All the DIY'ers


Here is a question I have. This is not directed towards you Malcolm specifically although you are the one who got me thinking about it, but towards other people as well as I have seen a lot of posts on here like this. How come people with no skills in roofing, (remember it is a SKILLED trade meaning it takes time to learn) always try to do their own roofs? From Malcolms first post about the Do Not Remove you are clearly able to see that he has not the first idea about how to do a roof and is just going by what he has “heard” or read. That seems to be everyones case. I can go read a whole book on how to be a software engineer but I would have NO idea what I was doing. Its the only job where everyone seems to think they can be a roofer for a day. Thats just my little rant and pet peeve. :slight_smile:


Think all the big DIY stores could be partly to blame for that one, look at all the DIY clinics they have’ Hate going there specially on weekend. I know they put a lot of local trade suppliers out of business.Don’t know what happened to Builders Square or Scottys though.

Probably the same reason a roofer would try to do sheet rock or concrete work. Guys who build things just like to build. We may not have the specific skills for each phase of the work but we like to learn as many skills as we can. and the big bonus is you can't complain about the roofer if he is yourself.
Regards, DaveB


Everybody and there brother is a roofer but very few guys can make a livin at it! Words to live by.


We as professionals can do it better and faster.
And we can make it look easy.

Most basic residentails can be done by a mechanically inclined home owner.
It is the amount of physical labor that will make them not want to do it again.
Shingles ain’t rocket science.

If a homeowner can handle the physical stresses of the work involved, has the ability to plan ahead, and can read instructions they can pull it off.
Provided that they are mechanically inclined to begin with.

There are not many homeowners out there that are willing to take on a 3-4 layer steep cut-up pig.
If they do they are over their head.


Another reason many homeowners try it themselves is because of how many ripoff artists and poor contractors there are out there.

I am a pretty decent shade-tree mechanic but know when I am over my head…so I hired who I thought was a professional, figuring it would be less grief for me than if I screwed up.

Well, after dealing with the “pro” that did mine the first time, I started second guessing my decision.

At least if I screw something up I know I did it, and save money even if I have to redo it. Worse case would be losing the money and time I have into it by trying it myself.

My roof is an easy walk, with only two valleys and a set of hips on my porch roof…yet the first clown screwed it up.

For about $1,000 in materials I could have tried the job myself and saved $5500…and if I screwed it up I could have had it redone and only been out the $1,000…but had I done it right I would have been ahead.

Instead, I had to have a good deal of my roof ripped off and redone…costing me time and angst.

I do recognize that roofing is a skill…and it takes YEARS to learn the tricks and the RIGHT way to do stuff…wish my first contractor had learned some of those tricks in his 10 years of experience he claimed to have.

You guys need to do yourselves a favor and police yourselves and weed out the lowlifes who rip people off without a thought or those who claim to be experienced and arent.


Well said axiom.



Can see your point, in most states state cert is required, exams plus more qualifications to go through. In some states nothing. There are shady/rip off artists out there no doubt specially in the leniant states, there are also shady/rip off customers too. Cust who constantly dig for the cheapest deal/price not saying you personally actually contributr to this problem. It costs a lot run a legitimate business

Check out all licensing, refs, ins and go with someone who’s been with the BBB for a while and has little or no blemishes on record, least theres a little come back


Hahaha, this is a popular topic of discussion between roofing friends and myself.

Roofing is commonly thought of as a labor intensive, unskilled trade.
I have painting friends that say they are thought of the same way roofers are.
People see a guy painting wall or a roofer applying shingles and think to themselves “anyone (I) can do that”.
It’s not until they get to a valley, vent pipe, skylight, dormer, chimney, wall… before they begin to respect the trade and the skill needed to complete the job correctly.
Today we have the internet, or as they say in Washington “The Internets” There is a wealth of roofing information at our fingertips and everyone with a computer is an expert on roofing.


I’ll tell you my perspective on this, as I have just done this myself.

