Roof repairs can cost you a lot of time and money if you are not careful. Because your roof is one of the most crucial parts to your home’s structural integrity, you do not want to mess it up and cause undue leaking and other disastrous effects. At the same time, you may not be in a position to call a professional contractor to fix your roof every time a little leak or small snafu appears. Never fear. Here are some tips for DIY Roof Repair, the safe and cost efficient way.

1. Know what you are looking for 

Rule number one of DIY Roof Repair is to know exactly what it is you’re trying to repair. You need to assess the situation. Is it a simple leak? Is your home suffering from wind damage after a large storm? Is typical weathering wearing away at the exterior of your roof? Knowing what problem you are handling allows you to best assess what steps to take going forward and who to consult.

2. Know when a little problem can become a big problem

Small things, like one damaged shingle, can seem like no big deal (you can just leave it for later, right?) Unfortunately, one compromised shingle can make the whole roof damaged, turning a small divet into a big hole. Prevent this by going for the quick fix (a piece of aluminum flashing and some roofing cement) and then going back to repair the shingle entirely when it is safe to do so. If you need to swap out shingles, make sure you use pliers, a chisel, and a hammer, rather than trying to yank with your bare hands (you may go flying).

3. Check your chimney

If you have a chimney in your home, your roofing troubles may not being coming from the roof itself. Make sure that your chimney is cleaned regularly to avoid dangerous pollution in your house, which can make your family sick. If the paint on your chimney is peeling, consider installing a rain cap on the flue to prevent further water damage.

4. Be careful!

In all home improvement projects, you need to be cautious, but nowhere is this more important than from great heights. Avoid tumbling off the roof by using preventative measures before going into your DIY roof repair. If you can, rent a roofer’s ladder, which includes a bracket to safely bridge the top of the roof. Use a safety harness or a belt secured to something solid and stable to ensure you stay up where you belong. Never work in icy conditions or poor weather, and make sure your ladder is double secured when going up and down.

5. Know your limits

Discretion is the better part of valor. It is laudable to attempt home repair projects in an effort to save money and know your home’s construction better, but if there are multiple leaks or a project is too dangerous for you, there’s no shame in calling a professional.