Extend Shed Roof Life Easy DIY Way
A common sight: the back yard shed
The Shed in the Back Yard
If you own a shed as an outbuilding in your yard, I am guessing that you really depend on it to store seasonal equipment (lawn mower, bicycles, snow blower, gardening tools) that otherwise would not have a “home.” Since the shed, whether ready-made or built from scratch, would cost several hundred dollars to replace, it would be foolhardy to allow it to deteriorate. During a recession, replacing the shed might be very low on your list of spending priorities. Your life will be better if you can make the shed last as long as possible.
Shed Roofs Take a Beating
Unless termites, carpenter ants, and confused wood-munching beavers frequent your neighborhood, I will wager that your shed walls are relatively sound and safe. The roof takes the worst beating. Sun, rain, wind, snow and hail pelt it throughout the year, slowly eroding the shingles. Eventually moisture seeps down tiny crevices into the plywood. Now the trouble magnifies exponentially with permanent moisture, mildew, and breaking down of the roof.
We do not want that!
Disgusting Water Damage to Roof Plywood Underlay
Protect the Shed Roof without Spending Big Bucks
However, what can the frugal shed owner do if there is no money for reroofing?
Following are 2 strategies. The first is tried and true, conventionally sound advice. The second is off the wall and unproven, but it sounds good. They can be used together
Tactic Number 1
Trim back any branches of trees or shrubbery that lean on the roof. Also, remove any vines or climbing plants. Be brutal. Identify the branches that may clear the shingles in dry conditions, but lean wetly upon them when weighted down with rain, snow or ice. ATTACK those babies! Cut them far back. Remember that they are alive and will start growing back.
No Tools for Tree Trimming?
What can you do if you don’t own pruners, trimmers, chainsaws or other implements of plant shaping? Remember this is a frugal plan. Running out to buy such tools is not part of the destitute spirit here.
One idea: barter! Craigslist has a barter section within its For Sale lists. (There is also a Free section: maybe you will be really lucky!) You can creatively offer services of yours in exchange for pruners. If Craigslist does not yield the right tools, perhaps you can do old-fashioned borrowing. Does a neighbor have hedge clippers or such devices? Trade a batch of freshly baked bread for the use of the tools for a weekend. Please clean them before returning. That is just good borrowing etiquette.
If you really come to wit’s end, use the “wrong” kind of saw or a steak knife.
Tactic Number 2
Paint the roof. Spend a mere $20 or so per gallon and coat your shed roof. We are not proposing special roof tar, roof patch, or roof caulking. Desperate economic times call for creative, cheapskate-ly, penurious measures. Frugalize!
Buy the store brand of latex paint. If exterior paint is more expensive and does not fit your budget, go for interior paint. Illogical, yes. What we are going for is the quick fix of water repellant. Some protection is better than none. The temporary fix takes care of today and tomorrow. When next year arrives, you can reassess the bank account and behave more conventionally, if you wish. In the meantime, look for the discounted “Oops!” paints.
Brick Red "New" Roof
Unscientific Test Proving Nothing
Below are photos of untreated shingles and then brick red painted shingles with water poured upon them. Please observe the neglible difference. Perhaps a year of weather is required to see if there is any merit, at all, in roof painting.
Unpainted versus Painted Roof Shingles
Make Your Life Better
Here you have two ideas which can be implemented with some time and a lot of creativity on your part. Ben Franklin’s truism about a stitch now saving the need for nine stitches later applies to saving the shed roof. Furthermore, replacing a shed roof or an entire shed is a much bigger, more expensive deal than a nine-stitch long hole in a garment! Save the shed and have money for other beneficial items.
Please share any results, but only if they are positive! Or funny! :D
Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan, all rights reserved.
More by this Author
In Lebanon County, PA, the Habitat for Humanity store partners with a Christian mission - a collaboration which works very well. The RE-BUILD-IT STORE has used building supplies plus used housewares.
8 great thrift stores along Route 422 in Lebanon, PA. Addresses, phone, hours, maps, and more info given.
Description of steps to get rid of basement water due to cracks & small holes in the foundation walls. Product recommendations. Personal experience shared by a non-construction worker homeowner gal.