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How to Extend Shed Roof Life Easy DIY

Updated on August 27, 2019
Maren Morgan M-T profile image

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

Back Yard Shed

Wooden shed with shingled roof.
Wooden shed with shingled roof. | Source

The Shed in the Back Yard

If you own a shed outbuilding in your yard, 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. Replacing the shed might be very low on your list of spending priorities. Life will be better if you can make the shed last as long as possible.

Shed Roofs Take a Beating

A shed's 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 underlayment. If that happens, the trouble magnifies exponentially with permanent moisture, mildew, and breaking down of the roof.

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, but buys a little time for you. They can be used together

1. Pruning

Trim back any branches of trees or shrubbery that lean on the roof.

Be brutal.

Also, 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.

Also, remove any vines or climbing plants that are heading towards clinging to roof shingles or shading them. Cut them far back.

Hacks Around No Tools for Tree Trimming

What can you do if you don’t own pruners, trimmers, chainsaws or other implements of plant shaping? Running out to buy tools is not part of the frugal fixer plan.


Craigslist has a Barter section in 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.

Make the whole shed last longer by keeping the roof in good shape.

2. Painting

Paint the roof.

Spend a mere $30 or so per gallon and coat your shed roof. This is not with special roof tar, roof patch, or roof caulking, although you can go that route for more money. No, this is with exterior paint.

Buy the store brand of latex paint. Latex cleans up with water and soap. Oil paint is harder to clean from brushes and your skin.

(If money is really a problem and exterior paint does not fit your budget, go for interior paint. Illogical, yes; but 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.)

Brick Red "New" Roof

The roof paint is different than the original brown shingle color, but it works.
The roof paint is different than the original brown shingle color, but it works. | Source

Water Resistance Prolongs Roof Life

Below are photos of untreated shingles and then brick red painted shingles with water poured upon them. Observe the difference.

Unpainted Shingles 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 Easier with Inexpensive Shed Roof Trick

Here you have two ideas which you can use spending only a little time and very little money.

Ben Franklin’s truism about a stitch now saving the need for nine stitches later applies to saving the shed roof.

Replacing an entire shed is a much bigger, more expensive deal than a quick fix now. Save the shed and have money for other fun purchases.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Maren Elizabeth Morgan


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