Roofing: Step by Step - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Detailed enough to guide a DIYer through a simple, straightforward repair job or even the installation of a compete roof on a small structure


Roofing: Step by Step

This is another entry in Creative Homeowner’s Smart Guide series of books aimed at the DIY market. For its size, it contains an impressive amount of information on residential roofing.
The book begins with a good overview of the topic of roofing including the language of roofing, tools and materials. The important matter of safety is also introduced. This is followed by separate chapters on the various roofing materials (i.e. asphalt and wood shingles, roll roofing, panel, slate and tile, and metal). Each is described in terms of its characteristics, applications and installation methods. There is also a very useful chapter on ventilating roofs and improving the quality of the attic or top floor environment. The chapter on building dormers and adding skylights follows, but it really doesn‘t seem to fit this book on roofing. My neighbours, who are roofers by trade, told me they have never built a dormer and have only done small repairs to skylights as required. Since the average homeowner is probably not going to be all that keen on undertaking an entire roofing project, the final chapter on repairs is possibly the most important chapter in the book (next to safety) for the average DIYer, and it is done quite well, covering the most common situations likely to confront the homeowner (such as searching for the source of the leak, temporary fixes and permanent repairs).
Although the book is a modest 112 pages in length, it manages to cover a lot of territory and benefits greatly from almost four hundred illustrations and photographs. Nevertheless, its brevity inevitably means the book has some shortcomings. For example, I think the important matter of safety could have been addressed more thoroughly. A generic page of bulleted safety tips (e.g. “never work in insufficient lighting” or “always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a tool, especially the warning”) actually diverts the reader's attention from specific safety issues related directly to roofing.
Since this book purports to cover all things roofing, the related matter of liability should have also been included. In many areas, if you hire a roofer to do your job and he has an accident, there’s a strong possibility that you could be held liable for the roofers injuries, especially if she isn't properly insured. That bargain roofing job could turn out to be very expensive indeed.
I think the information contained in this book is detailed enough to guide a DIYer through a simple, straightforward repair job or even the installation of a compete roof on a small structure like a garage or cottage. However, I would not take on the job of installing a roof on a more complex structure like a large house with different roof levels or a steeply pitched roof on the basis of this book alone. I suspect that for most weekend DIYers, working at high heights will be unfamiliar and dangerous, and should most safely be left to professionals. If, indeed, you decide to hire someone else to do the job, armed with the information contained in this book, at the very least you will be a well informed consumer.



  • Roofing Basics
  • Prep & Flashing
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Wood Shingles
  • Roll Roofing
  • Other Roofing
  • Ventilating Roofs
  • Roofing Projects
  • Repairs
  • Resource Guide
  • Glossary
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Creative Homeowner
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 112 pages
AUTHOR:Creative Homeowner
Reviewed by Gerry Tsuji, November 2010
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