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How To Walk On A Roof Safely

How To Climb A Steep Roof

How to Walk on a Metal Roof Safely in 2021

Most homeowners already have some of the equipment necessary for climbing onto a steep roof. A wooden or aluminum extension ladder can do the trick to get you high enough to take your first steps onto the roof. Make sure that your ladder has a 7 to 10 feet overhang at the top of the roof. Secure the ladder to something sturdy such as any available scaffolding or a tree to prevent it from moving during your ascent. You may consider securing the bottom to the foundation and the top to the eaves of the house to prevent it from sliding.

Refrain from carrying heavy tools up the ladder with you. They can throw you off balance and make it more difficult to focus on the climb. Instead, you can haul them up to the roof using a bucket on a rope once you are already safely at the top of the ladder.

In addition to fastening your ladder appropriately, you may want to make sure that you have the proper climbing and rappelling gear. A harness can help to protect you in case you do accidentally slip while walking on the roof. Make sure that it is fastened to a sturdy anchor that will not give way under the sudden weight. Many people prefer to fasten their equipment to a close tree or their scaffolding.

How To Walk On A Steep Roof Safely

Cleaning the debris off your roof or making minor repairs is considered to be common practice for many handy homeowners. The longevity of your roof depends on these two activities, and you can potentially extend the lifespan of your roof by several years with the proper care and maintenance. However, some homes pose a problem when it comes to walking on the roof to take care of these chores. You will have to learn how to walk on a steep roof in order to perform these routine tasks safely.

While it isnt impossible to walk on a steep-pitched roof, it does require a little bit of planning and a lot of safety precautions. If you need to climb up on your roof for any reason, make sure you read this safety guide first!

Descend The Roof Properly

Once you are done with the job or at least done for the day, its time to get off the roof. A good tip for descending a steep roof is to walk down a valley whenever possible. The valley is where two parts of the roof form an aperture. Walking down the middle of the roof is more hazardous.

Another tip for descending safely from a steep roof is to reverse your body from your position to climb up the roof. Leaning back against the pull of gravity on your way down to the edge of the roof will allow you to balance better.

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Walking On A Metal Roofs In The Rain

We dont recommend you walk on metal roofs in rainy conditions. This is because there is double the chance of you slipping as the metal roof is wet and slippery. Therefore, reschedule anything you have to do on top of your roof and decide on a clear sunny day to do it.

Even if you have to go up there necessarily, take all the precautionary steps. Wear shoes with soft rubber soles, use a harness, rope, and anchor, use gloves, and place one step at a time. Pay close attention to each step that you take, and try to be as slow as possible.

Where Should I Step

How to Safely Walk on a Roof Without Slipping

Knowing where to place your feet when walking on a tiled roof will help to keep you safe.

The majority of concrete roof tiles will be slightly lifted from the roofs surface as they sit on top of wooden batten strips. This creates a space beneath the tiles to allow for better ventilation.

When you step on the roof tiles, ensure youre stepping on the tile peaks rather than the valleys, and step on the part of the tile which is reinforced i.e. the lower part of the tile you can see.

Whenever possible, there are some key precautions that you should take. If you have a harness, you should always wear one, and make sure to have someone with you at all times who can get help should you have an accident.

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Is My Roof Safe To Walk On

Whether its for repairs or an inspection, many property owners may consider walking on their roof. The question is whether its safe or not. Nobody wants to put themselves at risk to save a bit of money on a professional job, after all. Read on as we explore the safety of walking on roofs.

Can I walk on my roof?

In short, the answer is no. Its never a good idea to walk on any roof unless youre trained to do so. Even the strongest looking roofs can be very fragile. And the results can be disastrous. The slope on a tiled roof makes it highly dangerous to walk on. Slipping or tripping on a loose tile is enough to send you tumbling causing damage to your property but most importantly yourself. Saving a few pounds is not worth risking your life. These problems arent eliminated on a flat roof. Even without the slope of a pitched roof, many roofs simply arent built for the extra load of a persons weight. In the blink of an eye, the roof can collapse beneath you, leaving you seriously injured and your property in need of significant repairs. Remember no domestic homes have any edge protection on their roofs so a fall to an untrained person is easily achieved.

What to do instead

Whether its to remove moss, fix gutters or simply inspect the state of your roof theres never an appropriate time to walk on your roof without training. The alternative?

Get in the professionals.

How To Safely Get Up And Walk On Your Roof Using A Ladder

Walking on your roof is a dangerous business. Thats why roofing is one of the most dangerous professions out there. And thats why most roofing jobs should be left to the professionals. With that being said, there are some small jobs that you might not want to call in the big boys for. Perhaps you just need to clear some debris off the roof after a storm, or maybe you want to check for damages. Whatever the case, if you are going to get up and walk on your roof, you need to make sure you take the proper safety precautions to avoid injury.

