Roof Renovation: Reasons, Benefits, Permits & Cost

If your roof needs assistance, you’re in good company. Around 7% of roofs on single family homes are replaced every year. That’s roughly 5.2 million homes! After 20 or so years of service, roofing materials begin to show their age – but worse yet, they start to fail, which means the moisture begins to seep into the interiors. Bringing in a qualified roofing contractor for your roof renovation is necessary for protecting your home and everything in it.

Glenn Ellyn roof replacement project

Before you can identify the best contractor for your roofing project, you’ve probably got a bunch of questions, including: Does your roof need to be replaced or repaired? What are the signs to look for in a roof that needs help? How do you plan and prepare for this project and what will it cost? And finally, how do you find the best contractor to handle your project?

Top reasons to renovate your roof and the benefits you’ll see

A house is not a home without a roof protecting it. That’s why staying on top of the condition of every part of the roofing system is important. It’s designed to take a beating from the elements, but after years of harsh sun, high winds, ice, snow, rain and debris, it begins to show some signs that repairs or replacement are forthcoming. But age and weather damage aren’t the only reasons to take on a roofing project. Everything from technical to visual aspects can inform roofing project decisions.

The following are some of the most common reasons for renovating a roof:


Solar energy

Installing photovoltaic panels for solar power generation can sometimes coincide with a roofing project, as the panels are attached to the roof and it’s cost effective to replace roofing materials that will be covered by the solar panels for many years to come. For example, rather than place the panels on a roof that is 20 years old and will soon need to be replaced, it’s more financially feasible to do the replacement now rather than remove the panels, replace the roof and re-attach the panels later.


Thermal protection

If your roofing system is old, there’s a good chance the materials were not made to be as proficient at protecting against heat and cold as more modern materials. Plus, they’ve probably lost a good percentage of the protection they were originally designed to offer. If you see your energy bills increasing, you can reverse that trend with a renovation.


Poor roof installation

It might take a while to show, but when an unqualified roofing contractor installs a roof, they take shortcuts that will show up sooner or later as flaws that can impact the roof’s ability to protect your home. From buckling and missing shingles to moisture causing mold and mildew problems in the interior surfaces, these imperfections will only get worse and the roof will need to be renovated soon.


Roof age

No matter how experienced your roofing contractor is, the materials used in roofing projects have a shelf life, which means they don’t last forever and will eventually begin to show their age. One of the most common telltale signs are leaks. Old roofs are notorious for leaking, which will require repairs from a qualified contractor. While repairs will only work for a limited amount of time, some older roofs still have some life in them and don’t need to be replaced immediately, which makes taking on simple repairs an easier route.


Weather damage

Roofing materials are made to stand up to some extreme weather, but when Mother Nature unleashes her full fury, nothing can hold up to the punishment. One of the more common culprits is hail. When the wind speed is right and the hail is .75 inches or larger, it will damage the roof and require renovation. Heavy snow and damaging ice storms can also take their toll and require attention from a trusted roofing contractor.


Home additions

Homeowners are increasingly adding on to their homes instead of navigating the brutal real estate market for a larger home. Adding an addition just makes sense, but keeping a consistent look on a house that has undergone an expansion is tough when new roofing is installed on only the new section. Homeowners will often undergo a complete roof replacement with such projects, giving them a consistent look, but also decades of protection on the entire home.

There are many reasons to undergo a roofing project, but regardless of your reason, make sure you’ve got a qualified roofing contractor on your side so this important renovation goes smoothly and will protect your home for many years to come.

Considerations for planning a roof renovation

From knowing when to take on a roof renovation project to getting an accurate estimate of the costs involved, there are plenty of things to consider as you plan your project. Let VIS Exterior help you with some answers.

vinyl siding roof replacement after hail damage

Being informed before your roof renovation project gets started can make a project go much smoother and keep the surprises at a minimum or avoided altogether.

The types of roof renovation

Your roof might be leaking in only one spot and require a simple fix. You could have one section of a roof that needs to be replaced (usually because of a wind storm coming from one direction), but the remainder of the roof is perfectly fine. There are also situations where only the shingles need to be replaced and the roofing system below it is still performing perfectly and can remain. Or, your roofing project could involve replacing everything, including the plywood roof decking. A qualified roofing contractor will inspect the entire roof and help you make the right decision.

