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Community and Q&A

Working safely on a steep roof

Alexander Lane | Posted in General Questions on

Any advice on the most practical way for a DIYer to work safely on this steep roof? I’m going to replace the cedar siding with Hardiplank. (I know this isn’t exactly a “green building” question but I did have the cavities dense packed with cellulose first so maybe it counts.)

I’m looking for an option that is cheap and easy to set up and break down since I will be puttering away alone on this for a couple weeks. Just a ladder with ridge hooks maybe?

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  1. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #1


    Leaving aside what OSHA would like you to do (which is probably wear fall protection), if I was re-siding that I would have scaffold at the eaves with railings, where I would have have a cutting station. That would arrest any fall. Buy a couple of rubber matts from Costco to leave on the lower roof so hand tools don't disappear. How steep is the roof? It looks pretty walkable in the photo. Do you need a ladder?

  2. Alexander Lane | | #2

    Thanks Malcolm. It’s like a 9/12 pitch I believe. Doesn’t feel walkable but maybe with scaffolding there it would feel safe enough. I don’t really want to buy or rent scaffolding, but maybe that’s the thing to do. I was imagining hiring a kid to cut on the ground then pass them up, and I suppose scaffolding could save that hassle.

  3. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #3

    Hi Alexander,

    Comfort and safety are two different things. To work safely on that roof, you should have fall protection. Yet a lot of builders would feel comfortable with some roof jacks with 2xs to catch them or their tools or materials that start to slide down the roof. I like Malcolm's suggestion. It adds a level of safety and will make the work more efficient because you'll have a flat surface for tools and materials nearby.

  4. Alexander Lane | | #4

    Thanks Brian. Are the holes left behind by roof jacks a problem? I suppose you just fill them with the right goo?

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