Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor?
Professional Contractor and TV Host Mike Holmes Discusses Your Options
When homeowners ask professional contractor and TV host Mike Holmes about DYI roof replacements or repairs, he usually has one answer: Do not do it yourself!
As one of North America’s leading contractors, Holmes helps homeowners tackle renovation, remodeling and repair projects. Whether he’s working as a television host, public speaker, or industry expert, he is dedicated to educating homeowners about building standards and construction principles for sustainable and safe development.
But when he talks to homeowners who are considering repairing or replacing their roofs without the services of a reputable roofer, the conversation halts.
“I would never recommend a homeowner get on their roof, much less try to install or repair it,” Holmes says. “It is too dangerous and can lead to a serious injury. Your home’s roofing system is only as good as the installation and the materials used. That’s why it’s important to use good quality products and professional contractors.”
Warning: Do Not Try This at Home
Holmes learned early on about the importance of professionalism and doing a job correctly. As a youngster helping his father tear down a ceiling, Holmes accidentally placed his dad’s ladder on an open floor vent that had been covered by trash. Luckily, no one was hurt.
“I learned my lesson after that,” he says. “But it goes to show that a messy job site can be covering up potential hazards for you. A professional will make sure they perform the tasks safely.”
Roofing is best left to the professionals for several reasons:
1. Roofing is dangerous.
Whether the sun is shining or it’s raining, roofing remains one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. In addition to slipping and falling, contractors run the risk of electrocution from exposed power lines or burns from working on hot surfaces. Experienced roofers have the skill and know-how to traverse a rooftop without becoming dizzy and light-headed from vertigo.
Professional roofers also have up-to-date safety equipment and training.
“There’s a reason my crew gets a refresher on working at heights every so often,” Holmes says. “It’s so important to keep these skills at the front of our minds so we don’t get hurt on the job site. If you don’t know what you’re doing on your roof, you could slip and fall.
2. Local building codes, rules and regulations must be followed precisely.
Most state and local governments require building permits and inspections for new roof installations to verify the work completed meets safety requirements.
Roofing contractors understand local rules and regulations and might have professional relationships with government leaders, making the process of pulling permits more efficient.
3. A DIY roofing job may void the manufacturer’s warranty and homeowner’s insurance.
While the leading shingle manufacturers provide generous warranties on their products, improper installation can void the contracts. Reputable roofers may train with shingle manufacturers to understand best practices while using specific products.
Also, some homeowner’s insurance policies will not cover DIY roofing jobs because insurance companies recognize that roofing is best left up to professionals.
“Some shingle manufacturers even offer a lifetime warranty on their best products,” Holmes says. “To me, it doesn’t make sense to spend so much on roofing materials only to screw up the installation.”
More Benefits, Less Stress
Holmes adds that hiring a professional roofer has other advantages too, including:
- Peace of mind—
Reputable roofing contractors are committed to keeping customers satisfied. They install high-quality shingles using manufacturer-approved installation techniques, so homeowners can rest assured the job is done to the highest standards.
- Building envelope protection—
As one of the building envelope components, a roof helps create a thermal barrier between the inside and outside environments. The roof, along with the walls, foundation, windows and doors, also helps repel the outdoor elements, giving a home structural integrity.
“Don’t make the mistake of relying on your DIY skills to preserve and strengthen your building envelope,” Holmes says. “You may threaten the durability of your property.”
- Quality assurances—
Roofers who hold the necessary local and state licensure show they are serious about their work and the requirements to perform their jobs properly.
At the end of the day, homeowners should consider what they expect from their roof now and a decade from now.
“There are some projects in the home you could DIY — the roof is NOT one of them,” Holmes says.
Mike Holmes’ Pro Tips for Roofing Done Right
Rather than DIYing a roof, homeowners can do other things to ensure the job, whether it’s an install or repair, meets all expectations:
- Before the work starts, tell the contractor about signs of roof aging and deterioration, including missing or curling shingles, bare spots and asphalt shingle granules in the gutters.
- Interview multiple roofing contractors and get several estimates before starting the work.
- Research the products and techniques the roofers will use to ensure they are on par with industry standards.
- Verify the roofer is licensed with valid worker’s compensation and general liability insurance.
“It’s your home, and the roof is an important part of protecting it right,” Holmes says. “You want the job done right, the first time!”
Is your roof in need of repair or replacement? Use Atlas Roofing’s Find a Contractor tool to find an AtlasPRO+™ roofing contractor in your area.