Inspectors truly know what to look for, such as signs of humidity getting in through the attic, causing signs of slight damage on the walls of the attic, or leaks that have left signs of damage on the attic floor. They will investigate the attic and elsewhere to spot signs of roofing failure.

In the best-case-scenario, they’ll find a single area, such as a displaced shingle that needs to be replaced. An aging roof might present more serious issues that point to a complete roof replacement. And for those roofing systems that have been neglected for years and years, the structural material, including the roof decking, will be compromised, which means it will need to be removed and replaced with new plywood before a new roof can be installed.

Roof renovation permits in Illinois

The permit situation is often different from one village, township or city to another. While some areas of Illinois do not require a roofing permit, others do. For example, some towns will require a roofing permit if you’re tearing off an old roof before installing a new one. Always check with your city government about permits before embarking on a home improvement project.

Top signs you need a roof renovation

If your roof is getting on in years or if you’ve experienced a big storm or a string of them in recent months and are curious about damage that might have occurred to your roof, there are some signs to look out for.


Before you call in a roofing contractor for an inspection, the following are some things you should look for:

The roof is old

Just because your roof is “old” doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced. Some will outlast their projected lifespan, but to be sure, look for discoloration on the shingles. This occurs after years of exposure to ultraviolet rays of sunlight hitting your roof.

Discoloration can also occur after years of exposure to the elements, including wind, rain, snow and ice. Older roofs are also prone to algae growth, which when bad enough can lead to leaking. If your roof is 15 years old or older, there is a chance it will need some sort of maintenance, but to know the severity of the problem requires the trained eye of a professional roofing contractor.

Water damage

Most water damage goes unnoticed for a long time, as it is in the attic and only becomes an issue when the problem gets out of hand. Checking spaces in the attic for areas where moisture is getting through the roof is the best way to detect it early.

If you’ve got water dripping from your ceiling or your walls, you’re definitely going to need some assistance from a roofing contractor, as this means there is significant damage that requires immediate work.

Energy efficiency and ventilation issues

A healthy house “breathes,” which means air is allowed to flow and prevent moisture/humidity from collecting in areas of the home. However, when a house is breathing too much, it can lead to energy efficiency issues.

A poorly installed, aging or damaged roof can lead to higher energy bills, as its ability to keep the cold out in the winter and heat out in the summer forces the homeowner to rely on the heating and cooling system to compensate. Qualified roofing contractors can determine if the ventilation in your home is adequate.

Curb appeal

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, you are most likely thinking about its curb appeal. This covers a few areas, as curb appeal on its own speaks to the aesthetic of the home. A new roof can drastically improve its appeal to potential buyers.

Secondly, when a potential buyer sees that the roof is new, they know there’s a chance they will never have to take on the expense of replacing the roof, which is a huge bonus and can lead to a faster sale. Finally, a new roof increases the value of a home, which means you can sell it for a higher price.

These are just a few of the reasons you might take on a roof renovation. To get the most value out of the project, be sure to partner with a qualified roofing contractor.

Prepare for the roof renovation project

You’ve decided it is time to renovate your roof, and maybe you’ve even decided on the type of roofing materials you want to use, their color, shape and size. Now comes another round of questions you’ve got on your mind that need to be answered, including the best time of year to do the project, who is going to do it and what you need to do to get the house ready.

These are important questions, and the more you plan now, the fewer problems you’ll have to deal with later. Furthermore, being prepared offers peace of mind, which means you can be excited about the project rather than stressed out.

The best time of year to start a roof renovation

First and foremost, rain is one of the worst situations for a roofing project, as moisture is the very thing a roof is built to protect against, so trapping moisture in new roofing materials is not ideal and best avoided at all costs. So, we can comfortably deduce that months more prone to rain are not good ones to plan for a roofing project.

lp smartside siding roofing

Also, we have to consider that the ideal temperature for installing a new roof is between 70 and 80 degrees, so that means summer months are preferred. Generally, roofing contractors will avoid projects when the temps hit 40 degrees or below, as this is not ideal for adhesive products often involved in roofing materials. Tackling a roofing project during the fall months can also be preferable, but only when rain is not in the forecast and the temperatures are still moderate.

How long does it take roofers to renovate a roof?

