# redoing a roof?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mathematics!, Nov 10, 2009.

1. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
Ok , so this coming summer me and my dad are going to atempted to redo the roof.

What we are debating on is weather we should buy/rent a nail gun or do it just with a hammer and nails.

Would buying or renting a nail gun be much quicker and easier then doing it with a hammer. Can anybody give a frame of reference to how much this would save if we up for nail gun?

Also what is a good nail gun that we should use (if you do uped for it) that won't cost a crazy amount of money for a one or two time use.? Would renting a nail gun be better if so does Home depot rent nail guns ? If so how much?

Other then the nail gun the only other things needed would be roofing paper and black roofing tiles? Correct me if I am wrong?

If I am correct how much does roofing paper and roofing tiles cost per foot ,...etc ? I know I don't have the dimensions of the roof with me but knowning this I can compute the approx total cost for the job. Maybe the price will vary either way an approx would be good for the roofing materials.

Wondering if it is significantly less then chargeing somebody to do it for you. Plus I will be out in the sun getting a tan

Thanks for input

2. ### JoeJester AAC Fanatic!

Apr 26, 2005
3,401
1,218
Look at the rate of nails being applied.

My money is on the nail gun can outperform you enough to justify the rent or the purchase.

How much is your time worth?

3. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
20,772
2,540
What Joe said.

Plus how many nails can you pound before bending one?

4. ### wr8y Active Member

Sep 16, 2008
232
1
The nail gun saves time and your arms. Also, it can speed you up enough to have the job done before that next rain hits.

Honestly, you won't believe the time it saves.

5. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
4
Do you have any approximates to how long a hammer would take to do an average size roof to how much a nail gun will take to do an average size roof?

And should I rent or buy. What brand is a good one to get that will be worth it because I saw some cheap \$50 ones but I am sure these aren't as good as the \$250 ones.

As for the paper and black roof tiles how much will these cost approx in feet or feet squared?

Is their any other materials other then the paper , tiles , nails , nail gun and knee pads that I will need? <- I think that is everything required to do a roof ?

Let me know if I am forgetting something.
Did anybody on this forum replace a roof before?

Jul 7, 2009
1,585
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You can find out the costs yourself -- just call up a local building supply place.

Around 10 years ago I decided our roof needed a new coating. It was covered with cedar shakes. Ripping off the old shakes was by far the largest amount of work (our roof covers a lot of area). I also had to replace a number of pieces of plywood because of some water damage (8 or 10 sheets). Naturally, those were in places where things had to be cut to fit, not just drop them in.

We recovered the roof with asphalt shingles. My wife and I were pretty tired after taking off the shingles and winter was approaching, so we hired a roofer to do the papering (easy work) and putting down the shingles.

The roofer and his crew did the work in easily 1/10th the time it would have taken me to do it. They put the tar paper in nails manually. After you do a few hundred, you get better at it and don't smash your fingers as often.

They did the shingles with nail guns because they'd have a guy or two laying out shingles and another guy running the gun. It goes very quickly. If I had to do it myself, I'd just rent a nail gun from the local rental place. If you buy the shingles from a local place, you may or may not have to pay extra to have someone come with a truck and conveyor and deliver them to the roof. You don't want to have to carry them up on the roof yourself if you can avoid it.

One thing you need to be aware of is safety. I was fortunate in that our roof has a fairly shallow slope (15°) and slipping off wasn't an issue as long as we were careful. Steeper slopes are definitely hazardous and you want to learn about the safe ways of doing things and use the proper safety equipment. It's not a job for amateurs who think they know what they're doing -- make sure you're very prepared.

Before tackling the work ourselves, we had bids for doing the job (one guy wanted more than \$20k to do the work). By doing it ourselves and spending time to track down a good professional (my wife's ex-husband used to be a roofer and knew this guy), we did the whole thing for around \$5-6k, if I recall correctly. We used good stuff and had it done right, so I should never have to mess with the roof again (we'll either sell the house in the next 20 years or I will have keeled over with a heart attack).

7. ### beenthere Retired Moderator

Apr 20, 2004
15,815
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Shingles and every other roof covering are sold in units. Each unit is a square, which is 100 square feet. You need to measure the roof in order to obtain the correct area so you can get enough roofing material.

Yes, this means you will have some left over. Remember that trimming to fit may require more than "just enough" material, as there is always wastage.

You must also have the means to trim your materials to fit. That can be in length, width, or to lay along an angle. If you do mean tiles, then a wet cutter will be vital.

It is very helpful to know how to correctly do ridges, hips, and valleys. OJT is perhaps not the best method if you don't want to have to do parts over.

If this is a new roof, does the sheathing have enough clips to hold the seams? After applying the tarpaper (roofing felt), having the shingles delivered and stacked on the roof is a major effort saver. I'd spend a day or so in an housing project to see how it gets done, plus get a book from the library.

That figure all has to do with quality. It's not a good place to try to save, either. Everything you own is at risk if the roof leaks.

Do not expect to have fun. I will do concrete work, framing, flooring, trimming, drywall, and electrical work (and have), but never felt any urge at all to do roofing.

8. ### HarveyH42 Active Member

Jul 22, 2007
425
5
If you aren't use to swinging a hammer, the nail gun is a very good investment. Usually safer too, but rental equipment is a gamble, get the guy to demonstrate it for you. You get to see how it works, plus you know that it works properly before you get up on the roof, and you won't get accused of damaging it, if you got it that way. Hammers are old school, why live in the past?

9. ### JoeJester AAC Fanatic!

Apr 26, 2005
3,401
1,218
Remember, a nail gun is a gun. Observe all safety precautions. The butt you save may be your own.

10. ### wr8y Active Member

Sep 16, 2008
232
1
You have some research to do! I'd never consider roofing myself, I am too afraid of heights.

