Home Roofing Tips For Do-it-Yourselfers

If you're looking for "home roofing" tips, you've come to the right place. But first, a true story that goes back to 1986 …

It was my first day on the job with Bergstrom Roofing in Cape Coral, Florida. My old Navy buddy, "Fats" McFadden in New Jersey, had taught me some of the basics, but I was still so green I did not even know what I did not know.

We were nailing off some drip edge that was still wet with dew. Now days I would do that with a nail gun, which would make short work of the matter. Back then I was hand nailing … and not very good at it. In fact, I was still holding nails between my finger and thumb.

Fats had taught me that a pro drives nails with two whacks: a soft whack to set the nail and a hard whack to drive it home. And I certainly wanted to show Les Bergstrom (who was watching over my shoulder) that I could pound nails like a pro. What I did not understand was that the nailing advice applied to shingles, but not to wet metal …

The first nail slipped as I tried to drive it home. The hard whack from the hammer split the end of my thumb open, and it started spurting blood. It hurt so bad I could barely breathe … but I did not want the boss to know I could not even drive a nail properly.

So I pretended nothing happened and quickly grabbed another nail with my trembling hand. Then I proceeded to … DO THE EXACT SAME THING AGAIN, smashing my sore thumb to a pulp. If the Boss had not been watching, I would have screamed like a little girl!

At that point it was pretty obvious I did not know what the heck I was doing and Les gave me a few pointsers. It was a lesson I've never forgotten and these are the home roofing tips I want to share with you …

Home Roofing Tip # 1: When hand-nailing metal flashings, hold the nail PALM UP between your pointing finger and your middle finger. Give it a few light taps to penetrate the metal, THEN GET YOUR HAND OUT OF THE WAY, and drive the nail home. Be especially careful when the metal is wet!

Home Roofing Tip # 2: Once you get the hang of holding nails like that, you can hold several nails in your palm while you're nailing. That's much faster than fishing nails out of your pouch one at a time.

Home Roofing Tip # 3: When installing drip edge, tack the metal on first with just a few nails in each ten foot piece. Then go down to the ground and walk around the entire house inspecting the drip edge. It's a lot easier to fix any cosmetic problems before the metal is delivered off every six inches.

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