In the life of your home, unless you’re planning on living there for the rest of your life, you’ll likely only need to replace your roof once, maybe twice. But the procedure is big and takes some careful planning and decision making. Aside from renovations and expansions, it’s one of the biggest home improvements that you can make to a home, but it also comes with some of the best rewards as a good roof is an investment that not only provides good curb appeal but also protects your home in essential ways when it really matters. So how do you go about the process of having your roof replaced?
Choosing Roofing Materials
The first step is to choose the roofing materials that you want to use. This will depend a lot on where you live, what style your house is, and how you want your house to look. For example, wood shakes are a beautiful addition to a home, but they’d look out of place in Southern California–while Southern California’s clay tile roofs would look equally out of place in New England. They’re both good roofs and they both protect your home, but they each have their own style.
So what are your options for a roof in Austin, Texas?
- Asphalt Shingles: these are by far the most common form of roofing materials all across the country, and that’s because they look good, they do the job, and they don’t break the bank. In many parts of the country, especially in suburban areas, they are the only roofing materials you’ll see for miles. There’s nothing wrong with them–they’re durable and have a good 25-30 year lifespan. A good solid choice.
- Wood Shakes or Shingles: These are a more aesthetically attractive option, especially for houses of certain styles. They’re particularly common in the Northeast and the Northwest. They are easy to install, but do require a little more maintenance than an asphalt shingle as a single wood shake may come loose and need replacement. They’re also not good for areas with fire danger.
- Metal Roofing: Metal roofing is typically either aluminum or steel, and looks very good, especially on certain styles of homes. As opposed to the wood shakes mentioned above, metal roofs are a great choice for homes in fire danger, and are often used in cabins and lodges. They also have a very long lifespan, anywhere from 25 to 50 years (the longevity can vary a lot depending on the grade and type of metal you use). Installation of a metal roof is a different operation and requires some special equipment, but it looks good and keeps the house nice and secure.
- Slate Roofing: Slate is a type of stone that is very attractive but only seen in a few houses of particular styles. The stone is heavy, which means your roof structure has to be able to carry the load. The roofs do require maintenance, just like wood shakes, in case any piece comes loose. But the lifespan of a slate roof might just outlast the house.
- Tile Roofing: These can either be made of ceramic or clay, and are common in the Southwest, California, and Florida. They are very good in regards to fires, and tile composites, which are lighter, are an up and coming alternative to the weight issue.
Stripping the Roof, or Doubling Up?
When you get to roofing, there’s a decision to be made, and it’s one that either you will make or your building codes will mandate. This is: if you’re replacing old shingles, do you strip them down and start over from scratch? Or do you just cover them up with the new ones?
Covering them up is often easier and therefore a more attractive proposition: it may save time, which may save money. On the other hand, it does add more weight to your roof because it’s carrying twice the load now.
Another thing to consider is that if there are flaws with your roof already, and not loose shingles, but bumps and irregularities in the existing roof, those aren’t going to go away just by laying a new layer of shingles over the top. Of course, there’s a fix to this, which is just going over the roof and knocking loose the broken shingles, hammering down the protruding nails, and flattening out the bumps. It may be a more efficient way to shingle a roof. It’s something you want to talk about with your roofer.
Stripping the roof means that there’s more time involved, and there’s also a lot of waste that is going to need to be cleaned up and hauled away. This will add a few days to your project and a lot of mess, but it may make for a better long term solution.
The Roofing Process
Here’s the roofing process, from start to finish, assuming that you’ve decided to strip your roof.
First, our professional crew gets on the roof and begins scraping the existing shingles and nails out of your roof. We will inspect all aspects of the roof and remove anything that is in poor condition, including flashing and edging. You can expect our crew to clean up after themselves (including preventative measures to protect your gardening), but this will be a messy process.
Second, our crew inspects the roof to make sure that it is all structurally sound. We’ll look for holes, sagging, and rot. We will evaluate and may replace some of the sheathing on the roof if necessary.
Third, our crew will lay down asphalt paper. This comes in large rolls, which will be rolled out horizontally across the roof, starting at the bottom and working up. The paper overlaps, so as water rolls down the roof it will go all the way down and not seep into any cracks.
Fourth, metal drip edging will be put in place along the edges of the roof, nailed over the roofing paper.
Fifth, in valleys of the roof (where two slopes meet) new flashing may be applied. It is nailed in place and sealed with caulk. This is another waterproofing step, to ensure a quality job on your roof replacement!
Sixth, the shingles are applied, and just like the roofing paper, they start at the bottom and lay them in rows, moving upward toward the peak. Where there are obstacles, like vents, chimneys, or skylights, the shingles are cut down for a precise fit.
Seventh, all of the places where water could get in (such as the above mentioned vents, chimneys, and skylights), flashing is applied. The flashing is a waterproof material that is applied with strong adhesive.
Eighth, a ridge vent may be installed along the peak of the roof for air circulation in the attic. While not all houses have ridge vents, especially older homes, they are becoming more common in newer construction and are recommended.
Ninth, and finally, everything is complete. All mess is cleaned up and hauled away. The installation will be inspected and approved by a building inspector.
When breaking down the roof replacement process into nine steps, it seems like a lengthy process. Our Ace Roofing team of professionals will work diligently to inform you of our project timeline when we provide your roof repair or roof replacement so you know what to expect with your roofing project.