How do you install a roof?

House with a new roof

Roofing Options for Your Home

Whether you purchase a pre-owned home or have a custom-built home, homeownership is a dream that we all hope to come true. With that dream, comes responsibilities, problems, even a nightmare thrown in every so often.  Each facet of your home is important, but none are possible to have without the most important one: the roof. Installation and upkeep of this part is important to the rest of the house. 

If you’re having your dream home built from the ground up, the roof installation will be a part of the construction.  The builder may have their own roofing team, or they may use a third party roof installation company, but they will ultimately be the responsible party. They will oversee the entire roof installation process and just as with an existing home’s roof installation, they will do a final roof installation inspection. 

For the average homeowner, there are many questions when it comes to a roof installation job. We take the roof for granted until there is a problem. Because the average homeowner doesn’t know about roof installation, there are questions, lots of questions, and we will attempt to answer the most common ones in this article. 

What do I need to know before I get a new roof? 

A roof installation job is costly, noisy, and time-consuming, but it is something that every homeowner has to accept as part of owning that dream. It is also important to know what to expect when you’re getting a roof installation. Here is a list of eight things you should know: 

  1. The Right Roofing Material: One important decision you must make about your roof installation is the roofing material. This is something you will look at for the next 20 years or longer. You want it to match your current architect; you need to be concerned with the cost and the lifespan, making sure you’ll get the most for your money. Asphalt shingles for instance are the most economical choice, but their lifespan can vary based on the quality of the type you choose. Concrete shingles or metal shingles have a long lifespan and could be the best choice for you in you’re looking for that long-term investment. 
  2. Layer or Peel: An important decision before your roof installation job begins is what to do about the existing roof. To save money and time, many homeowners will opt to leave the existing roof shingles and have the new roof installation over that. Sometimes, local building codes don’t allow that, insurance companies won’t include the roof in the coverage, some roofing contractors will not leave the old shingles, and sometimes, the contractor will leave them, but with stipulation within their guarantee and warranty. Why is there concern with a roof installation job to leave the existing shingles? The first concern is the stress it puts on a roof and the structure below. A roof is heaving and leaving the old shingles is the same as having two roofs. 
  3. The Roof Frame: If you’ve been experiencing a leaking roof, the contractors you get quotes for a roof installation should inspect the roof decking in the attic and on the roof to make sure there isn’t any broken or soft areas. If there are any, they need to be replaced and you want to make sure that is stated in the quote and the contract with the roofing contractor you choose to work with. 
  4. DIY Roof Installation: A new roof installation is expensive, and many homeowners think they can do the job themselves and save some money. This isn’t always a good idea though because of the complexity and dangers of a roof installation. Leaks are just a part of the concern. 
  5. The Contracting Company: Once you’ve decided that the roof installation for your home isn’t the best DIY project, you need to find a roofing contractor. You’ll want to get at least three written quotes that have it broken down.  The details should list all the materials to be used and their cost. If there is a line that says miscellaneous, ask to have that specified. The quote should state the guarantee and warranty, the roofing contractor should offer you a list of recent references and provide a copy of their licenses and insurance. 
  6. New Roof Installation Is Noisy: Keep in mind, getting a roof installation job will be a loud and noisy one. If you have babies or young children that nap, go somewhere with them during the day. If you have pets skittish to loud noises, you might put them in a kennel for the day. For anyone that works from home, this may be the day you want to work at the local coffee shop, library, or go into the office. 
  7. Get a Contract: Before the roof installation job starts, review the contract with the roofing contractor and make it includes sure everything that was on the quote, and nothing new has been added. Question anything that you’re not sure about and don’t sign it until you are 100% satisfied. 
  8. Pay After the Job is Completed and Nails are Removed: If you went with having the existing roofing removed, there will be a mess. Just expect it. Most contractors lay tarps around the house to catch the nails and scraps, but they don’t always hit the tarp from the top of the roof. Make sure it is in the quote and the contract that the contractor will use magnets around the entire property to find any possible nails once the roofing installation is complete. 

What is included in roof replacement? 

There are a lot of items that go into a roofing installation job, some of them you may wonder if it’s all that important, or you don’t remember seeing it before. What any roofing contractor will tell you is that without all those parts, you would have a leaking roof. A complete roof installation will include:

  • Inspection of existing roof, taking measurements
  • Detailed bid including warranty information, finance schedule, job timeline, cleanup, and hauling off scraps and trash
  • Sheathing
  • Underlayment
  • Ice and water shield
  • Drip edge
  • Flashing, rubber boots, and seals
  • Roofing material
  • Ventilation
  • Gable vents 

What material do I need for roofing? 

Don’t let anyone tell you different, roof installation is hard work. You’re out in the weather, at tall heights, and lifting heavy loads of shingles. As a homeowner, you may think you want to do your own roof installation to save some money, and while we recommend you hire a professional roofer who are we to tell you don’t try.

Before you fully commit to doing your own roof installation job, we recommend climbing up the ladder to the top of your house and walk around. If you feel comfortable and confident, go for it. If you discover you’re afraid of heights and feel weak-legged up there, find a roofing contractor.

If you feel confident that you’re able to do this roof installation, get your building permit if required where you live. Next time to go shopping for the items we have listed here and don’t skip on any of these times or you’ll have a roof installation leaks from all angles!

  • Nails, a hammer or nail gun
  • Utility Knife
  • Crowbar
  • Flat Shovel
  • Caulk or sealant
  • Tarps (2 or 3)
  • Ladder or Scaffolding
  • Chalk line
  • Plywood
  • Shingles
  • Underlayment
  • Drip Edge
  • Flashing
  • Rubber Boots
  • Vents
  • Ice and water shield 

There are many videos online that will walk you’re the process of a roof installation. We recommend finding the best one and watch it several times. Since you’re doing your own roof installation, the last thing you need is any kind of roof installation failure. When you hire the job out, you have recourse with the contractor. 

new roof shingles and skylight close up

What should I ask a roofer?    

Choosing a contractor to do your roof installation isn’t to be done lightly. The roof is an important, if not the most important part of your home. You should ask every contractor you interview for this as many questions as you want about the job. Here, we offer a list of 13 that we feel are important:

  1. How old is your company?
  2. How much experience do you and your team have in roof installation?
  3. Is your business local?
  4. How local is your business?
  5. Who is the owner of your company?
  6. Do you have a list of recent jobs that I can call for reference and drive to look at the work?
  7. Will your crew be doing my roof installation, or will you farm it out to a third party?
  8. How experienced is the crew?
  9. What does our booking calendar look like?
  10. What is the ETA to complete my roof installation job?
  11. Do you certification, insurance, and licensing? Can you provide hard copy proof?
  12. Do you pull the building permit? Is the fee or that included in the price you’ve quoted?
  13. What safety measures and steps do you take for your crew and my house? 

Remember, if your home needs a roof installation, you want the best contractor possible to do the best job possible. Your home is a valuable asset, and the roof is an important part of that asset. Need new roof installation? Call (281) 338-7663 today!