I had an Insurance claim to replace my roof. They agreed to replace what I had, 3 tab. Insurance adjuster came in at around 7500 bucks for my hip roof (Ranch with 4/12 )with one valley and a chimney. I got 2 bids for around 8500 bucks. I am young enough, have just enough skills (and friends) to pull this off. Now, if I want to upgrade, it’s gonna cost me around 10-12K for Timberline with weather watch all around. Who do I pay? Should I pay a roofer to do this or pay myself? That was the big question for me. Of course, I would rather pay myself if possible.

If I could have hired any one of the quality skilled roofers on this site, I may have really considered this. I got a lot of great insight and help from many posters here, and I am greatful for that. With the help here and encouragement from others, I decided to do it myself. I upgraded to a 30 year timerline with weather watch around the perimeter and in my valley and around my Chimney. Installed a Roof Ridge vent too. I got the piece of mind of doing it myself (with a lot of help of former friends :slight_smile: ) and doing it for around 6500 bucks…including haul off and food/beverages for my helpers.

Would I do it again? Maybe. I’m 39 now, but hopefully by the time I need another roof, I will probably pay someone. No way would I have done this myself had it not been for the ease of my roof. Definitely would pay professionals on a harder roof.


[quote=“Tiner “Roof””]Shad,

Can see your point, in most states state cert is required, exams plus more qualifications to go through. In some states nothing. There are shady/rip off artists out there no doubt specially in the leniant states, there are also shady/rip off customers too. Cust who constantly dig for the cheapest deal/price not saying you personally actually contributr to this problem. It costs a lot run a legitimate business

Check out all licensing, refs, ins and go with someone who’s been with the BBB for a while and has little or no blemishes on record, least there’s a little come back[/quote]

I understand there are customers searching for the cheapest price…thats the case in ALL fields though, not just roofing…when you go into business serving customers, you have to accept that, which I am sure you do.

I don’t think there is a problem looking for the best price, as long as a quality job is a major consideration , as it was with me…You wouldnt pay someone substantially more to , lets say, take care of your accounting or legal issues or repair your computer if you could get the same quality job for less money…we all shop around to some degree… We all do, and in today’s economic setting especially, we all have to…as a person in business to serve customers, you would have to be naive to expect otherwise. But yes, some customers do go too far and base their soley decisions on price.

My issue is I did NOT do that…I chose a guy who was right in line with all the other estomates I got…did my homework…researched him thru the BBB etc etc etc…and got burned. The ripoffs out there know how to work around the supposed protections that are out there.

I am at a crossroads, trying to decide if I should sue or not for the remaining rework that needs done if the job is to be done 100% “right” – both mechanically and aesthetically…this means more worry, more angst and potentially more money out of my pocket for a job that has already been paid for once…that is something that no customer ever wants to have to deal with. AT least if someone does it themselves, they know what they did, what they may have not done right, etc…cant sue yourself…LOL

Luckily, I heard a rumour that PA is going to be instituting a licensing program for all contractors to curb these issues…too late for me and my roof at this point, but hopefully other consumers can be spared this agony.

The upside for you guys is that if contractors are licensed, it SHOULD weed out some of the idiots and level the prices and encourage true competition versus artificial competition caused by ripoffs who cut corners and what not to give a better price…though I am sure there will still be the ones who work around the protections and fool the system.

As a consumer, I can only HOPE that the licensing here in PA becomes reality.

You skilled roofers have my utmost respect…its a labor intensive, dirty job that does demand know-how and skill to combat weather effectively…hats off to you guys who “do it right the first time”. Like I said, I tend to try things myself and things like roofing, carpentry, plumbing, etc are all a lot of work if you get a difficult project and demand skill and knowledge that I know I dont have. For the "other guys"out there doing a half-assed job and telling the customer it is “pristine” or that "it could be a lot worse) like the jagoff who did my roof said, I have some choice words that arent appropriate for a public forum. :wink:



In response I can understand and appreciate your situation having read some previous posts. I agree price overall does not ensure quality, however probability is that going with someone who knows the true cost of doing business you may be less likely to be ripped. (your choice minority)

Some customers do get too nit picky I’ll admit but there the ones providing the paycheck. There are call backs sometimes, I can never understand upon a completed job why a contractor or co would never respond and leave a cust hangin. Cust’s want service and in my experience they will refer you more.

