Unsure how getting a new roof works?
Regardless of your choice of roofing material, replacing your roof is a valuable investment. It requires both time and preparation to accomplish properly. Otherwise, you’ll waste valuable resources on a project that won’t improve your home.
Are you ready to learn about roof installation and what to expect? Read on to find out how it works:
Determine Whether a Replacement is Necessary
Sometimes, all you actually need is repairs to your roof. Now, it’s a little more complicated than just “replacing a shingle.” If repairs are needed, make sure to have a licensed roofing contractor inspect the damage and provide you with an accurate scope of work. This will prepare you for exactly what needs to be done.
The newer the roofing system, the easier it is to conduct a repair as the shingles will pass Brittleness Tests and potentially reseal. Replacement is necessary when the damage is more extensive; especially if your property was hit by a hail storm. Most manufactures produce lifetime products in both asphalt shingles and composition roofs. Again, make sure that your roofer is licensed and we recommend always having a complete roofing system with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Another sign you might need to replace your roof is when you’re experiencing leaks. Minor leaks might not seem to be a major concern; however, the water damage can lead to black mold and wood rot. If your roofing system has a leak – act fast before it damages your property and affects any future insurance claim.
Now, if you are tired of arriving home to the same bland property you purchased years ago, a full roof replacement will increase your curb appeal and add real equity to your property! The current real estate market is hot and if you are thinking of selling, now is the time to capture the equity on the front end. Did you know that the number one concern for new home buyers is safety? Well, a new roof with an extended warranty will put all buyers at ease and provide them with the safety they want in their new home. You might just start a bidding war!
Find a Contractor
Once you’re sure about the roof replacement, your next step is to find a roofing contractor. Do your research and make sure to choose a certified and licensed professional. To narrow down reputable companies, go online and read the customer reviews. A good place to start is with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since their reviews are more objective. Google Reviews also does a great job and is a very handy tool.
Choosing contractors with experience is critical for a successful project. It ensures they actually know what they’re doing and will follow best practices. Don’t take referrals from friends at face value, do some due diligence to make sure the contractor has a good reputation. Find out how long they have had their crews and how they deal with challenges. Ask for references!
As part of your research process, be sure to check that your contractor has the right credentials. Firstly, ask what licenses they carry, and make sure they are registered to operate in your state.
Secondly, check their insurance. Uninsured contractors can wreak havoc on your finances if things go wrong. Note that most cities require roofing contractors to carry a License, Liability Insurance, and Workers Compensation.
If your contractor doesn’t have the right Liability and Workers’ Comp coverage,any injuries at your property will fall under your homeowners insurance. This is something you do not want as falls from roofs can be fatal, and you could be on the hook for medical bills and lost wages.
Get a Roof Inspection
After selecting a contractor, ask them for an inspection. A good inspection will include Test Squares where the contractor will identify hail and wind damage. A Test Square is a 10’ x 10’ area chalked off on each roof slope. The damage identified is then extrapolated over the entire roof. The key is to identify if the damage is consistent. In other words, similar in size and shape and matching the collateral damage to the gutters, downspouts, AC Unit, Mailbox, Window Screens, Window Wraps, and Siding.
An inspection of your roof’s ventilation system is extremely important as a roofing system should breathe. Cool air should flow into the attic space along the eaves (Soffit Vents) and warm air will exhaust along the ridges (Ridge Vent, Turtle Vents, Turbines/Whirly Birds/Power Vents) or gable vents. If you own an older home and do not have soffits, you can always add eave vents to allow for the correct amount of intake. The correct airflow will keep your attic space cool, reduce the amount of humidity, and increase the life of the roofing system. The 1/300 rule should apply.
The next step of the inspection will be the flashings, eaves and rakes. This information is key to understanding what is on your roof. Valley Metal, Step Flashing, and Counter Flashings are the most common during an install, and fasteners can penetrate them. In other words, they are nailed through.