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Do Roofers Wear Special Shoes

Roofing shoes are a specialized type of work boot. They typically have a different tread style that prevents slipping while walking on a roof. Some specialized roofing shoes have unique features, such as soles with integrated magnets for walking on steel roofs and replaceable foam rubber pads designed to maximize grip.

About Steep Roofs And How To Safely Work On Them

How To Safely Walk On Your Roof – Tuesday Tip

Before it was reshaped by an Earthquake, the Hillary Step was a steep vertical portion of frozen terrain near the top of Mount Everest, almost 29,000 feet above sea level. The cliff was named for the famous climber and explorer Sir Edmond Hillary who, with sherpa Tenzing Norgay, was the first to conquer the climb in 1953.The Hillary Step itself was merely a 40 ft. high cliff, but for climbers losing their footing and without secure roping, the fall could be 8,000 ft. on one side of the step and 10,000 ft. on the other side Seven times higher than New Yorks Freedom Tower! That ought to put steep slope roofing work into perspective, right?

While steep slope roof replacements and repairs might not be quite as harrowing an adventure as climbing Mount Everest, roofers have to be well trained, well equipped, and pretty fearless to conquer the task.

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What Qualifies As Steep Slope Pitch

Steep slope roofing is defined by roof pitches above 4/12, according to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As most roofers know, this means that vertical rises of more than 4 inches for every foot going up the slope is the starting point for whats deemed steep slope roofing. In terms of angles, a roof would be considered steep-sloped if it rises at an angle of 18o or more that would be equivalent to about a 4/12 roof pitch. Of course, many roofs are much steeper than 4/12, and the steeper a roof is, the more problematic it can be to measure, fix, or replace it.

Software such as iRoofing readily takes care of the measuring and estimation processes for steep slope roofs. Using drone, satellite, aerial, or blueprint images, any roofing pro can measure the square footage and the SQs of a steep slope roof in a matter of minutes.

Save a Trip Up the Ladder. Use Roofing Technology

Make Sure Your Ladder Is Secure

Ladder injuries are one of the most common types of injuries for roofing companies. To avoid your ladder from slipping out from under you, youll want to make sure it is properly secured. To prevent the ladder from sliding from side to side, secure it to an anchor point with rope. Always make sure that your ladder is on flat ground with no bumps or divots, and ensure that the top of the ladder extends at least 3 feet above the roof. This will help to prevent it from sliding.

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Find Out If You Can Walk On A Metal Roof

One of the most common misconceptions is that walking on a metal roof will damage it. On top of this, there are many other materials to avoid while construction such as concrete or clay tiles which can get damaged with foot traffic and asphalt roofs may prematurely wear out if you walk across them too much. Metal doesn’t have these limitations because unlike some other materials like asphalt, metals wont be worn down by long-term use!

One of the major myths about metal roofs is that people believe they cannot walk on it without causing permanent damage – however nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, one reason why we advise against any significant foot traffic in substances including concrete or clay tile sheets during installation would lead to destruction but not! Some people would prefer to walk on a metal roof, but they should know that it is not advisable for safety reasons. If you are going to allow someone else onto your roof, make sure they follow sound safety procedures and OSHA requirements!

Some homeowners might want the option of walking their own roofs – even if only while working with contractors at high heights. However, this decision can be dangerous due to lack of traction or supports from underneath the surface which could lead them right off the edge in an unfortunate accident. Make sure anyone involved knows about these risks before letting them up there so as not compromise themselves or those around them unnecessarily

Tips On Walking On A Metal Roof Without Slipping

Roof safety how to walk on the roof frame

The metal roofs are commonly used in many homes. It has many benefits. They are durable, long lasting and require no maintenance.

However, it is important to walk on them carefully so you dont slip or hurt yourself in the process of walking. To avoid further accidents, follow these tips.

  • Wear shoes with a good grip.
  • When youre going outside to walk on your roof, always wear sturdy boots or shoes that provide excellent traction and support.
  • If you dont own any such shoes, consider purchasing some before venturing onto the roof again.
  • Shoes like this will help prevent injuries from happening if you slip on the wet metal.
  • Know what to watch out for.
  • Be aware of any bolts, seams or other protrusions on the roof that could cause you harm if your foot gets caught.
  • You should also keep an eye on anything around where youre walking so you know exactly where every step is going to take place before it happens.
  • This will help prevent accidents from occurring.
  • Avoid the edges of the roof, as they tend to be slippery and dangerous.
  • If you must walk near an edge for some reason, do so by hopping from one foot to another rather than taking a single step with both feet at once.
  • This will help prevent accidents from happening due to carelessness on your part or bad weather conditions.

