Roof Replacement Basics: What Homeowners Should Know Before Starting

Asphalt shingles house roofing construction with attic roof windows

The roof on your home is one of the most vital components of the property, as it protects everything underneath it. Unfortunately, roofs don’t last forever, and if it’s time to replace yours, you’ve probably got a number of questions you need answered.

Choosing materials

First and foremost, what material will you use for your new roof? The most popular and cost effective material is asphalt shingles. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The most popular are three-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Three-tab shingles are the more basic of the two, are about 36 inches long and weigh less.

Architectural shingles are also referred to as laminated strip shingles, and these have a 3-D effect on the roof as they come in several layers of individual shingles. They are also a bit more costly than three-tab shingles.

Wood shake shingles are a popular option for homeowners who want a more attractive roof than what asphalt shingles can offer. They are most commonly made from cedar, cypress, spruce, pine and California redwood. While these are more costly than asphalt shingles and they require regular maintenance, shake roofs offer beauty, energy efficiency, resistance to severe weather and they are durable.

One of the most expensive options for a roof is slate, however, it’s quite fashionable and will really add a lot of curb appeal to your home. Aside from its beauty, slate is also known for it durability – it will last 60 to 120 years, by some estimates, which means it could be the last roof you ever have to have installed.

It’s not a common choice, but metal roofs are also an option. When installed correctly (which is an issue because not many roofers really know how to install them) they will last for 50 years or longer and often come with long warranties. They are also great for people who want to lower their energy bills as the metal will reflect the sun off, making it easier to keep the house cool during the summer.

Clay and concrete tiles are a great choice if you’re going for a southwestern look. This material will add an aesthetic that other materials simply can’t, but they’re also long lasting and non-combustible. However, they are expensive they’re quite heavy, which means you could require additional framing to support all that weight.

Tear off the old roof or keep it?

Your project will be cheaper and be completed faster if you are able to install your new roof over the top of your old one. However, this assumes that the decking underneath the roofing material is in good condition. Also, if the roof has any imperfections, such as lumps here and there, bubbles or minor depressions, the new roof will take on those issues as well, which is what roofers refer to as “telegraphing.”

If it’s determined that the new roof will add too much weight or if you need to replace decking, the existing roofing materials will need to be taken off. A professional roofing contractor can do this quite quickly and will haul the debris away for you.

What are the steps to reroofing?

1) Your roofing contracting will make a site visit and inspect your current situation. They’ll let you know if you can keep your old roof or if it will need to come off. They will also discuss any design or style ideas you have and go over the different materials that can be used.

2) If the old roofing materials need to come off, your contractor will strip away all of it and haul it off. They’ll do another inspection to ensure the wood decking is in good shape. They can replace any rotted or soft decking at this time.

3) To protect the decking and to ensure that water is sent in the right direction, your contractor will install a drip edge around all the edges of the roof, which is something all shingled roofs will require. Water and ice shield installation is also something that roofers will install to the decking to prevent any water or ice from leaking into it. Roofing felt, or tarpaper, is also installed at this point, which prevents your shingles from sticking to the ice shield or wood decking.

4) Your shingles, if this is the material you have chosen, are now ready to install. They will be laid out and the roofer will work from the bottom to the top of your roof. Ridge vents and ridge capping will also be installed at this point. Similar processes take place with other roofing materials.

5) Your contractor should be focused on leaving your property as clean as it was when they arrived, so after the shingles (or other material) are laid down, they’ll do a thorough search of the site and pick up any remaining debris.

6) Finally, you contractor will inspect every part of the roofing system to ensure everything is perfectly installed. This gives you the assurances you need that your new roof will last as long as possible.

Install a new roofing system

At VIS Exterior, we’re a contractor that specializes in installing new roofing systems. We offer free inspections, and will listen carefully to your needs. We are certified, insured and bonded. We have the expertise necessary to install cedar shake roofing, but we also use shingles from the best manufacturers and have hundreds of happy clients who can attest to our abilities. For those who are interested, we also offer flexible financing. Contact us today and let’s talk about your needs and how we can take care of them.