Most roofers will cheapen up a system by reusing old and damaged flashings. Especially if you have filed an insurance claim and the contractor is eating/waiving your deductible. In the end, you are paying for it! The reuse of damaged flashings is not compliant and a very poor roofing practice. The flashings are part of the system and they must be removed and replaced if you install a new roof.
Ask your contractor to provide you with photos of any damage and their findings in a detailed inspection report. A good contractor will understand all aspects of construction and be able to explain, in detail, the method of repair.
An easy-to-read, detailed report informs the homeowner about issues with their roof and allows the roofing contractor to develop an estimate. This estimate gives a rough idea of the scope of the project’s work, and a breakdown of costs for any upgrades and extended roofing warranties. During this process, ask a lot of questions! The installation of a new roofing system is extremely complex and must be coordinated by an experienced roofing company.
A good question to ask your roofing contractor is about other possible expenses. Do they include clean-up, dumpster rental, and other trades in the quote? This is an important practice to avoid getting surprised with sudden change orders during the build.
Pick a Color and Select a Shingle or Tile
Your contractor will provide samples of various roofing materials. Be sure to carefully explain your budget, preferences, and needs. Check in with your HOA and see what products and colors have been approved. Now you can narrow down your selection and request samples. If you are undecided on a color, use an online design tool.
Here are some of the most common residential roofing systems available today:
- Architectural/Laminate Shingles
- Asphalt Shake Style Shingles
- Metal Roofs
- Metal Tile (Decra & Boral)
- Standing Seam
- Composite (DaVinci & Boral)
- Concrete Tile (Stoneworth & Boral)
- Ludowici Clay Tile.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular and economical roofing material around. The primary appeal is the color selection and variations of designs. Depending on the size of your property, one of these systems can be removed and replaced in a day.
The demand for metal roofing has increased. It’s excellent if you’re looking for a material that can withstand extreme weather. Make sure to select the correct gauge and install a 50 year underlayment. You have selected a lifetime roofing system! Lately, we are seeing metal selected for cottages, bungalows, cabins, and modern homes. Metal roofs are incredibly durable and can last up to 75 years with proper maintenance.
Wood Shingles and Shakes
Most people like the rustic look and feel of this roofing material. As time passes, they turn into a fine gray hue. The most common trees used for wood shingles include cedar, redwood, and southern pine.
Cottage and bungalow-style houses benefit the most from wood shingles. It is said that Shake can last up to 30 years if properly maintained. Unfortunately, the current wood products are grown so fast and don’t quite live up to the “old standards.” This is why you are seeing a lot of composite designs (DaVinci) on the market. The new composite products are lifetime (50 year prorated warranties) and if installed correctly, look fantastic!
Slate is beautiful, elegant, and durable. If your home has a Colonial or European architectural style, slate roofing can look great. Slate also comes in various shades, from black and green to purple.
As a safety feature, slate roofs are naturally fire-resistant. They’re also sustainable, recyclable, and can last well over a century. The primary drawback is the price tag since they’re a little more expensive than other roofing materials. Similar to Shake, manufacturers like DaVinci have designed composite slate tiles with lifetime warranties.
Clay and Concrete Tiles
If your home’s style is Mediterranean or Spanish, Clay and Concrete Tiles are the best match. They give a gorgeous texture and hue to your roof. Clay’s durability is exceptional, with high-quality systems lasting well over a century.
The key behind these systems is the underlayments and the flashings. Do not cheapen up “lifetime!” We recommend Copper and Lead Flashings as you won’t ever need to replace them. If you don’t have a Clay or Concrete Tile System and are thinking about having one installed, STOP! Get a Structural Engineer to assess the property first as these systems are extremely heavy. Your property must be able to support the live load of this new system.
