Roof Safety.

4 Feb 2011
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United Kingdom
I am in the process of replacing slates on my semi detached house. I have completed the back roof and the ladder seemed very secure and rigid, using a universal roof hook on my ladder, which goes over the ridge. But on the side roof, there is no ridge for the hook to go over. What is the best way to secure the ladder to the side roof? Should I remove some slates and tie the ladder to the rafters or is there perhaps another method that someone can recommend? I am using a roof anchor and full body harness (not forgetting the rope of course)
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Roof irons and Long heavy batten should do it mate. Remove slates from near the bottom. Hammer in roof irons to trusses make sure they go all the way through and are secure. Fit batten on top make sure batten can comfortably hold your weight. Then i would place a small ladder onto the batten that will give you access to the slates higher up if need be. Make sure you've got someone holding the ladder securely. Take your time and make sure you can deal with what your doing otherwise call in the pro's. Time you aquire the roof irons and batten etc it might be an idea to call someone in anyway. Roof ladder wont sit flat on it, not suitable for the job if its what i think it is.
Yes, I have a Will, also I have the will to do things for myself. Over the winter, I made a study on how to work safely on roofs, that's how I found out about roof anchors, harnesses, rope grabs' etc. As a result I have 2 safety lines, one across the roof and one at 90 degrees to the roof so I can hook myself up there. I do understand how dangerous it can be for an untrained person such as myself to get on a roof so I take every precaution I can think of. Roof irons I presume, are also known as roofing jacks and I have made my own. My method is to remove some slates and screw the jacks to the trusses, making sure they are quite rigid.

Roofers down my way are very busy this year due to damage caused by the Winter storms, I live close to the sea in a severe weather area. Last month, I counted 4 houses in my road having roofing work done. I can take the whole Summer to do this job if I need to and am not rushing things, picking days with the most suitable weather. Thanks for the advice.
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Sounds like extreme roofing your doing here! Roof irons are a scottish thing, which are best used on a sarkin roof for access up the roof with a scaffold in place. Is it not possible to hire a scaffold tower?
"I do understand how dangerous it can be for an untrained person such as myself to get on a roof so I take every precaution I can think of."

Have you got scaffolding or a tower up?

Do you also have someone else with you in case you do fall and injury yourself to call for help?

Why not get a scaffold, they're quite good.

Much better than full mountaineering kit in any case. Roofers swear by them.
I did look into having scaffolding erected and discovered that it is charged by the meter, £85 a meter being a typical price. You are allowed 6 weeks to do the job before it gets taken down. I would need 10 meters, hence £850. A scaffold tower is no good except at the side as I have a verandah roof at the front and a conservatory at the back.

Extreme Health and Safety regulations have ruined this country, all policed by jobsworths. There is no reason that I should not be able to fix my roof myself and in complete safety, always provided that I plan each stage carefully and do things in a methodical fashion. I am always hooked up to at least one and sometimes two points.

I agree that a professional roofer could fix my roof in two or three days, whereas I might struggle to get it all done in two or three months. I am retired and my time is my own. I have something to do and get some exercise as well.
If you have a climbing harness then you could loop the rope round the chimney then absail down to were you need to work, you will probably need to remove the ridge tile at the top of the hip and screw a large eye into the ridge to stop you falling sideways.
Couple of scaffold towers with a youngman board. Not ideal and frowned upon by hse but its a platform. Bearing in mind you need somewhere to stack the stuff. It could possibly be the last excersise you do if you proceed with your plan!
Please upload some pictures of said repairs if you are still alive in 3 months.

I won't even entertain this sort of work without a scaffold or tower at the minimum. Just not worth it to save the customer money.
A local scaffolder should charge no more than £300 - £500 tops.

Our local firm would prolly charge about £200 for a straight 10m run.

£850 is ridiculous but still better than ropes and harnesses.

Thank you for all your comments and the experience and advice you have so freely shared, it is much appreciated. Even the pessimistic comments are valued.

Here are 2 pictures taken while I was doing the back roof, hope I have done things correctly. Sorry the quality is not that great. I forgot to take one of the completed job. I have now moved on to the side roof. Next job there is to fit my roof irons/jacks, put a board across, put a roof ladder up and clamp it to the roof trusses. I have snookered myself here because several years ago, I filled the gaps between the lower slates with sealant so now I have to dig it all out before I can remove slates. This was done in an attempt to stop water running down an inside wall during heavy rain and high Westerly winds. I know now the the problem is possibly because the slates do not extend far enough into the guttering. My roof has no underlay, it was built that way.

No work the past 2 days as Saturday, although sunny, was quite cold and today I was roped in to a run a few old ladies to church for the Easter day service. This afternoon was cold with a light misty rain. Hope it is better tomorrow.

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