The Roof Replacement Process

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The Roof Replacement Process

Roof replacement is something some homeowners never have to face if they move frequently. Most homeowners, however, will need to replace a roof sometime during their homeowning lives.  

As a not-very-frequent home improvement, it is helpful to know about the roof replacement process in order to know what to look for when you compare roofing quotes. Similarly, you should be aware of what to expect from your roof contractor during the roofing installation process.

When something goes wrong, such as roof leaks or storm damage, it is best to act quickly to prevent further damage to the roof and to your home’s interior.  You’ll avoid further stress and perhaps save some money by replacing the leaky roof before the damage leads to to bigger repairs elsewhere.

And, if you are selling your home, a buyer will expect that the roof on the home they are purchasing should last more than a few years and not require any roof repairs.  A roof at or near the end of its useful life will be reflected in the home’s value and consequently, in its sales price.  

Roofs are one of the most expensive parts of a home. They protect you and everybody and everything inside from the weather and water damage. When your roof is solid and maintained, a potential buyer will not need to worry as much about other major systems in the home because they will see that the roof has been cared for.  Your roof replacement cost may also be fully recouped in a better sales price.

These steps will outline the normal progression of a roof replacement project.

  1. Consider the Type of Roofing Material You Want to Use for Your Replacement

You can replace the roof on your home with a similar material, or you can choose to update the look of your home with a different roofing material choice.  Since the roof makes up a large part of the exterior look of your home, a change will make a big difference in the look and appeal of the home.  A roofing company will be able to help you select the best roofing option for your style of home and your budget.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most used residential roofing material.  They are affordably priced, come in a wide range of colors and are readily available.  The typical 3-tab shingle roof, which has been around for decades, has now been joined by dimensional and architectural shingles which elevate the look of asphalt shingles.  By adding shading and layering, asphalt shingle manufacturers have a product that competes favorably, both in looks and price, with higher end roofing materials such as cedar shake and slate.

Metal Roofing

Making a transition from commercial and agricultural applications to residential homes, metal roofing has become increasingly popular with today’s homeowners.  It’s pluses are its longevity, a Class A fire rating, its lighter weight when compared to alternatives, it is reflective, and insect resistant. Standing seam metal roofs have become a design favorite with architects and builders because in most cases, it can be installed over existing trusses without modification.

Tile Roofing

Tile roofing has come a long way since the terracotta barrel tiles found along the Mediterranean coast for the past few thousand years.  Roofing tiles now include concrete, composite materials, ceramic, slate roofing, metal and solar.  A tile roof will typically last to 50 years which balances out the fact that most tile roofs are heavier than their shingle counterparts.

Wood Shingle Roofing

The cedar shake roof is a mainstay in the wood roofing category. Other wood species have become hard to come by, but cedar has endured.  Cedar shakes are hand-split vs cedar shingles which are machine cut.  The upscale appearance of a cedar roof and its curb appeal are reasons shy it retains its popularity. Insulating properties and insect resistance are other important reasons.

Flat Roofing

If your home has a flat roof, you have a few choices for coverings.  TPO, EPDM, rubber roofing  and bitumen are common options. Spray foam roofing has started to make inroads in these roof coverings because of its insulating properties, the speed of application and the fact that it lasts 2 to 3 times longer than most flat roofing systems.  Many flat roofs are considered cool roofs because of their highly reflective, light surfaces.

The roof removal and reroofing process changes somewhat from the steps below for flat roofs.

  1. Get several quotations from local, reputable contractors.

While this may seem an obvious step, you want to get multiple estimates. A few roofing company estimates will give you an idea of the real replacement costs of your reroofing project.  A price too high, or too low, should be a red flag that something isn’t quite right.  

The added benefit of multiple quotes is that every expert contractor will have a professional opinion of the best course of action for your roof. This is valuable information for you as a homeowner that you can’t get anywhere else. We’ve even seen where a majority of the contractors advised against a whole roof replacement because it simply wasn’t needed.  All the roof needed was some minor roof repairs.  It’s usually the case that the homeowner saved money because they got more than one price for the job.

A reputable local roofing contractor will have several positive reviews, a state contractor license and be an established member of the community. Beware of door-to-door roofers who may not be based in your area.

  1. Prepare Your Home and Driveway

Clear out your driveway.  There will be a dumpster and several trucks that may need close access to your roof. You can ask a neighbor or park on the street.  You don’t want your vehicles anywhere near where there may be roof debris coming off the roof and accidentally flying into your cars.

Similarly, remove any patio furniture, grills and garden decor from around the perimeter of your home. These may get damaged as well.  Cover shrubs and other foundation plantings.

In your attic, cover anything that may get damaged from dust or dirt. If the underlayment is coming off too, then your attic storage will be exposed to the elements so you should protect it or remove it. If rain is expected, your contractor should tarp the roof rafters to protect the attic floor and your home interior from water damage.

4. Removal of Existing Roofing

Removing your home’s former roofing system comes next.  Shingles, flashing, drip edges, underlayment and roofing nails will all be lifted and discarded in the dumpster.  Any other work such as replacing vents or skylights will be addressed at this time.

5. Drip Edge and Underlayment

The underlayment protects your roof deck and may consist of felt paper or synthetic underlayment.  Felt paper is the standard because it is cost effective and works well.  Synthetic, although more expensive, never rots or cracks.

The drip edge is a metal piece that protects the edges of the roof from water penetration.  It is at this point where the ice and water shield is applied to the roof rake edges to stop ice dams from occurring.

6. Install Flashing and Roofing Shingles

As the shingles are installed, your roofer will install flashing.  Flashing will need to be applied to any roof protrusions (such as chimneys, skylights and vents) as well as in the valleys between where different sections of the roof join together. Any roof vents that provide attic ventilation will also need to be flashed.

The process continues, each layer of shingles applied on top of the last layer, until the roofers reach the ridge vents and ridge cap.

7. Disposal and Clean-Up

All debris from the roof removal and installation process should be cleaned up from the property and disposed of in the dumpster. Roofing nails have a habit of escaping the first go-around of clean up. Most contractors will use a magnet tool to pick these up.  The dumpster will be picked up and hauled away when the roof has undergone roof inspections by the roof contractor and the homeowner.

8. Warranty

Make sure that you keep your roofing warranty in a safe place and the written guarantee from your roof contractor as well.  If anything should go wrong, you’ll want to have these written agreements handy.  Similarly, if you have purchased a separate policy from home warranty companies, you might need that as well.

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