A complete roof replacement project can be intimidating. Follow our tips on how you can ensure a smooth roof remodeling process.
Roof replacements are an exciting project. If you’ve been dealing with roofing problems like leaks, broken shingles, and water damage, nothing is more satisfying than getting a brand new roof. After all, there’s only so much roof maintenance you can do, and roofs eventually reach the end of their lifespan.
But a remodeling project of this size is hardly easy, so it’s important to tick a few boxes before taking your old roof apart in place of a new one. We’re sharing tips on how you can ensure a smooth process.
Understand roofing lingo
Roof replacements are a huge investment, costing between $15,000 and $40,000. So it’s good to know where your hard-earned money is going. Understanding basic concepts and terms is a great place to start.
Here are a few basic terms you should know about:
- Shingles – these are the visible top layers of the roof, with asphalt being the most common material.
- Decking – this is the roof’s plywood foundation. Also called sheathing, it’s where the shingles are attached.
- Underlay membrane – this is the waterproof protective layer between the shingles and decking. There are many durable synthetic underlayments available on the market nowadays. Be sure to prioritize quality over cost.
- Flashing – it’s the metal strip or synthetic waterproofing sealant that covers gaps on the roof, such as the gaps where two roof sections meet.
- Roof vents – these are small protrusions that allow heat to escape from the attic.
Avoid “roofing” over
One of the crucial things you need to decide on is whether you’ll do a “tear off” or a “roof over.” A tear off is essentially taking the entire roof apart and installing a new one from scratch. A roof over, on the other hand, is placing a new roofing material over an existing one.
While a roof over may be a tempting and less costly option, experts recommend avoiding it altogether. More often than not, roof damage is a lot more serious than visible signs tell you. Covering these up is only a temporary fix and may even cost you more money down the line.
If your roof is over 20 years old and is showing signs of serious damage, it may be best to tear off the roof and overhaul the entire structure. Of course, this will significantly increase your budget.
Inspect the roof deck
The roof deck, while made of durable materials, suffers some damage throughout a roof’s lifespan. A complete roof replacement is a great opportunity to see the condition of the wood and repair broken or rotten boards.
For roofs older than 30 years, there’s a big chance the decking may be in bad shape. In extreme cases like this, you’ll need to tear the whole structure down and replace it. It’s not a good idea to install new roofing over a compromised roof deck.
Invest in attic ventilation
One important part of a roof replacement you should never neglect is ventilation. Ventilating your attic prevents damage caused by temperature build up under the roof shingles. If your budget allows it, invest in a new home ventilation system, or install attic fans.
In addition to attic ventilation, you should also consider putting up a radiant barrier on the attic ceiling and installing insulation. While the initial cost is high, you’ll benefit from lower energy bills and a much more comfortable home.
Choose the right shingles
Roof shingles are not something you should skimp on as they will serve as the main protective barrier of your home. You should focus on the long-term value of the product instead of its price.
Discuss your options with your contractor and do additional research, as well. Instead of just comparing prices, look at options that will give you a high return on investment. Other considerations include color, style, curb appeal, shingle warranty, wind rating, and impact resistance.
This should also apply to peripherals like the underlayment, drip edges, and flashings. Keep in mind that leaks are the main cause of “shingle death,” so be sure to invest in top-quality peripherals.
Work with a trusted contractor
Choosing a roof replacement contractor is the most important decision you’ll make in this project. Since it’s a major investment, it’s best to make sure you’re teaming up with a dependable and experienced roofing company.
Here’s what you should look for in a roofing contractor:
- Clientele & portfolio – Does the contractor have a solid pool of satisfied clients? Do they have a diverse portfolio of successful projects? Be sure to do your research and make this a top consideration.
- Referrals – Word-of-mouth referrals are also a good sign the contractor is trustworthy. You can also consult online reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
- After-sales service – Does the roofing company include period checkups and roof maintenance in their service? If not, look away and go for contractors that care about after-sales.
- Warranties – Is the warranty competitive? It’s important to choose a contractor with solid warranties so you can save money down the line. Warranties give you peace of mind should problems arise in the future.
Prepare your home for the renovation
Once you’ve chosen a roofing contractor and have secured financing for your project, it’s time to prepare your home for the renovation. As mentioned, a roof replacement is a major undertaking. So be sure to secure the necessary permits, prepare the site, and keep the rest of your home protected.
You may need to relocate furniture, vehicles, and other delicate appliances and belongings, so factor that into the cost, as well. For things that are too heavy to move, consider covering them with water-resistant plastic. It would also be wise to inform your neighbors in advance to avoid conflict. And don’t forget to keep pets and children away from the work zone.
A roof replacement is one of the most challenging and costly home renovation projects you’ll ever experience in your lifetime. But when carefully planned and executed, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of comfort and safety from the elements. Follow the tips mentioned above to ensure a seamless and successful project.
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