What you need to know about roofing

More and more people are turning to do-it-yourself roofing as a money-saving home improvement solution. As long as you're willing to put in the work, you can outfit your home with a beautiful new roof for a fraction of the cost of a professional contractor. However, before you get started, you'll have to learn about the various roofing products on the market so you can choose the ones you need with ease and confidence.

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Common Roofing Products to Know About

The majority of homes in the United States have an asphalt roof, comprised of an underlayment topped with shingles. Newer homes may use metal roofing products in place of asphalt shingles, which have a much longer life. The look of metal roofing is virtually identical to traditional shingles, except that it has a metallic shine when exposed to direct sunlight.

Whether you opt for an asphalt roof or prefer the long life of metal roofing, you'll need to start with an underlayment. An underlayment is typically made of fiberglass, and is usually self-adhered. They can be supplemented with base sheets, ply sheets and cap sheets, which provide added layers of protection between the shingles and the structural base of your roof.

If you're interested in green roofing, you'll need to add a waterproofing membrane to your shopping list. You'll cover this membrane with soil, allowing you to grow grass or plants on the surface of your roof. Green roofing can also be supplemented with root barriers and draining or irrigation systems.

Forming Your DIY Roofing Plan

Replacing a common asphalt roof is a big job, but it can be completed in just a few days if you're efficient. Broadly speaking, the steps for roof repair are as follows:

  1. Lift off all existing shingles. This is an easy step if your roof is shingled, but will be more labor-intensive with tile roofs.
  2. Repair or replace your underlayment, base sheets, ply sheets and cap sheets.
  3. Lay down your new asphalt roof paper.
  4. Nail down the new shingles, starting at the edges and working your way up.
  5. Add flashing near the chimney and stack vents to prevent leaks from coming into the house.
  6. Install your ridge venting.

This process will vary if you have a tin roof to replace, or if you're going to lay sheet metal roofing in place of traditional shingles. If you have any doubts about your ability to get the job done on your own, contact a professional – you don't want to take chances when it comes to your roof.