Have you ever been tempted to go out onto your roof and enjoy the elevated and unique view it can offer you? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer to that question is probably yes. However, you’ve also probably heard that doing so isn’t advisable because it can damage your roof. Is that really the case or is that a rumor? After all, your roof is designed to withstand high winds, snow, rain, and the worst elements Mother Nature can throw at it, so surely a few footsteps shouldn’t be anything to it... right? In this blog, we’ll look at whether not this is the case.
Is it OK to Walk On Your Roof?
While that largely depends on your definition of “OK,” walking on roof shingles of various types can in fact damage them. In addition to the risk of damaging your roof tiles, broken shingles can also create a fall hazard for you and create a risk of injury.
The safety of walking on your roof also depends on what type of tile your roof is composed of:
Asphalt shingles are the most common roof material in the country: they’re light-weight, easy to produce, inexpensive, and effective at protecting your home from damage due to the elements. However, while they may seem durable when they’re new, these tiles will naturally become more damaged over time by their exposure to the elements. That means after a few years, your tiles may become rigid, brittle, and prone to cracking or breaking. Foot traffic accelerates this problem, and many older tiles will crack and break when stepped on, especially if they’re several years old.
Even then, with newer roof tiles, you can still damage your roof shingles by walking on them. Even if you don’t cause any cracks, the pressure and added weight you place on your roof could cause the underlayment and foundation wood to creak, crack, and develop weaknesses. While there may not be any visible damage from walking on your roof, you may develop a leak that can lead to extensive damage to your home during the next rain storm. When you consider how much repairs for roof damage can cost, is it really worth it to walk on your roof?
Clay & Wood Tiles
Clay tiles are even worse for foot traffic. While these tiles are made in high-heat ovens from materials formulated to help them withstand decades of sunlight exposure and exposure to the elements, they are extremely brittle and break with even a moderate amount of sharp, sudden impact. A broken tile leaves an exposed spot underneath that will need to be repaired by a skilled Colorado Springs roofing company before the next rainfall or else your home could sustain major damage.
Wood tiles or shingles are also a popular roofing material due to its beautiful, natural look. However, these tiles are essentially the same: while they’re durable against sunlight for a number of years, walking on them at all can place them at serious risk for cracking and developing leaks that can damage the rest of your home. The answer is even more straightforward here: do not walk on your roof if it is composed of clay or wood tiles.
How to Walk On Your Roof Without Damaging the Shingles
In order to walk on a roof without damaging the shingles, you should first inspect it for any wet spots or ice. After checking the conditions, you should proceed and take your time and use small, controlled steps. Be sure you're wearing well-fitting, rubber-soled shoes with good traction.
While this is the safest way to walk on a roof without damaging the shingles, many people don’t recognize that there’s also a huge injury risk by venturing out onto your roof tiles and shingles. Roof slopes are particularly steep to promote water and debris rolling off your roof and moving away from your home, and that same steep slope can make it extremely difficult to walk on.
Thousands of people every year sustain serious injuries from falling off their roofs due to the steep slope, which is why walking on your roof should always be left to a trained, professional roofer who can utilize the proper safety equipment to avoid injury.
If it is absolutely necessary to walk on your roof, here are some tips to avoid damaging the shingles:
- Inspect your roof before you ever set foot on it. If it's wet or icy, you should under no circumstances step onto the roof.
- Pay attention to the surface you're walking on. If there are any loose shingles or areas of damp and slippery leaves, avoid stepping on them.
- Take your time and be sure you are wearing
- If you see any areas of damage, don't try to fix them yourself. Immediately call a roofer to assess and repair the damage before it has a chance to get worse.
- If the reason for getting onto your roof is because you want to pressure wash it.... don't. Pressure washing is a surefire way to force water underneath your shingles and/or potentially tear them off.
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