I put the roof on the chicken-house addition to the Wife's barn yesterday, which was my contribution to this rather ambitious project. (Not an ambitious project as building the barn itself, which she did with some proper builder help a couple years ago.)
She's really perfectly capable of doing this work herself, except that she's afraid of heights. So, any time she's in a building mood, I know that there will come a time when I have to be the ladder man.
There's so much I don't know about roofing, but I managed to unroll the tar paper and then hammer in 18 courses of shingles, score and bend some aluminium flashing into approximately the right shape, and then top that off with some siding and enough caulk to, hopefully, keep the water out.
When you don't know what you're doing but you want to make it look like you do, there's nothing more masculine and confidence-inspiring than running a bead of caulk.
All in all, a good dry run for the time this fall when we've got to replace the rotting wooden shingles on this 300 year old house, and perhaps a great deal of the plywood or whatever they used before plywood, underneath. When it rains, the leaks are manifold. And roofing contractors want some serious money to take care of our problems for us.
The good news is -- and this came as a great surprise to me -- even though I may not know a good deal about roofing, all of the instructions for doing it properly are right on the packages of shingles. The same way there are instructions for properly applying paint on every can, and for changing your oil right there in the owners' manual of your car. You don't have to call a contractor or check the internet or attend vocational school to learn this stuff.
You can just buy the product and read the directions. It really is deceptively simple!
(Although my aching legs and back would beg to argue.)