Roof Replacement: A Homeowner’s Guide to Getting A New Roof

roof replacement

Is it time for a roof replacement? Chances are you’ve been suffering long enough with the issues on your roof that you decided that it’s time to get a new one.

Since getting a new roof installed isn’t as common as having a plumber fix a leaky faucet, you probably have zero idea about what goes on and what to expect. One of the top questions you may have in mind is “What is the process of getting a new roof?” There are a number of steps when getting a roof replaced, and it starts with hiring the right contractor, protecting your property, tearing off the old roof to the actual installation of new roofing materials – all of these and more we will cover in this article.

What is the process of a roof replacement?

Step 1: Hire the right contractor

Before anything else, the first step to having your roof replaced is choosing the right contractor. It is key that you choose a qualified roofer for the job as their skill and experience will affect the quality of your roof. Hiring the right contractor could mean getting a roof that has a long life span that can withstand even severe weather conditions.

(We will dive into more details and provide you with tips on how you can find the right contractor, so continue reading!)

A roof inspection is crucial before you purchase materials or get work carried out. During this process, a professional roofer will check for any signs of damage, such as missing flashing, loose shingles, pooling water, and more. Reputable roofing companies would also come inside your home to inspect the interior of your roof/attic. This is so they would not miss any critical signs of leaks and damage that could cause future roofing issues.

Step 2: Decide on roofing materials

Besides choosing which contractor to work with, another important decision that homeowners will make is choosing the right materials for their new roof. Although you can rely on the advice of your roofer for this, it’s also helpful to know your options.

Here are the most common roofing materials in the US:

  • Asphalt Shingles – This is the most widely used roofing material in the country as they are affordable and very easy to find. They are lightweight, easy to install and it’s also easy to find a roofer that has experience installing this type of material.
  • Wood Shake – Compared to asphalt shingles, which are flat and common, wood shakes are more aesthetically appealing. This type of material is also durable but can be expensive. Also, this type of roofing is high maintenance (would require treatment to prevent molds and insects), and it is not advisable for homes in areas that are prone to wildfires.
  • Slate – Another option that is appealing to the eyes is slate tiles. This type of roofing material is highly durable but is quite expensive. In addition, slates are heavy and would require repairs that could be costly.
  • Tile – Tile roofing could either be made from clay or ceramic. This roofing option is good if you’re going for durability as a tile roof can last up to 70 years in the right environment. However, this material is not ideal for areas that experience tornadoes, hurricanes, and heavy snow.
  • Metal – This type of material is becoming a popular option for homeowners over recent years. Metal roofing is durable, resistant to any climate condition, and has fire-proofing properties. There are also plenty of metal roofs to choose from (some even look like shingles). The downside of getting metal roofing is that you need to look for a contractor that specializes in installing this type of material, which could increase labor costs.

Read: 10 Common Roofing Problems that Homeowners Need to Look Out For

Step 3: Delivery of materials

Now that you found a roofing contractor and have decided on which materials to use, the next thing to expect is to get the roofing materials delivered to your home. Often, the roofing contractor will have these materials delivered the afternoon before or the morning of the roof replacement. These materials should be placed on a clear dry area that is close to the roof access point.

Unless unavoidable, don’t allow the contractor to deliver the materials a couple of days in advance. You don’t want your lawn to get damaged because there are pallets of shingles lying on your grass.

Step 4: Prepare property for roof tear off

When the roofing contractor arrives on your property, you want to make sure that all your vehicles are moved out of the driveway or garage. Take note that there will be heavy foot traffic once their work starts, so you want to get your vehicles out so you can come and go as you please without being blocked by the contractor’s tools and equipment.

Doing this will also protect your vehicle from any debris that could fall off the roof while it is being replaced.

The contractor will then take all the precautions to protect your property while they are installing the new roof. Plywoods and tarps will be used to cover the sidings, walls, and plants. They will also place tarps on the ground to serve as their dump zone.

Step 5: Removal of old roof

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This is where the actual work on your roof will begin. The roofer will remove the old shingles before the new ones are laid down. This is done so that there will be space for the new roofing materials and so that the roofer can inspect the wood decking under the existing roof.

The roofing contractor will need the right equipment and manpower to accomplish this job. For example, they might need a dumpster to place all the old materials for easy disposal.

Step 6: Wood decking inspection

As the old shingles are torn off the roof, the next thing that the contractor would do is to inspect the decking (a.k.a. sheathing) under it. The contractor must ensure that the wood decking is in good condition as the new roofing materials need a solid base so that they are installed correctly.

If you’re getting a new roof because it was damaged by severe weather or a falling tree, there is a huge chance that the sheathing also sustained damages. Or if you had problems with leaks for a long time, it is also possible that the decking has rotted due to moisture, so you should be ready in case it needs to be replaced.

Step 7: Drip edge and underlayment installation

After the wood sheathing is thoroughly inspected and/or replaced, the next step would be the installation of drip edge and underlayment.

The drip edge is a metal flashing that is placed on the edges of the roof to prevent water from going under the roofing components. The underlayment, on the other hand, is a waterproof material that is placed in between the decking and roofing materials. This helps prevent the water from the rain or melted snow to seep into the sheathing and damage the surface.

Step 8: Installation of new materials

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Finally, the contractor will start installing the new materials on the roof surface. Roofers will start laying the new shingles from the bottom up and will also place ridge capping, vents and counter flashing where needed.

Step 9: Site Clean Up

After the new roofing is installed the contractor will begin cleaning up. Contractors will also blow off the roof, gutters, and downspouts to clear them off of any debris. Tarps will be rolled up and the roofers will also spend time cleaning the grounds, removing nails that fell off from the roof.

Step 10: Final Inspection

After the installation and your property is cleaned, the roofing contractor will go up to the roof to take a look around and double-check their work. They will also look at areas that are prone to leaks such as around chimneys and skylights.

When the contractor is satisfied with the installation and ensured that it meets the quality of their work, the job will be considered complete.

How long does it take to replace a roof?

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There is no exact answer as to how long it takes to replace a roof. Take note that a couple of factors can affect the timeline, such as the type of material used, the type of roof, as well as the experience of the crew.

Asphalt shingles are the easiest to install and would take only one to two days for the installation, while wood shakes will be installed in around three to four days. A tile roof will take a little longer, around eight to nine days, while a slate roof takes around six to seven days

Click here for an idea about the cost to replace a roof.

Tips to choose the right roofing contractor

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As mentioned earlier, the quality and lifespan of your roof will depend on the contractor you will hire, so you must hire the right one. Here are our tips for choosing the right roofing company to replace your roof:

  1. Check their reviews – Do your research and look for reviews about the contractor you’re planning to hire. Check the company’s website and also social media pages to see what their past clients say about them.
  2. Ensure clear communication – A roof replacement isn’t a straightforward process so you want to be sure that the roofing contractor that you’re talking to communicates well. They should be ready to answer your questions about the process, how they work and if you have any concerns. It is a red flag if the company avoids answering your questions or isn’t getting back to you in a timely manner.
  3. Seek their credentials – Only work with contractors who are licensed and have the credentials to complete the project.
  4. Talk to several contractors – Contact and get quotes from three to four roofing companies before closing any deal. This will allow you to compare prices and see which contractor is the best one for the job.
  5. Review contract and warranty – Before signing a contract, make sure that you thoroughly read what’s in the contract and you’re aware of the warranty coverage. If something is unclear, a reliable contractor will take time to explain the details to you.

Ready to replace your roof?

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