Roofing

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair    by: ITC

Because roofs are so far from the ground you must make sure that you have both a safe means of reaching the roof and a safe working platform once you get there. You can reach the roof by a normal extending ladder, but you must take steps to prevent it toppling over. Always set the feet so that they are about a quarter of the ladder’s length away from the wall against which it is leaning.

On concrete you can prevent the feet from slipping by standing them on a piece of sacking. On soft ground, set them on a board with a batten nailed on the edge as a stop. Drive stakes into the ground to stop the board moving. You can also tie the feet of the ladder to stakes driven into the ground.

Tie the top of the ladder to a screw-eye fixed to the fascia board or even to a batten spanning the inside of a window opening, and make sure it extends beyond the eaves by at least 3ft. Do not rest it on the guttering, which could break under the weight; rent a ladder stay to hold it away from the gutter, propped against the wall below the fascia.

If the work you are doing means carrying up bulky materials, you would be better off renting a staging tower which will provide a platform at roof level for stacking materials. These are sectional in construction and often have wheels at the bottom for maneuvering them into position.

If you use a staging tower always make sure it is set on firm, level ground (with boards under the feet if necessary), that any wheels are locked up and that it is fitted with outriggers or tied to the building to stop it toppling. Construct a platform at the top from stout boards, making sure there are toe boards round the edges and a handrail. Always climb up inside the tower and not on the outside, and do not lean ladders against the tower.

Roof tiles and slates are easily broken, so you must have some means of spreading your weight as you climb across them. The best way is with a roof or “cat” ladder. This has a large hook, which locates over the ridge of the roof, and usually a pair of small wheels. The wheels allow you to run the ladder up the roof before turning it over to engage the hook over the ridge of the roof.

While you can do many jobs working from a roof ladder, for any major work on a chimney, it is better to build a staging tower around it, supporting the feet on boards to spread the weight.

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