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 or 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 lightweight, 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.
Does Walking on Your Roof Damage Shingles?
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 popular roofing materials due to their 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 A Roof Without Damaging the Shingles
Walking on a roof without damaging the shingles requires caution and proper technique to ensure the integrity of the roofing materials.
Here are some essential steps to follow:
- Wear appropriate footwear: Use rubber-soled shoes or specialized roofing shoes with soft soles to provide traction and minimize the risk of damaging the shingles.
- Choose the right weather conditions: Avoid walking on a roof when it is wet, icy, or excessively hot. These conditions can make the roof surface slippery and increase the chances of accidents and damage.
- Distribute your weight: Walk along the roof's structural supports, such as rafters or trusses, as they can bear more weight. Distribute your weight evenly by stepping on the lower part of the shingles, near the overlap, rather than the exposed edges.
- Minimize foot traffic: Limit the number of people walking on the roof to reduce the impact on the shingles. Concentrate foot traffic in specific areas and avoid unnecessary movement across the roof surface.
- Use a roof ladder or walk boards: Utilize a roof ladder or walk boards designed to distribute your weight evenly and provide a stable surface for walking. These accessories help to minimize direct contact with the shingles.
- Be mindful of accessories and protrusions: Take extra care when walking near roof vents, chimneys, skylights, or other protrusions. These areas can be more vulnerable to damage, so step carefully and avoid putting excessive weight on them.
Remember, if you are unsure about walking on your roof or feel uncomfortable doing so, it is best to hire a professional roofing contractor who has the expertise and equipment to navigate the roof safely without causing any damage.
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