The best roofers do not cut corners and never rush a job to get to the next one, therefore it is to be expected that a new roof cannot be installed in a single day unless the home is significantly smaller than the average home. Most projects are scheduled in advance, so if the weather doesn’t cooperate, that could impact the amount of time it takes to finish the project. Furthermore, the time it takes can vary depending on the temperature, because in colder weather, additional steps are taken to install roofing materials.

shingle roofing

A small home with asphalt shingles, in perfect conditions, could take as little as one day to complete, but most professionals will tell you that the average home takes anywhere from three to five days to finish. Much of the timeline will depend on how large the home is, the number of obstacles (skylights, chimneys, vents) that must be worked around, the slope of the roof and the architectural complexity of the home.

Typical steps in roof renovation:

  • Site preparation
  • Old roofing material removal
  • Flashing installation
  • Installing water barrier and insulation
  • Shingle or shake installation
  • Final cleanup

Again, the timing depends on the complexities involved. Asphalt shingles are easier to install than cedar shake, so they will almost always go on faster. Your roofing contractor should be able to give you an accurate estimate of the project’s timeline.

How much does it cost to renovate a roof in Illinois?

There are many factors involved in determining what it will cost to reroof a home, so there is no blanket estimate that will answer the question correctly for everyone.

A professional contractor will take the following factors into account as they calculate an estimate for your roof renovation project:

  • Partial or complete replacement
  • Type of materials used (asphalt shingles are less expensive than cedar)
  • Architectural complexity of the home
  • Additional material installation (replacing plywood or fittings for solar panels)
  • Size and height of the roof
  • Slope of the roof

To offer some context in regard to the “average cost of roof replacement” statements, the average single-family dwelling has a roof that is between 1,400 and 1,700 square feet. A simple project involving moderate renovations can run between $2,500 and $3,000 on an average-size home. If the roof needs to be torn off and completely replaced, the project will run between $7,000 and $12,000.

That difference in the low and high average might seem extreme, but this accounts for the variation in the complexities involved in an average home. Some are steeper, which makes them more difficult to work on. Some have an abundance of obstacles that have to be worked around. These lead to higher labor costs, which usually accounts for the costliest part of the project.

Should you hire a professional roofer or renovate the roof by yourself?

Some homeowners have advanced DIY skills that allow them to comfortably (and correctly) make repairs to their roof. But unless you’ve worked on a roofing crew for years, replacing your own roof is not something you should attempt. Also, if the project is seemingly simple and involves replacing a shingle or two, even a moderately skilled DIY enthusiast can make an error that leads to costly damages later, which is why it is recommended to leave it to a professional.

shingle roofing

Roofing is a complex vocation that requires years of experience. Also, even with the right training, it’s a dangerous job that requires plenty of safety measures to keep the roofers out of harm’s way. While taking on home renovation projects is popular, the roof is a part of the home where mistakes cannot be made, which is why we’ve come up with a list of things to consider when looking for a roofing contractor.

Identifying the right contractor:

  • Choose a licensed and insured contractor
  • An itemized and written quote is mandatory
  • All materials used should be under warranty
  • Only work with a good communicator who keeps you informed on all aspects of the project
  • Your contractor should offer a written guarantee on their work
  • Look for a contractor with a long list of references

If you find a contractor who can offer everything mentioned above, you’re on the right track, but to be certain, take a look at a longer, more in-depth article about how to choose the best roofing contractor.

Find the best roofing renovation contractor for all your roofing needs

Taking on a roof renovation project is no small feat. There are many things to consider, but when you partner with a quality roofing contractor, you will have zero regrets. The best ones make the entire process stress free, because they’re good communicators who walk you through the entire process. They provide a thorough inspection that will reveal complexities they will need to be aware of later, but the inspection will also give them the information they need to give you the most accurate estimate of the cost of the project.

Roofing homeowners

The best roofers are also great listeners, as they know most homeowners have many concerns going into a project, have plenty of questions and an equal amount of opinions about how they want their home to look. The most experienced roofing contractors know about all the different roofing materials on the market and will make suggestions that fit the unique qualities of your home as well as your tastes. That’s what we offer at VIS Exterior. We’re licensed, insured, certified and committed to excellence, so contact us and schedule your inspection today.

Val Slajus
Owner / Author
Val Slajus

My journey began with a passion for home improvement, and I established VIS Exterior because I firmly believe that everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home. With years of experience in the roofing and siding craft, I'm dedicated to helping you enhance the protection and aesthetics of your home. Through this blog, I'm excited to share my knowledge and insights, empowering you to make informed decisions when planning your next exterior renovation project.