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Extend Shed Roof Life Easy DIY Way

Updated on July 26, 2014
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren is a one-person fixer of "TLC Needed" houses. She explains methods simply to homeowners who are not in the construction trades.

A common sight: the back yard shed

O shed, my shed, protector of the flowerpots and garden knick-knacks, stand tall for many a year!
O shed, my shed, protector of the flowerpots and garden knick-knacks, stand tall for many a year! | Source

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

A picture is worth a thousand words.
A picture is worth a thousand words. | Source
Or one word: eeeeuuuch!
Or one word: eeeeuuuch! | Source

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

It is different than the original brown, but it has not brought death threats from the neighbors.
It is different than the original brown, but it has not brought death threats from the neighbors. | Source

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

Unpainted, old roof shingles.
Unpainted, old roof shingles. | Source
More unpainted shingles.
More unpainted shingles. | Source
Paint protecting the shingles.
Paint protecting the shingles. | Source
Painted shingles shedding water!
Painted shingles shedding water! | Source

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.


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Hey Doodlebugs. I hope the paint idea is not total baloney, but it just makes sense to me!

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

      Good Hub on how to save yourself buying a new shed roof. Good info for these tough times.