What Not to Do When Shingling Your Roof

General Roofing Systems Canada provides installs shingles throughout Canada. Shingle installations are completed in the following cities: Toronto, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler and points between.

Before you shingle the roof on your home, please starting by reading our article below on “How to Shingle a Roof”  the right way and search our blog on tips for re-roofing your home.

WARNING: This may hurt egos and feelings, please be patient, we’re just trying to help (and keep the mood light).

We see countless homeowners every year have to re- shingle their home only years or months after having shingled their home themselves.

When homeowners get the idea to shingle their own roof, on one hand we stand back with admiration (because it takes hard work!) and on the other hand we get concerned because the shingle packaging (which gives specifications to the experienced shingle installer), the Home Depot or Lowes clerk that sold you the shingles, and the relevant YouTube videos don’t always tell you everything you need to know to successfully shingle your roof. The important words here…. “successfully shingle your roof”.

Because we see the story of “how to shingle a roof properly” unfold in front of our eyes every year, and because the errors cost homeowners real money, stress, embarrassment, etc, we’ve decided to write a bit on What Not to Do When You Decide to Shingle Your Own Roof. This will follow up on articles about how to Re Roof Shingles Properly (simply search the topic in the search box in the right hand top part of our blog and a number of articles will come up on re roofing the shingles on your home). Our main website also has articles at the following link in the right hand column of the page.


Here’s what we see this time of year: it’s summer time and the kids are out of school and dad says “it’s cheaper for me to shingle my roof than it is to hire a roofing company to do it”.

TRUE … If the roof on the home you shingled yourself lasts. FALSE, if it lasts less than 10 years.

Here’s suggestion Number 1. Ask a reputable roof shingle company to come and consult you on site. It will cost you a nominal amount of money to have an expert consult you on shingle choice, roof specifications, and installation of the shingles correctly. Heck, a lot of shingle experts will even come by when you are working on your home and correct what’s a little “off” and you will be so glad you took our advice and did this one small inexpensive step.

DO NOT re roof your home with shingles without an expert shingler on your roof or consulting you.

What we see every year is folks that want to save money on the re-roof of their home – which we totally get. Instead of asking for help with HOW TO SHINGLE YOUR ROOF PROPERLY, they go out, buy their shingles at the local hardware store, and then shingle their home without prior guidance.

Here’s what happens, and it happens a lot. We could tell you story after story after story where homeowners re-roofed their own home and this occurred…

  1. The shingles, the shingle underlay, the shingle flashings, etc….. are improperly installed and the shingle manufacturers warranty is now void.
  2. Because the shingles are engineered to be installed a certain way to shed the water and the homeowner didn’t install the shingles the correct way, THE ROOF IS NOW LEAKING.

  3. The homeowner then attempts to repair the shingles to save face, hoping to save hundreds/thousands of dollars that could be used otherwise

  4. It rains again, and the SHINGLES ARE LEAKING AGAIN. You see what’s coming?

  5. You fix the shingles again. Only this time, things are getting tense because you are now reminded of the $2,000 repair to the interior of your home (and you are not even going to believe that there is more damage in the attic space itself).

  6. It rains again, and you are praying like mad the shingles won’t leak … and here we go, THE SHINGLES ARE LEAKING AGAIN.

  7. I won’t scare you so much that you now click out of your internet browser… so you can conjure up what occurs at stage 7 in the “how to shingle your roof with success drama”.

  8. You finally give in……. and you call the ROOFING EXPERTS TO FIX YOUR SHINGLES while YOUR ROOF LEAKS AGAIN.

  9. The roofer voices their opinion on the previous installer’s ineptitude, (but you don’t let it hurt your feelings … much).

  10. After having incurred the cost of the shingles that you didn’t install properly, you now have to buy the shingles all over again.

The lesson…. have a professional roofer install your shingles OR hire a professional to at least consult you on how to shingle a roof properly.

I will guarantee that you will be happy you did.

So if you want to shingle your own roof – all the power to you, just call and get a hand with doing it right.

