Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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How to: Work on a Roof WITHOUT Damaging the Guttering

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This article won’t cover the safety preventions that can be taken when working on a roof – so if you plan on doing work at heights yourself, ensure you seek professional advice before doing so.

Whether you need to fix a roof tile, work on the chimney or carry out satellite installation on the roof of a home or business, there are obviously a couple of things that could potentially go wrong – such as debris falling, further (accidental) damage to the roof, and gutter damage. As long as you know what you are doing, and take into consideration some helpful tips, you can help reduce the chance of problems occurring on any job you do on a roof. Here are some helpful tips to help you the next time you are working at heights to avoid damaging the guttering on a home.

1. Ladder Positioning

Unless you have scaffolding setup around your house, the chances are you will be using a ladder to get up to carry out the needed work. If you haven’t much experience of positioning a ladder correctly against a roof, there are a couple of considerations to make to avoid gutter damage:

  1. Where possible, avoid leaning the ladder against the gutter. If you are working on the edge of the roof, prop the ladder up against the wall of the house as opposed to the gutter.
  2. If you have to lean against the gutter, ensure you move along towards the corner, where the guttering is likely to be strongest.
  3. Once on the roof, if you have to use a second ladder to reach the ridge, avoid resting the secondary ladder on the gutter, and use an appropriate ridge ladder instead.

2. Gutter Covering

If you plan on carrying out more of a detailed job on the roof, ensure precautions are taken to protect the guttering from debris such as nails and tiles. A cheap option is to temporarily cover the guttering with an old sheet or a bin liner, but remember to remove the covering when you have finished work at the end of the day, in case it rains. A better long-term solution is to use a gutter protection system, which essentially covers the guttering with a mesh type material. The mesh of a gutter protection system contains holes that allow the rain to access the guttering, but prevents external debris falling in, which could potentially damage (and even break) the guttering.

3. Secure Tool Placement

Similar to the points made above about falling debris, steps should be taken to ensure that any of the tools you are working with cannot fall down the roof. Falling tools could obviously cause damage to people, cars and gardens below the roof, but they could also ruin the guttering on the house due to it being moderately light weight. Keep your tools secure in a tool belt, and only keep the things on the roof that you need, avoiding unnecessary weight and objects on the roof while you are working.

4. Safe Exit

Once you are finished working on the roof and plan to climb back on to the ladder, avoid the temptation of putting too much weight on the guttering, or using it as a support as you climb back on to the ladder. Ideally you should have somebody holding the ladder securely as a safety measure at the foot of the ladder to make it easier to mount it from the roof, but even so, you should look to apply your body weight to the ladder then gently use the guttering for balance should you need to.

This guest post was by FirstLine Digital, one of the UK’s largest independent aerial and Sky TV installers. FirstLine Digital is also the preferred installer for the Digital Switchover Help Scheme for the BBC.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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