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Tips In Cleaning Your Roof

When it comes to keeping your house clean, you cant forget about the roof. Yes, your roof is exposed to all kinds of weather and a lot of dirt and grime will stick to it over time. If not cleaned regularly, youll end up with a grimy roof thats an eyesore.

The best way in cleaning the moss and algae formations on your roof is to use a garden hose with high-pressure water. This will prevent damage to the shingles and other materials used in constructing the roof.

Another thing you need to remember is, do not make use of detergent or chemicals as this might corrode your roof.

In case there are stains imprinted on the roof due to rocks and other debris falling off from the trees, you can try scrubbing them with a broom. For stubborn stain marks, soak a cloth with white vinegar and apply it to the stained area.

Let the vinegar sit for about five minutes before you wipe it off with a damp cloth. Do not rinse off any excess liquid using high-pressure water as this might cause damage to the roofs materials.

Lastly, make use of a garden hose in removing debris that sticks on your roof after each cleaning session.

Can You Damage Your Roof By Walking On It

As touched on earlier, you can damage your roof by standing or walking on it. If the shingles are damaged they may buckle under your weight and present a potential safety hazard such as slipping. In this case, you should have them replaced to avoid future injuries.

Walking on the roof could also cause other issues like leakage from an improperly fixed shingle that was not replaced as well as you should have. You may also damage nails, gutters, downspouts, and other roof features that are not meant to bear weight.

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Safety Measures For Steep Roofs

When working with steep slope roofs, including the initial measurement process if youre not using roofing software, extra fall protection equipment is required by OSHA. Not all of the following is required, but at least one of these precautionary solutions must be employed:

  • Guardrail systems and toeboards
  • Safety net systems
  • Personal fall arrest systems

NOTE: Requirements vary state-to-state and work on government projects tend to carry stricter safety measures. OSHA grants exceptions in cases where these safety solutions are infeasible, but as a roofing business owner you are required to demonstrate those special conditions.

Guardrails are barriers affixed to the roof slope. The barrier rises vertically from the roof and acts like a rail fence to catch a worker who loses his or her balance or slips and would otherwise fall off the structure on which theyre working. OSHA outlines very specific standards for these guardrails, which are available online at

Safety Nets

Primarily used in commercial construction and roofing projects, netting systems are designed to withstand the weight of a falling adult, like the netting beneath trapeze artists at a circus. Cantilever netting uses a system of extended poles or stanchions between which pockets of safety netting are securely connected and run the length of a lofty work area.

Personal Fall Arrest Equipment

Other Safety Solutions

  • Roof Boots

How To Walk On A Metal Roof

Roof safety how to walk on the roof frame

To walk on top of your metal roof, you should take the following safety precautions:

  • Always wear the proper safety equipment like hard hats and slip resistant shoes when working with metal roofs.
  • Wear clothing that will protect against possible cuts or punctures from sharp edges of your metal roofing material too!
  • Keep in mind that you should never walk on a wet surface because it can be slippery which makes it dangerous to stand up on top of your metal roof.
  • Walk in the middle of the panels instead of on their edges to avoid punctures or cuts too!
  • Its important not to walk near any sharp objects like rake nails, broken shingles or other debris that you might step on when walking across your new metal roofs.
  • Watch out for nails or other sharp objects that can puncture your shoes.
  • Stay off of the roof if it is wet outside to reduce your risk of slipping too!
  • However, you should avoid walking across metal roofs in high winds because there might not be enough support for the added weight and pressure on top of them.

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Getting Up To The Roof Safely Is The First Step

If you dont own one already, buy or rent a sturdy extension ladder that extends at least 3 ft. above the roof edge. Aluminum is the lightest, but fiberglass ladders provide better protection against electrocution in case the ladder accidentally touches a power line or live wire. If possible, set the ladder on firm, level ground. On uneven ground, place squares of plywood under one foot to level the ladder base and then secure it with wire or rope tied to stakes. Fasten the top of the ladder with rope or wire tied to a secure anchoring point such as a 20d nail driven into a rafter. That will keep it from sliding sideways as you step onto the roof.

Stepping from the ladder to the roof or from the roof to the ladder is precarious and can be unnerving. Here are a few pointers to make it easier and safer:

  • If possible, avoid carrying anything up the ladder. Use a helper and a bucket tied to a rope to hoist up tools and supplies.
  • Extend the top of the ladder at least 3 ft. above the roof edge so youll have something to hang on to as you step onto an off the roof. Never step on any of the ladder rungs above the roof.
  • Keep two hands on the top rung of the ladder as you step onto and off the roof.


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