Walking on a pitched roof

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On my street, I see roofing guys walking on these very pitched roofs, almost seems like nothing to them. I try and I'm sliding. I can't do it. I have a 2 story house, with a 1 story attached garage, and the gutters are in a spot where the 1 story meets the 2nd story, and I would like to get up and clean them.
I can't do it, I feel like I have no traction.
This might seem like a stupid question, but is it mental? I don't think I'm afraid, as I do make the trip up there and try.
It is the shoes/boots?
Steve
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Both. Practice, no fear of heights, and the correct soft-sole shoes. I cringe when I see roofers working in hardsole lugged boots- hell on the shingles. I prefer soft-sole clean tennis shoes, and walk as gently as I can. I don't walk near as close to the edge as I used to- my body is trying to tell me something with that queasy feeling in pit of stomach when I stand right at a dropoff now. Guess the inner ears are going. For gutters, I now clean from above, with a leaf blower. Walk parallel to gutter an arm-length back, and use it like a firehose. Works great on continuous gutters, not so hot on old soldered galvanized. For a 12-12 roof, I'd clean from below, or hire it out.
aem sends....
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aemeijers wrote:

I've heard it isn't just the inner ear which deteriorates and affects balance. A physical therapist told me a while back that it's also the feedback from the muscles/nerves around your feet and ankles which do not supply "tilting" signals as well as they did when they were younger.
I guess that guy was right when he told me that once your body reaches a certain age everything either breaks down, dries up or leaks. <G>
****************8
This thread is as about as serendipitous as it could be for me. When I arrived home from work last Friday I noticed that a few feet of one end of the ridge vent on our two story colonial home was flapping in the breeze. I don't have any problems being up two stories on an extension ladder, painting something, but like the OP, walking on pitched roofs freaks me out. And, at the tender age of 71 I'm definitely noticing that decreasing balance ability thing crreeping up on me.
I was envisoning having to call a roofer and pay whatever it took to buy 15 minutes on the job to tack the ridge vent back down again, 'cause for one thing around here the worker's compensation premiums for employees who do that for a living are a bit over 100% of their wages.
This time I got lucky and found a local (fearless) handyman advertising in the town paper who was happy to do the job for me for about the cost of a good meal. He insisted on shooting in galvanized screws (with washers no less) to replace the original roofing nails which had pulled out, and then went the entire length of the ridge, ending up putting in more screws than an x-rated movie, just to "make sure" it wouldn't happen again.
****************
BTW, here's a tip for you ladder users. If you take a few seconds to spray paint the lowest rung on all your ladders with an easily visible paint, like day-glo orange, you'll greatly lessen the chance of stepping off the second rung by mistake and messing up your ankle, an open can of paint, or both.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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While we are on the subject of a pitched roof, I'd like to know how to attach a safety harness cable. I have a deadly fear of ledges ( not heights, as a pilot that would be quite a problem :o). This fear of ledges would be greatly reduced if I felt secure in a safety harness. Where and how would I attach this on the roof without drilling any holes? I've watched contractors run around with their safety harnesses but I couldn't see how they where attached.
Claude Montreal Canada.
I hope this is all legible, my mother tongue is French.
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Well, for myself, I drilled a hole and sank a 4" galvanized eyebolt into the ridgepole, and caulked the shit out of it, but I expect that professionals use sort of flat nailing plate like the ones on roof jacks, that slide under the shingles.
--Goedjn
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This Old House demonstrated this method of safety. The guy was putting in solar roof vent fans. Strapped in for safety.
The best AND last height for me was a 15 story; on a swing anchored on the roof. Putting in corner bead on columns. The wind blows in off the beach, pulls the swing away from the work. Yep, take me down; I'm done. Oh, no harness - hard to work with one arm holding on. I was younger then.
-- Oren
"equal opportunity, not equal results"
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Part experience, part shoes. I have walked a 6/12 pitched tile roof for over 12 years now. The first half dozen times it was very spooky. Now, it's no big deal.
Critical that the roof be dry and the shoes be rubber soled. Leather is a recipe for disaster. Kerp yourself vertical or tilted slightly towards the peak. Walk across the pitch on an angle, not straight down.
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Steve wrote:

What I used to buy in my roofing days that worked best were those cheap cheap cheap canvas shoes from walmart/K-mart. Soft soles. "dessert boot" styled shoes also worked well. You could walk up a 10x12 easy enough, though in the heat of the summer you are taking a risk. Also the foam rubber inside a couch cushion works well to skoot around if you don't feel safe walking, use two different cushion foams to move around. Though if you are steeper than 8x12 you may want to pass for safety sake.
Lar
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Walk up a 10x12? That is near vertical.
Harry K
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Walk up a 10x12? That is near vertical.
Harry K
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Harry K wrote:

36 x 12 is closer to vertical :) on a piece of paper, from a starting point, go 5 inches vertical and from same point go 6 inches out horizontal. That will give you the angle of a 10 x 12. When working on that pitch there would definitely be "toe boards" secured to the structure as a working platform. Come down grab a handful of shingles and proceed on. This was only on the right conditions, usually working in the morning. Anything steeper it was quicker to work of the bottom toe board as high as you could reach then secure another row of toe boards and move on up...
Lar
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12 / 12 is a 45 degree angle. 10 / 12 is less.
--
Steve Barker

YOU should be the one
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wrote:

Of course! Don't know where my head was.
Harry K
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LOL. It does matter what type of shoe you wear. On the crew I was on basketball sneakers were preferred. Chuck Taylor high tops were the favorite. I used a type of shoe that used climbing rubber for the soles.
Technique is important also. It is similar in a way to downhill skiing. In order to ski correctly your weight has to be directly over your feet. The instinctive reaction is to lean up hill and this result in slipping and falling. Yu have to actually have to point your mass downhill to maximize the mass over the skis.
It's the same on the roof. If you are fearful you will lean uphill which removes part of your weight from your feet and causes you to slip. You actually have to lean downhill a bit to keep your weight over your feet. It is a scary thing to do especially at first and you have to be confident in your balance.
To lean downhill when you are up on the roof is what you have to do to keep your weight over your feet. I was able to do it because of my backround as a skiier so experience is the best teacher.
Sometimes a new guy on the crew will quit before the first day is over. Occasionally we hired a guy who only will work on the ground. Confidence is the main thing. You either have it or you get it or you quit.
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I wear non-slip rubber soled shoes. you can get them at payless shoes or sears. also, if doing alot of work on roof buy metal angles that are made to support a piece of 2X4 and attaches to roof under shigles. available at home depot or lowes
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DONT WALK UP THE VALLEYS! It can damage the flashing below and cause leaks........
you have been warned!
your better off cleaning from below or getting the gutter helmet and end the cleaning forever
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wrote:

What about, I saw sketches of this long ago, taking a ladder and attaching a 4x4 or something at one end and hooking it over the crest (if there is no ridge vent)? Do these slip off?
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A ladder with stand off brackets works fine also. Here's a pic of my dad working on installing our sunpipes
http://www.sydneybarker.com/images/DSCN1254.JPG
--
Steve Barker

YOU should be the one
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We had a ladder like that on our crew. We called it the "chicken ladder" and they make the ladder for that purpose. Don't know if that's the real name.
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wrote:

Maybe it got that name because it was first used in the chicken industry.
Or maybe, because those who use it are thought to be chickens!
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