Until next time,
The Roofers at GRS


General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.


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Top 10 Snow Removal and Ice Dam Advice for DIY Homeowners

General Roofing Systems Canada provides snow and ice removal services throughout Canada. Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Many homeowners are asking us for a “how-to” snow removal guide because our waiting lists are long in the Edmonton area. Under normal circumstances, we would say nature should run its course and you should not be concerned – leave the snow on the roof.

However, in central Alberta, roof top snow has become a considerable hazard. Roofs are failing, mostly commercial and industrial. Even agricultural buildings at this point have been reported in the news. Car ports and other home attachments are also being added to that list. Ice damming has also become a safety hazard to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Removing snow on your own from your roof is dangerous. There are many deaths reported annually in North America caused by roof snow removal. If you are considering braving it alone and are not hiring or waiting for a professional in the Edmonton area, here are some tips to assist you in your removal:

Our Top 10 Roof Snow Removal and Ice Dam Advice for the DIY Homeowner:

  1. You need a partner. When working on the roof, especially with ice and snow, do not work alone.
  2. Your partner needs to ground spot. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be hit by snow being thrown off the roof. This is especially important if you are in downtown Edmonton or in a busy commercial area of the city.
  3. Leave some snow on the roof; do not remove the last layer. This is important so as not to do damage to the roof and inadvertently cause a puncture.
  4. Roof weight loads. Snow and ice can be different weights depending on the atmosphere and weather patterns experienced. Be careful with gauging how much snow a roof can handle as snow weight can vary from year to year. A structural engineer should be called if you are concerned. Most homes are well equipped to handle the loads, but this has been an exceptional year of snow in Edmonton. When hearing about commercial and industrial roof collapses, understand that they have roofs that span great areas. Typically, homes have higher pitch roofs and/or flat roofs that are much smaller spans.
  5. Safety first. A harness, rope, anchor, lanyard ladder tie-offs, roof cleats, etc. are mandatory.
  6. Falling off a roof hurts, injures and kills people. We have already received a number of calls in the Edmonton area where people could not wait for us because a leak was aggravating their property. Today we got a call from a daughter who was quite upset that her elderly father got up on the roof and broke his hip trying to make such a repair.
  7. Keep the foundation clear. If at all possible, move the snow that comes off the roof away from your foundation so that in the spring you do not have foundation leaks and related problems.
  8. Do not wreck your roof. Ice salting your roof can damage your shingles or flat roof membrane. Shovels can damage shingles and flat roofs. Stepping in the valley can crack shingles, as well as stepping on roof capping; cracked shingles leak. Stepping on concrete tile, cedar shake, slate, etc. can crack them. Shake roofs are very slippy when wet. This list is enormous – there are many ways to wreck a roof system or roof membrane when clearing snow from your roof top. If you do hire someone, be sure they are very experienced roofers.
  9. Do not be held liableIf you hire a snow removal contractor, but sure they have liability insurance of at least $2,000,000 and are WCB registered. Request a WCB clearance letter that shows they are current.
  10. Check your attic. Many ice dams on roofs in Edmonton this year (due to record snowfalls) are being caused by a problem in the attic. Poor ventilation traps warm air here. Your house could have a condensation issue as a result. Check the air intake under the soffits and be sure your insulation is not on top of the air intake. Check your vapour barrier; is it sealed? Or is it allowing warm air into your attic, which then causes the roof material to warm and freeze? Also check your exhaust vents near the roof ridge (or peak); are they plugged with snow? This is one of the most common problems we are uncovering right now. Your roof needs to be able to breath and the attic needs to be cold or else serious problems will ensue. While up in your attic, you should also check for structural cracking in the roof truss system. Check insulation to be sure it is dry and check the roof sheathing to be sure there is not excessive frost on the underside. Lastly, check your venting requirements for airflow to ensure that you have enough vents installed.

For those DIY roofers in Edmonton, we  hope this article has helped.

Our final piece of advice is to simply wait for the professional. Please.

‘Til next time,


Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

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