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Getting the Right Pitch for Home Roofing Job


QUESTION: I want to reroof our house and would like to do the job myself, since I have had some experience in working on roofs. Any tips that will help me? For instance, what is the easiest way to determine the pitch of my roof?

ANSWER: That last question gives some cause for concern. Having worked on roofs, you should know about such things as determining the pitch. However, it is found by measuring how many inches it rises for every foot it runs. Roofs with slopes of 4 or 5 inches per horizontal foot are safest and easiest for the do-it-yourselfer.

Steep slopes and high roofs, or those with many angles, dormers or gables, are best left to the professional. If you do the job yourself, there are certain safety precautions that should be observed.

Wear rubber-soled construction-type shoes for secure footing. Apply the shingles on clear days when it is warm but not hot. Do not reroof in wet weather or when the temperature is below 40 degrees. Reroof only when the roof deck and existing shingles are dry, since moisture makes roofs slippery and dangerous. Lift only easy loads.

Secure ladders, top and bottom, and keep the roof surface free of debris. Don't allow ladders to come in contact with power lines. And place shingles and tools where they won't slide off the roof; but to be sure, keep people away from the work area. Besides all these precautions, use your common sense.

Tools Lose Sharpness From Abuse, Not Use

Q: I'm an old carpenter who recently saw an article about the use of sharp tools and how to keep them in good condition. I have some advice for people who are starting a home workshop and have never worked much with tools.

I learned over the years that sharp tools seldom become dull from usage. Most people don't use chisels and things like that often enough to make them dull. What makes them dull and damaged is not overuse but abuse.

A good mechanic treasures his tools. When he is finished with one, he places it down carefully where it won't come in contact with other tools. He just doesn't toss it into a drawer. If it is to go in a drawer, it is placed there. So, if you want your cutting tools to stay sharp for a long time, handle them with care.

A: Thanks. Good advice.

"A Homeowners Guide to Quality Roofing," including an asphalt shingle color guide, can be obtained by sending $1 and a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope to Know-How, P.O. Box 477, Huntington, N.Y. 11743. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column.

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