Whether you’re trying to hang Christmas lights or need to fix a roofing issue, you might be wondering if walking on your roof will cause damage to your shingles, tiles or other roofing materials. It is possible to damage your shingles, so it’s important to understand how to protect your roofing materials should you need to walk on them and what the risks are. 

Will Walking on a Roof Damage the Shingles?

First of all, why would you even need to climb on your roof? Most people probably don’t really want to walk on their roofs, but there will come a time when you’ll need to climb a ladder to clean out the gutters, investigate a leak, maybe fix a satellite dish, or string up some holiday lights. As tempting as it might be to just climb on your roof instead of a ladder, there are some things to consider first. 

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in the country. They are lightweight and inexpensive but after a few years of exposure to the elements, will become rigid, brittle and prone to cracking or breaking if stepped on. Even new asphalt shingles can still be damaged as well as their underlying foundation from the weight of someone walking on them. Wood shingles are also popular due their natural look. While they’re durable against sunlight for a number of years they’re extremely easy to break especially as they age.

Although they are made in high-heat ovens to withstand decades of exposure to the hot sun and other elements, clay tiles are extremely brittle and easy to break. Just remember that a broken shingle or tile leaves an exposed spot underneath that will need to be repaired by a roofing company or else your home could sustain major damage from a leak. Bearing that in mind, it’s wise to avoid walking on your roof if possible and if you have no other choice, to walk very carefully to avoid doing damage. 

How to Safely Walk on a Roof

Roofing materials are relatively hardy and could possibly withstand a very occasional walk, so if you’re faced with no choice but to climb on your roof, there are some things to consider. The best times of year to get on your roof are likely in the spring and fall when the temperature isn’t too hot or cold. If you time it right, your roof shingles will not be as brittle as they are in colder months, and not be as hot to the touch or as easily damaged as they are in warm summer months.

You’ll need the right tools and equipment to work on your roof, such as a sturdy ladder to get you up there, and whatever tools you need for the job. Soft-soled shoes with a larger surface-area tread should be used and you’ll want to wear long pants and gloves. Remember that if you feel uncomfortable with the task at hand you can always call a professional to do the job safely and effectively. 

While walking on your roof can potentially damage your tiles, shingles and other roofing materials, these issues are small in comparison to the damage you can cause to yourself. There are numerous injuries and deaths every year from people falling from roofs. While you might feel confident walking on your roof, it only takes a small mistake to cause a major accident. If you slip off your roof, you might sustain a major injury, so you have to ask yourself if it’s really  the only option and worth it.

Whether you’re a DIY or a professional, RGC makes a number of products including shinglers and ladder arms to ensure your roofing work gets done safely and effectively. 

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