If you are like most homeowners, you might be wondering when or if you’ll need to replace your roof. While the roof replacement process can seem daunting, this guide will have all the information you need to make informed decisions and get the job done right.
We will cover everything from costs and materials to expectations and tools needed. So whether you are just starting to research roof replacement or are in the middle of the process, read on for insights and advice from the experts!
What Does It Mean to Replace a Roof?
No, it’s not a dumb question. Most people don’t know too much about their roofs except that it protects their home and can leak or get damaged in a storm. But how long do roofs last? What are the parts of the roof? And what does a total roof replacement entail?
A roof replacement is the process of removing the existing roofing material (usually shingles) and installing new roofing material in its place. And most often, it also means replacing all of the underlayment, flashing, and other roofing elements simultaneously. So it’s quite an extensive process that includes:
- Removing the existing shingles
- Removing plumbing boots, vents, gutters, etc.
- Replacing flashing and waterproof seals
- Laying down new underlayment, flashing, drip edge, and shingles
We’ll get more into all of that further down this guide.
Roof replacements can be done for various reasons, including damage from severe weather, leaks, or simply age and wear and tear. Or, some homeowners simply want to upgrade their roofing materials when they buy their home, so they feel secure knowing their roof is strong and safe from leaks— granted, a severe storm doesn’t roll through.
What Types of Materials Are Used for a Roof Replacement?
Roofs are not a one-size-fits-all solution for your home. About a dozen different material options are used in today’s residential homes.
Asphalt shingles are by far the most popular type of roofing material thanks to their affordability, curb appeal, and easy installation and maintenance. However, more premium materials like metal or tiles are growing in popularity as more homeowners are discovering their big return on investment. Other types of roofing materials include:
- Asphalt shingles
- Composite shingles
- Wood shake
- Clay tile
- Concrete tile
- Metal roofing
- Solar roofing
- Green roofs
There are many reasons why some people may choose one roofing material over the other, but some of the biggest ones include durability, maintenance, and lifespan. With each advancement and upgrade, the material does rise in cost as well— naturally. Here are some of the pros and cons of some of the top choices of roofing material:
Asphalt Shingles (20-30 years)
✅ Many color options
✅ Easy to install and repair
❌ However, they only last 20-30 years
❌ Not as impact-resistant as other materials
Slate (150+ years)
✅ Known as the “forever roof” lasting 150+ years
✅ Very eco-friendly— made of natural materials
✅ Won’t corrode or fade
✅ Natural fire-resistant
✅ Very durable against winds and hail
✅ Huge increase in home’s value
❌ Very expensive
❌ Very heavy
Metal (40-75 years)
✅ Stunning color and style options
✅ Very durable
✅ Great ice and snow shedding ability
✅ Can be made from recycled materials
✅ Reflects UV rays, keeping homes cooler in the summer
❌ Requires annual maintenance
❌ Can dent easily (aluminum roofs)
Clay Tiles (100+ years)
✅ Extremely eco-friendly
✅ Can last 50+ years with proper maintenance
❌ Heavier than other roofing materials, so it requires a stronger roof support
❌ More expensive than most other shingles
Weighing your options like this is the best way to determine which roofing material is best for your home and budget. A professional roofer could also discuss your options and find the best fit.
How Much Does a Roof Replacement Cost?
Pros and cons aside, the cost is probably one of the biggest factors in deciding which material you want to replace your roof with. Most homeowners have an asphalt shingle roof, and replacing your roof with the same material is a great option. If it’s worked for you this far, it can be an ideal option!
However, if you are looking to upgrade because you want to sell or have more durability with your roof, you’re really going to have to dig into the costs of each.
In 2022, the average cost for a new roof replacement is $15,000 (give or take). The actual cost will depend on the roofing material, roof size and slope, your home’s location, roof complexity, and the contractor you hire.
To give you a better idea of what to expect with popular roofing materials, here are some average costs per square foot*:
Asphalt Shingles— $3.60 per square foot
Wood Shingles— $8 per square foot
Metal— $9.50 per square foot
Slate— $15 per square foot
Clay tile— $15 per square foot
Solar tiles— $22 per square foot
*Due to supply chain and stock availability, inflation, etc. these costs may vary significantly.
As you can see, there is a significant difference in cost between roofing materials. This is one of the main reasons people don’t just upgrade to the most premium roofing material— it’s too expensive! Asphalt shingles are always a solid option if you’re on a tight budget. Just be warned that you will likely have to replace your roof sooner than with more premium material.
Tools Needed for the Roof Replacement Process
There are a lot of tools that make the roof replacement process run smoothly. While some roofing projects are very DIY-friendly, the professionals have the access and training to use more advanced tools that ensure they can get a roof done within a few days— sometimes even one day!
Tools used for a roof replacement:
- Roofing nailer + nails
- Roof rake or shovel
- Pry bar
- Safety harness
- Rubber sole shoes
- Work gloves
- Circular saw
- Utility knife + hook blade
As you can see, quite a few tools are needed for roof replacement. If you don’t have experience with roofing, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. They will have all the necessary tools and know-how to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
The roof replacement process is a big job that requires time, effort, and money. It’s essential to do your research and weigh your options before deciding which roofing material is suitable.
