How to Get on Your Roof Safely

Hey, we get it. We understand there are some times when you might need to get up on your roof. Maybe it’s to remove some branches or clean your gutters. Perhaps you wish to make some minor repairs, take down your Christmas lights before the Fourth of July, or heck, even retrieve a kite or rescue your cat. We know stuff pops up that doesn’t necessarily seem like it requires a pro, but this isn’t your average “take out the garbage” chore. This can be dangerous. That’s why we created these guidelines to ensure you know how to get on your roof safely, not to mention get back down!

Don’t Go it Alone

It’s always wise to have someone spot and assist you if you’re getting on a roof. Ask (or bribe!) a friend or family member to help out by holding the ladder and hoisting up any tools you happen to forget. That way, you won’t have to go up and down the ladder to retrieve what you need. It’s also smart for the simple reason that someone else is there who can get help in case of an emergency.  

Wait for the Right Weather 

Never just decide to venture up without checking the forecast first. Make sure the weather is appropriate — not windy or wet! You don’t want to take the chance of being knocked off your feet or slipping and falling, so if it’s not a dry and calm day, check something else off your to-do list instead.  

Dress for Success

When you’re getting on your roof, it’s super important to wear the right shoes, with rubber soles and good traction. No bare feet or flip-flops allowed! A good tool belt is key as it will save you from trying to carry tools while navigating the ladder, and leather gloves can help you keep a good grip on things. 

This may seem over the top, but it’s also a good idea to equip yourself with a safety harness, especially if your roof is high or steep. Even if you’re only up there for a short time, it can save you from serious consequences if you happen to slip or trip on something. Temporary toeholds are also a good investment. They can help you keep your steps steady and can be removed when the job is done. You can typically find these things at your neighborhood hardware store.  

Climb Carefully

Perhaps one of the most important tips of all is to make sure you have a good, sturdy ladder and are using it safely and correctly. 

  • Place your ladder on level, dry, and firm ground, or set a board beneath it. The ladder should extend several feet above the roof. 
  • A good rule of thumb is for every 4 feet of ladder, you should move the base 1 foot from the house
  • Avoid leaning the ladder against gutters so it doesn’t slide at the top or cause any damage, and pick a place away from powerlines. 
  • Next, have your partner hold the ladder for extra stability. 
  • Always face the ladder and when you start to climb, be sure to keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times — both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand. 
  • When you reach the roof, hold onto the top of the ladder with both hands and step around, not over it. 

Step Safely

Congratulations, you’re on the roof! Now, be sure to move slowly and carefully, check that each step you take is stable before proceeding. Before you move forward, make sure the path before you is clean and hazard-free. Take your time and of course, don’t get too close to the edge.

Repeat in Reverse

Whether it’s right away because you’ve decided this wasn’t the best idea you’ve ever had, or if it’s after you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, when the time comes to head back down, let your partner know to spot you. Next, descend the same way you went up — holding the top of the ladder with both hands, stepping around and then down, facing the ladder, and maintaining three points of contact until you’re safely on the ground. Then, hope you didn’t forget anything up there and go get your partner the cold one you promised! 

  

Rather Not Get On Your Roof At All?

If you don’t feel that climbing up on your roof safely is something you can physically do, or the thought of being up so high and walking on a sloping surface gives you the heebie-jeebies, not to worry. We’ve got your back! For repairs, inspection, maintenance, and replacement, just give us a call at 616-844-5382 or connect with us online today.  

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