Removing the Old Roof and Inspecting the Old Wood Sheathing
You have picked your color, signed a contract, and work is scheduled. You should be notified of material delivery and the crew’s arrival time. Your property will be protected and a tarp should be placed over bushes and landscaping. Any outside furniture will be moved and stored safely. Remember, thousands of pounds of material are coming off your roof. Be sure to take any breakables inside. Clear your driveway and get your vehicles out onto the street. Thousands of nails are holding your current system in place and they will all end up in the dumpster.
When the crew arrives, and they will arrive early, they will walk the property and identify starting points and access to your roof. Before you know it, they will be tearing off. Crews are efficient and most are extremely experienced. Everyone has a role and they play their part. Tearoff will start along the ridge and hips. The crew should focus on clearing one slope first to allow the shinglers to start. The Ridge Cap, Field Shingles, Asphalt Starter, and Felt Paper/Synthetic Underlayment will be removed.
Once the first slope has been cleared, the sheathing will be inspected. If an Ice and Water Shield is in place, the crew will inspect those areas by hammering in multiple locations to test the hardness of the sheathing. The key is to make sure one has a nailable surface (IRC R905.2.1). You do not want shingles fastened to an unstable surface. This might void all of your manufacturers warranties. If the sheathing is compromised, the crew will notify you and your contractor will provide a bid to install the new sheathing per code.
Moisture Barrier: Synthetic Underlayment/Felt Paper
The main purpose of a roofing system is to shed water. This is where your underlayments come into play. Products have been developed to keep properties dry and manufacturers offer up to 50 year warranties on their materials if installed correctly. Felt Paper was the go to for new construction for years, but times are changing.
Synthetic Underlayment is gaining market share as it is stronger, lighter, and has 5 times more coverage than a standard 2SQ Roll of Asphalt Saturated Felt Paper. Most manufacturers now require Synthetic Underlayments for their System’s Warranty. They wouldn’t back Synthetic Underlayment if they didn’t believe in it.
The install of the Underlayment is pretty fast. Crews will clean and inspect the roof’s sheathing, remove or nail flat any fasteners, and replace any damaged/compromised sheathing. They will then install the Ice and Water Shield in the valleys and along the eaves. If your property has a steep roof or large soffits, you might be required to install two courses of Ice and Water Shield. Check your local building codes as Ice & Water Barriers are required 24” beyond the interior wall to prevent Ice Dams.
Flashings and Starter Courses
Gutter Apron should be installed along the eaves before the Ice & Water, and Drip Edge is installed along the rakes. New Valley Metals will be put in place and then the crew will lay out the Asphalt Starter Strip along the eaves and rakes (for a higher wind warranty).
After that, it’s time to install the new roofing material. For shingle roofs, they’ll put the first row along the rakes and eaves. This is known as the starter course, and most roofers lay them rapidly. Once this is laid, the average asphalt roof takes 1 – 3 days to complete. While larger roofs obviously take more time, other factors such as the slope of your roof, material choices, and the current state of your roofing system can all extend the project timeline.
Once the roofing system is in place, your roofing contractor will clean up any debris or waste created during the work. Generally, they will have a man on the ground keeping the area clean during the build. Tools like an Equiptor to clear roofing waste, and magnetic sweepers to collect stray nails can help to speed up this process.
The best roofers will have project managers on site to coordinate and make sure everything meets their expectations. A final walk of the roof is recommended to make sure all exposed nails are sealed, gutters are clean, and the driveway is free of nails.
Before selecting your contractor, be sure to ask them to explain the build and how they install a roofing system. Know what equipment will be on site and understand the cleanup and punch list process. The build day is hectic and there is a lot of coordination.
Get a New Roof Today!
Now you know what to expect when having a new roof installed. Knowing what to anticipate helps prepare your budget and expectations. And remember, if you’re working with a reputable, fully licensed and insured roofing company, you’ll have less to worry about. We highly recommend using General Contractors if you have multiple trades. That way you have one point of contact, know that all the crews have been vetted, and carry the correct insurance.
Think you might need a roof replacement? Contact us here and request a free estimate today!