A Beginner’s Guide to Roof Replacement for Homeowners

A lot is riding on your residential roofing.

It carries the weight of the world while withstanding decades of scorching sun rays, pounding rains, gusting winds, and icy winters all while looking good from the street.

As a homeowner, getting a roof replacement can seem like a daunting undertaking.

While it is expected that the contractor will walk you through the process and help you to prepare for the work beforehand, it is not always the case.

This article provides all the information you will need to prepare for your roof replacement.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Roof

If you are concerned about the condition of your roof but aren’t sure if it’s time for a full replacement, pay attention to the following signs.

These are clear indicators that it’s time for your roof to be replaced.

End of Life – No roofs last forever (although copper comes close). Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing materials and they have an average lifespan of 15-30 years. Metal roofing lasts about twice that long. If your roofing materials are nearing the end of their lifespan, it’s time to consider a replacement.

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Significant Damage – The best way to check for roof damage is to have a professional inspection. The inspection should be free of charge and is the best way to evaluate every inch of your roof for any damage. This may include curling, broken, or missing shingles as well as leaks, wind and storm damage, or sagging roofline issues. While roof repair may be an option in some cases, as a rule of thumb, the most effective solution for damage that affects more than 30% of your roof is a replacement.

Two Methods of Roof Installation

When your roof is due for replacement, there are two options you can choose from; overlay or complete removal.

1. Overlay – This replacement method consists of installing new shingles or metal roofing without removing the old roof material first. While most building codes allow for two layers of asphalt shingles on a house, it is not recommended by experts.

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The benefits of overlay:

  • An overlay is cheaper because you save the labor and disposal costs involved with removing old shingles.
  • This method also reduces waste by simply covering up the old roofing material rather than disposing of it.
  • It is also a faster way to install the roof as you don’t have to wait for the old roofing materials to be removed.

Why roofers don’t recommend overlay:

  • Putting an additional layer of shingles over the old one may make the roof too heavy and cause structural issues.
  • Some manufacturers consider the terms of warranty breached if you overlay new shingles over old ones.
  • When you simply cover up old shingles, underlying problems may be ignored and contribute to worsening existing damage.

2. Tear-Off – This is the recommended method of roof replacement installation. It starts with the complete removal and disposal of all old roof materials before the installation of a new roof.

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Why choose a full replacement:

  • When you remove the existing roof, it is easy to spot underlying problems with the sheathing or decking and take care of them before replacing them with new roofing materials.
  • A roof installed after tear-off is typically more durable because the shingles can lay more flat when installed.
  • This is the best way to ensure that the manufacturer’s warranty is guaranteed.

Important things to know about a complete replacement:

  • Typically, this will be more expensive due to the additional labor and materials required.
  • There is some additional time required to tear off the old materials, but most roofers can have your old roof gone and replaced with a new one within 2-3 days.

Because building codes only allow up to two layers of roofing materials, you may not have a choice and will be required to tear them off before a new installation.

8 Tips To Prepare For Your New Roof

Once the roofing company arrives, your home turns into a work zone. Preparing for this experience ahead of time can help eliminate some potential liabilities.

  • Protect Your Kids – Kids may be mesmerized watching the roofers rip, tear, haul, and nail, but it’s important to keep them inside and away from any potentially dangerous materials.
  • Inform Your Neighbors – It is a polite gesture to let your neighbors know when you’re having your roof replaced. This way, they are informed of the upcoming noise and the possibility of nails or shingles in their yard so they can take precautions during that time.
  • Provide Several Power Outlets – Your roofer should come with all of their own tools and equipment, but it is helpful to ensure your external electrical outlets are working and available.
  • Move Your Vehicles – When tearing off an old roof, roofers will toss the shingles onto the concrete or pavement below. If you regularly park your car on the driveway, move it to the street to avoid damage.
  • Remember the Attic – If you have any storage in your attic space, you’ll want to cover it with drop cloths or sheets. The activity on top of your roof may cause a lot of dust and debris to fall into your attic.
  • Cut Grass and Trim Trees – A day or two before the contractors arrive, mow your lawn. This will keep the debris visible and make cleanup faster and more thorough. Be sure to trim any trees that have significant overhang to ensure your roofers have access.
  • Reposition Grills, Patio, and Toys – Don’t forget to check the backyard as well. Reposition your grills, patio furniture, potted plants, kids’ toys, and anything else that may get in the way.
  • Cover Your Plants – Fragile plants are always vulnerable to falling shingles. If you have plants that are important or valuable to you, cover them or point them out to the contractors so they can avoid them if possible.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace Your Roof?

According to forbes.com and homeadvisor.com, the national average cost of roof replacement in the US is $8,000 and $8,706 respectively. The majority of homeowners spend between $5,000 to $12,000 depending on roof size and material. In many cases, this replacement cost is covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Factors That Affect Cost of a New Roof

The range of roofing costs is in the thousands of dollars. So what makes the difference between a $6,000 roof and a $12,000 roof?

The following factors may affect the cost of your roof replacement and are important to keep in mind.

Size of Roof – Larger roofs are more expensive for several reasons. They take a longer time (increased labor costs) and use more materials (increased material costs).

Type of Material – Some roof materials are more expensive than others. Your roofing materials may be entirely up to you or may be dictated by an HOA. Asphalt shingles are the cheapest (and most popular) roof material on the market. Other materials like slate, metal and tile roofs are more expensive.

Roof Fixtures – If you have a chimney, skylight, eaves, or other roof fixtures it may contribute to higher costs. These types of roof fixtures require more time and effort by the contractor to work around and add to the cost.

Cause of Damage – Your out-of-pocket costs can be significantly reduced if the cause of roof damage falls under your homeowner’s insurance coverage. If your roof was a victim of natural disasters like hail or storm, some or all of your replacement costs may be covered by insurance.

Hire a Professional

Choosing the right roofing contractor is the most important decision you can make for your next roof replacement.

The right roofing company should have a permanent business location, communicate clearly in a timely manner, be licensed and certified, have good reviews, offer comprehensive warranties, and offer free inspections and estimates.

Choose a roofing contractor who cares about your roof as much as you do and give us a call today!

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