Unfortunately yes there are guys who beat the system, wether it being fake docs, brings up another issue these scum are also not paying a dime in taxes, no one to report earnings again’st them unless the homeowner can somehow deduct.

There needs to be tougher local and state regulations your right, coming from England there are much more stricter penalties and tougher laws, would’nt be tolerated, then again there’s no general sue sue sue mentality

Anyway gettin off topic
Just my 2 pennies


How about the “roofer” on here who used to make posts stating that his workers learned the roofing trade in about 20 minutes?

Perhaps they roofed the neighbors trailer park roofs with no vents?

To be totally honest I’ve seen horrible work done by both home owners and “roofers”. I’ve also seen some wonderful work done by home owners.

This Spring looked at a roof in which a 3M engineer at retired age roofed his addition. I commented how on great of a job he did on the peel and stick flat roofing and the valleys but had to comment on the one upside down shingle in the tin course! Never got that job, LOL!!! Perhaps he took the upside down comment to personal.


[quote=“PB”] I’m 39 now, but hopefully by the time I need another roof, I will probably pay someone.

Haha, That’s what I thought 25 years ago , but I’m redoing mine now at 63 years old, even replaced the rafters and put on new plywood while I had it off,also moved the vent pipes and added two opening skylights to the bathrooms.
I’m sure I won’t do it next time however :>)


Anybody can nail on shingles, it takes a pro to do it right.
P.S. Not anybody can do the flashing detail though. I’ve seen many an “expert” contractor that I’ve had to redo the flashing details to fix leaks.



you speak the truth and I’m in the same boat as you bro.
I got burned bad by a so called flat roof expert.
This joker was licensed, “elite certified”, clean BBB file, and had references etc yet the outcome was and continues to be a nightmare 1 year later. The only thing this roofer wanted to do was lay down this overpriced durolast membrane and THATS IT. He didnt know, or more likely, didnt give a crap about redecking, substrate, ponds, ventilation, sharp projections, NOTHING!!

I also wanted very much to sue these bastards but unfortunately its too much for small claims court and not worth the headache and expense of regular court.

How did I end up with such a mickey mouse roofer?

This guy has a website which looks OK and they even offer advice on how to avoid bad roofers, yet they still dropped the ball completely.


How come so many roofers thing they can make their own websites? --Peter (website designer) lol


I research everything before I do it
I had roofed sheds before, but never a house
Old house before & after
Fairly simple, flashed everything
My old neighbor was a carpenter/roofer & gave “instructions”. He also setup an ladder elevator to get the shingles to the roof - a back saver


I’m a DIYer. I’ve only roofed my own home (and the detached garage). Allow me to brag here. I’m 52 and reroofed my house myself. My house is a 46 year old 1400 sqft ranch with a 4x12 slope, four valleys and two chimneys. I did lots of reading and asked questions on this site until I was comfortable with my plan of attack. (Thank you to all who helped me). I had to remove three layers, redeck the original decking, rebuild the cricket and reflash the 46 yo flashing.

Why did I do it myself?

  1. I needed the exercise.
  2. I saved some money.
  3. I was in no hurry to do the job. I had the luxury of time to do it right.
  4. I used premium materials and methods.
  5. I take pride in my good work.
  6. I’ve read enough horror stories of poor workmanship and seen my neighbors deal with shoddy hired work. I can trust myself.

I’m probably the exception to the nightmare of DIY jobs you’ve seen. Go ahead and query me if you’d like to see if I made any mistakes. I’ll answer truthfully.