Having a good roof on your home is critical to keep out the elements and add curb appeal. Eventually every roof deteriorates. Putting off repairs can only be done for so long before you’ll need to invest in a new roof.
Installing a new roof is a significant undertaking. Regardless of whether you are taking on the project or hiring a contractor it’s important to understand the various steps involved. With this guide, you’ll know the basics of installing a new roof as well as different options so you can find the best one for your home.
Getting Ready for the Project
Before installation begins you need to do some prep work. Estimates on supply costs – as well as labor costs if you are hiring someone – are the first step. Also do a thorough check on certifications, warranties, and local building codes so the process will go smoothly.
Preparing your home is also important. Take down anything hanging on walls that may be knocked off from hammering. Find a new place to park vehicles, and remove lawn ornaments or other decorations that may be hit by falling debris. By making sure the workspace is clear you’ll not only keep things from being damaged, but allow for quicker installations.
Tearing Off the Old Roof
Roofs are sometimes built in layers. Depending on local ordinances, you may find two or even three layers once you start a project. While it may be possible to just add a new layer, you’ll want to do a full inspection before attempting it. Having too many layers, or using heavy materials on a roof, can compromise structural integrity. If you have the time and money then stripping a roof down to the sheathing is ideal. This not only gives you the chance to avoid causing new problems, but can allow you a closer look at a roof’s deck to fix any potential issues you otherwise wouldn’t see.
Waterproofing Beneath Your Roof
Once the old roof is removed you can’t jump right in with a new installation. Prepping the top of your structure involves the installation of underlayment that will act as an ice and water shield. Underlayment (sometimes called roofing felt) acts as a critical barrier that keeps damaging moisture out of your home.
Another thing to keep in mind before installing a new roof is ensuring proper ventilation. This can be done by installing ridge vents to reduce hot and moist air from gathering in your attic. Not only will this prevent damage from occurring, but will reduce energy costs.
Choosing Your Material
Picking out your new roof is more challenging than ever. Factors you need to think about before deciding on materials include lifespan, resistance to elements, allowance by local building codes, and of course the cost. When you nail down these details you can sort through all of the options – and there are a lot of them. Here are some of the most popular styles:
The first type of material people consider is asphalt shingles. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of residential homes utilize these shingles. Made of fiberglass that is sandwiched between asphalt and ceramic granules, it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive; making them the most affordable option. This style is also popular it is available in a variety of colors to match homes.
While asphalt shingles have been the most popular, they do carry environmental concerns. The materials used in asphalt aren’t very eco-friendly. And while they can be recycled, worn out shingles are usually discarded because they are too deteriorated from extreme weather and conditions.
Before asphalt shingles became an industry standard many homes relied on wood shakes. That is because they are tough and highly durable. Wood shakes are still popular today because they give homes a more natural or rustic appearance. They are also popular because – since wood is a renewable resource – it has the lowest impact on the environment of all roofing styles.
Homeowners should realize the maintenance costs associated with this style of roof. Wood shakes offer great wind resistance, but without proper treatment are poor against fire and rot caused by growth. Because of these costs it’s not ideal for every structure.
If you’ve done any travelling in the south, you’ve probably seen buildings with a clay tile roof. This style is really popular not only for its look, but because of its durability. It’s made from natural materials that are fired in a kiln, making it extremely resistant to fire damage. It’s also very eco-friendly.
Aside from this being one of the most expensive roofing materials, clay tiles are also extremely heavy. Before installing a clay roof, you should have an inspection performed to make sure your structure can support it. Tiles are also very brittle, so while you don’t need constant upkeep, chips and cracking can happen which compromises the roof’s integrity.
Slate is one of the few stone materials that are naturally a great choice for roofing. It is a highly durable material, easily able to withstand both fire and wind. Slate also doesn’t rot or decay like other materials. Because of sustainable mining techniques used in its production, slate is also eco-friendly. Plus the dark gray colors give homes a traditional appearance that adds to curb appeal.
Like clay tiles, slate is extremely heavy and requires reinforced support. Slate is also very expensive, which makes it cost prohibitive for private owners. Because of the detail work involved in installing a slate roof it requires specially trained contractors to install. If you are considering a slate roof you may have to ask around to find someone qualified to do a proper installation.
Recent advances in roofing technology have led to more widespread use of metal. There are a variety of options for a metal roof including aluminum, copper, steel, or a zinc alloy. Depending on which metal you go with will impact the price; but many are moderate to expensive. Metal roofs are very tough. Offering good resistance to both wind and fire, they last far longer than other kinds of roofing materials. They are also easy to install and usually made from recycled materials.
Aside from being relatively expensive, metal isn’t always ideal for homes because of the noise. If you’ve ever sat in a shed or tin roof building during a rainstorm you know how loud the experience can be. Before spending the money on a metal roof you should determine whether your comfort can be sacrificed.
Get Help to Find the Best Option
The installation of a new roof is one of the largest home projects you will undertake. It takes time, money, and a lot of patience. But when done correctly it will create a great looking home you will be proud of – as well as peace of mind. Sorting through the details can be time consuming.