I am convinced that the nail gun is the way to go - THAT much I know. But as to renting or buying? No idea. I know you can rent stuff here in my home town SO much cheaper than buying.

And get the most expensive, best roofing materials you can buy. I bought this house at age 10, had to roof it right away. It's been 9 years - and the roof looks new to this day!!!! I told the contractor I wanted the best stuff they could get. (The cost of the job was \$2900 plus materials. The cheap shingles were something like \$500 and the best stuff was around \$900 - not sure of the numbers, but outta \$3500, the difference was \$400 for the best vs. worst. I have not regretted it at all!)

You better learn about 'starter shingles', about how to protect "valleys" and "intersections" and stuff like that.

You might want to hire some retired roofing guy to be your "foreman". No, wrong - get a roofing guy to advise you. I can tell you know less about this than I do - and you are headed for disaster!

11. ### loosewire AAC Fanatic!

Apr 25, 2008
1,584
435
If you do-It your self you have to check If you need a permit.Tear off
takes about six guys minimum. You need tear off tools and be able to
change out bad wood. You need a plastic tarp big enough to cover In case
of rain or you run out steam,you need 1x2 strips to nail tarp down.
The box stores have roofing supplies. You must plan It out or you will fail.
There enough Info with the guys on the forum to plan It out and tell
you what questions to ask. Metal flashings will beat you to death,and
you may have what they call valleys,you need to know this stuff. There
a lot of roofers out of work. Also you can tear off and cover until you put
shingles on. figure 8 roofers at \$14.00 an hour one day to tear off.
The big money go to the guy you would never meet, If you hire a contractor.
You can pay a deposit and never see him again,even If you find a good
contractor all the fine print will drive you mad and end up with a lien
Some counties don't allow homeowners to replace roofs. Good luck
p.s. you have to have a place that will take roofing trash off your hands,
considered hazardous materials.

Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
12. ### Papabravo Expert

Feb 24, 2006
10,340
1,850
Will you know how to do the flashing around the chimney, and the standpipe, and any roof vents? If not forget the do it yourself route. By the time you get it done, it will have cost you more than hiring a crew. Just the thought of humping squares up a ladder makes my back ache with pain. ; you have no idea how hard it is to climb a ladder with that much weight on your shoulder.

Jul 7, 2009
1,585
141
To the OP:

Don't let all the cautions from all of us scare you off the job. What they should do is make you realize a) roofing is hard physical work, b) it can be dangerous (fatal), and c) there's a lot you need to know about.

There is nothing technically difficult about the majority of roofing tasks. The key is getting yourself educated about them. Personally, I will and have tackled almost any home repair/maintenance/improvement job around the house that I'm pretty sure is within my physical abilities. I often have to learn on the job, but there are lots of good sources of information available. The library is certainly your first stop. The places that sell material supplies may also have some experienced people who can give good advice -- however, you'll also run across bozos that don't know what they're talking about -- and it's you're job to figure out who's who.

If I were in your shoes, I'd try to find a roofing contractor who would let you help (for free) on a job or just stand around watching. Figure out a way to do a good turn for them (e.g., bring them a big bag of doughnuts in the morning or a couple of six packs of beer after a job) and they'll be more likely to want to help you. The practical information you get that way will be extraordinarily useful. Find a contractor in the winter who's not busy and pay him for his time to advise you on how to proceed; take good notes and come prepared with lots of questions.

You've got to do a good job of planning. Figure you'll take somewhere between 2 and 10 times as long as a pro to do the job. Plan for the unexpected. If you live in a region that gets thunderstorms, what will you do if you get the felt down and have to wait three days before the shingles can be delivered? A good thunderstorm in that time might rip some of the felt off (and then you have to worry about the roof sheathing getting wet).

You also don't know if you'll run across unseen damage that you have to repair before you can proceed (the pros won't know either, but they'll know how to handle it). This can trash a tight schedule that didn't plan for it.

Roofing is a lot like painting a house. The beginners think all there is to do is spray on the paint and you're done. The experienced folk know that the painting is the most trivial part -- the preparation is where 90% of the work is, assuming you want to do a good job. Roofing is similar -- the last step of putting down the shingles is the easy part -- the preparation is where all the work is.

I wouldn't tackle another roof job on my house (I was a spry youngster in my 50's when I last did it, but it's just too much work now). But I'd certainly tackle it if I was in my early 40's or younger (and not a couch potato). I'd just make sure I was very well prepared -- not hard to do with 6 months of time before the job.

14. ### wr8y Active Member

Sep 16, 2008
232
1
An excellent post! When I said, "go hire a retired roofer to be your foreman" I was just too lazy to say all of what you said.

A beginner CAN do it - but is it my opinion that a beginner CANNOT do it without a lot of guidance.

15. ### loosewire AAC Fanatic!

Apr 25, 2008
1,584
435
If you have Insurance I bet you have mold that you don't how to
find,private home adjustors could help.Just another part of leaky
Insurance company.Another thing It may not be popular ,but the
latin roofers are good If you can find the right crew.Go to some roof
jobs and watch.Another hint If you do-it your self when you tear -off
you can use trailer to catch trash,If you put metal off to side on ground
stack the old shingles in trailer,the black paper can push into corners
and compressed by pushing with your feet,then put the metal on top.
If not you will have more trash and more trailer trips to dump.You need
a good magnet to pick up all the nail in grass.Never pay up front,a crew
will work If they know the money will be there at end of day and free
lunch,with beers after work.That will bring them back for day two.
Another Important point contractors don't roof on weekends,do your
home work and you can get roof done without paying a contractor.
Find your latin community,It will help to p.u. the crew because of
driving and car problems.

Last edited: Nov 14, 2009