what sort of materials you are wearing. Many people think that just because they are walking from one point to another that their clothing won’t be affected. However, if you happen to be wearing street clothes, such as a skirt, then you may find that these items are more susceptible to getting ruined. In learning how to make it safe to walk on your roof, you should also keep in mind that it pays to make sure that you wear the proper footwear. When you have damage on your feet, you may find that you walk slower and you could end up putting a lot of pressure on your toes.
For more information, consult a height safety specialist.