Step-By-Step Roof Replacement
Now the fun part— the step-by-step process of a roof replacement. From the tear-off to the final clean-up, here’s how the pros go about replacing a roof.
Step 1: Tear Off the Existing Roof
Your existing roof needs to be completely removed when you do a total roof replacement. Replacing just one portion can be detrimental to the integrity of your roof. Also, having two different parts of your roof under different timelines and warranties can bite you in the future should a significant portion be damaged.
To tear off your roof, you need a roof shingle removal tool or roof rake. These tools can easily pry up multiple shingles, making removal a breeze. Home Depot carries some good ones that will get the job done. You’ll also want to have:
- A large dumpster for debris
- Rubber-soled shoes to grip the roof, especially once shingles are removed
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Your roof removal tool
- A magnetic roller to collect fallen nails
Be careful not to damage any other critical parts of the roof during tear-off. If you are too aggressive with the roof shovel, you could puncture your roof decking or another part of the roof that would need repair before laying the new shingles.
Step 2: Inspect the Roof Decking
Once everything is safely off your roof and in the dumpster, you should thoroughly inspect the entire roof decking, vents, boots, flashing, chimney, etc. Roof deckings are vital to ensuring your roof has a sturdy foundation.
Over time those can take a beating— from moisture, wind, the weight of your roof, the house shifting, etc. If any areas of your roof decking show signs of water damage or sagging, repair that before proceeding.
Step 3: Install the Underlayment
Once you confirm the roof decking is good to go, you can get started on the underlayment installation! The underlayment is the waterproof barrier between your shingles and roof deck. It’s often made of felt paper and is applied in large rolls.
Some roofers can also use synthetic roofing underlayment because it’s lighter and easier to work with. There are even self-adhesive roofing underlayments that make installation a breeze.
Steps for Installing the Underlayment:
- Clear the roof of any remaining nails or debris
- Begin at the bottom of the roof and work your way up, overlapping each row by about two inches
- Secure the underlayment with roofing staples or nails every four to six inches along the edges and in the center
- Use a utility knife to cut the underlayment around roofing obstacles like vents, skylights, and chimneys
- Make sure the entire roof is covered with a continuous layer of underlayment before moving on to the next step
Step 4: Install the Ice and Water Shield
The ice and water shield is a self-adhesive membrane that is applied to roof edges, valleys, drains, and any other areas where water could potentially penetrate your roof. This can be especially useful in climates that experience icy winters and wet springs.
Step 5: Install the Shingles
Now for the roofing material. Shingles come in all sorts of colors and styles to choose from. They are made of asphalt, wood, metal, slate, or tile. The installation will vary depending on your roof’s slope and the roofing materials you choose.
For example, installing asphalt shingles is probably one of the easiest to install and is a specialty at Apple Roofing. We work with IKO Dynasty and Nordic architectural asphalt shingles and stand by their quality and durability. The steps to install such shingles include:
- Calculate the amount of roofing materials you’ll need depending on your roof’s slope and size.
- Order roofing materials and deliver them to your home a day or two before installation.
- Remove the old roofing material, if necessary.
- Install drip edge along the eaves first, and then begin installing shingles from the bottom up.
- Work your way up the roof, making sure to nail each shingle in place with a nail every 4-6 inches along the designated strip— being sure to overlap each new layer.
- Install ridge cap shingles along the peak of your roof.
- Final inspection and clean up.
Step 6: Install the Flashing
Flashing will be installed at the same time as your shingles, for the most part. But it’s vital to ensure it goes along any dormer, chimney, vent, boots, skylight, or any place your roof and shingles get broken up or meet a wall.
Step 7: Install the Gutters and Downspouts
The gutters and downspouts play a significant role in keeping your roof—and home—dry and protected. Without a proper gutter system, you can face much roof damage with ice, snow, and water not having a proper system to shed from your roof. It can also cause damage to your foundation or landscaping if the water is not located to a downspout for proper drainage.
Your roofing contractor should install or replace your gutters and downspouts as part of the roofing process. If they don’t, make sure to hire a roofing company that specializes in gutter installation, so the job is done right.
Step 8: Clean Up and Inspect Your New Roof
After everything is installed, cleaned up, and inspected, it’s time to enjoy your new roof! Take a few trips around your property with the magnetic nail sweeper and then be sure the shingles lay flat, evenly, and your gutters and all flashing is secure and ready to fight against leaks!
The Importance of Hiring a Reputable Contractor
Roof replacement is not for the faint of heart. We see a lot of homeowners trying to do their own roofing jobs, but it can be hazardous and end up damaging your home or even voiding a warranty. So for a solid, reliable roof replacement, work with a reputable roofer like Apple Roofing.
Our decades of experience and highly-trained team can offer you a roof that is as beautiful as it is durable— without the hassle of doing it yourself. Reach out today for a FREE estimate.