There are many reasons you might want to walk on your roof, from hanging Christmas lights to looking for the source of a leak. However, you should avoid walking on your roof whenever possible. There are safety and insurance issues your risk by stepping on your own roof. Also, you could damage your shingles or other roof materials by stepping on them.
Is it Safe to Walk on My Roof?
When roofing professionals step onto your roof, they are using their judgement and training to determine if the conditions are safe. A bit of moisture, or an algae infection could make the roof too slippery to safely stand on. You may not have the training to recognize these and other safety hazards.
Further, roofing professionals have safety harnesses that protect them from major falls. If you suffer a fall from a roof without this equipment, you could be seriously injured or lose your life.
In fact, last year an elderly man died after falling from his Brentwood, CA home’s roof. He was trying to clean his gutters. While older people may be more at risk of serious injuries after falling from a roof, younger people may also perish after a fall.
Can I Damage My Roof by Walking on It?
Roofing shingles are tough in the face of rain, but they aren’t meant to be stepped on. Roofing professionals wear soft-soled shoes and step carefully to avoid damaging your shingles. They know which areas of the roof they absolutely can’t step on, including the valley.
If you step on into the valley with regular running shoes, or heavy work boots, you could create a leak. Causing damage to your own roof this way opens you up to some legal liability.
Can Walking on my Roof Void My Insurance?
Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to deny claims. If you have stepped on your own roof or, worse, tried to complete repairs yourself, your insurance company may decide to deny any further claims you make on your roof. Many homeowner’s insurance policies require you to use only licensed professionals. Your insurance company may argue that by stepping on your roof, you took on the responsibility for the damage you caused.
Alternatives to Walking On Your Roof
Those homeowners who are tempted to walk on their roof despite the risk may be interested in some alternatives that can allow you to perform your yearly roof tasks safely:
- Extension ladders: If you’re trying to clean gutters or hang Christmas lights, and you can’t quite reach where you need to, you can invest in a larger extension ladder instead of stepping on the roof.
- Extendable gutter cleaners: Some gutter cleaning tools extend, so you don’t have to get on a ladder, never mind the roof, to clean your lower gutters.
- Windows: While your second story window won’t allow you to see the topmost portion of your roof, you can examine lower roof planes from it. You may also be able to hang some Christmas décor from the window.
- Take pictures: If you want to see proof that there really is some damage on your roof, ask your roofer to take pictures of the damage. That way, you don’t have to step on the roof to be sure you’re working with an honest professional.