Roof Replacement Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Is it time to replace your roof? Homeowners don’t look forward to it, but it is better than the alternative: letting rain and snow seep through into the attic, walls, ceiling, carpets, and so on.

Since this is such a big job, it’s important to understand the steps of the roof replacement process. Many homeowners are busy with their own jobs—and don’t have roofing experience—and make the wise decision to hire a contractor to complete the project. Still, you may want to familiarize yourself with what you can expect from the roof replacement process from an experienced provider like DMG Exteriors.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Roof?

A roof replacement can take from a day to about a week, depending on materials used, such as: 

  • Asphalt Shingles: 1–2 days
  • Metal Roof: 1–2 days
  • Wood Shakes: 3–4 days
  • Slate: 6–7 days
  • Concrete Tiles: 8–9 days

Your roof size is a major factor in determining what part of the range you fall in. Will your asphalt shingle roof take one or two days? If it’s very large, it might take two, whereas a smaller home could take one day. 

Roof Replacement Process

Here’s an overview of the typical steps involved in the roof replacement process and what you can expect.

1. Pick a Reliable Contractor

If you have determined you need a new roof, choosing a good roofing contractor to oversee the project makes an enormous difference. Your contractor is the boss and organizer of your roof replacement, so you should find someone who is:

  • A Good Communicator: Ask your contractor or company several questions early on to get information, but also to get a feel for how they answer. Are they concise? Accurate? Clear? Prompt? The way they communicate now is how they’ll continue to communicate.
  • Licensed and Insured: A contractor who has earned a license will understand the state and local regulations related to roof replacement, using the best practices on your home. And if they are insured, you will be financially protected from damage, accidents, and injuries during the job.
  • Well-Reviewed: If other qualities seem about equal, go with the contractor who has been recommended to you by someone you trust and has good online reviews.

2. Pick Your Roofing Materials

You might use the same type of materials that were on your roof before, but this is also a good time to look over other options. Popular roofing materials include: 

  • Shingles: Asphalt shingles are economical and durable. We offer Timberline HDZ shingles that come in distinct color schemes to fit any home, along with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Wood Shakes: Attractive shingles made of natural wood cost more than asphalt shingles. They can last even longer in general but are vulnerable to fires. 
  • Metal: Made of aluminum or steel, this type is fireproof and very long-lasting. It can come in panels or an attractive shingle design. You’ll need to find a contractor with experience in this specialty material, however.
  • Slate: This is a great-looking, expensive material. Because it is stone, it is also heavy. Plus, it’s difficult to walk on or service.
  • Tile: Tile roofing is often made of clay—the iconic red Spanish-style roofing, for example—or ceramic, which is resistant to fire. Tiles are often cut in a half-barrel style.

3. Remove the Previous Materials

The next step in the roof replacement process is removing the right materials in the right way in order to create a clean base for the new roof. Your roofing team will likely use a shingle removal tool to pull up each asphalt shingle, starting from the ridge of the roof and continuing down.

Other materials require other processes. For example, the team might remove a metal roof either with drills or pry bars. They will also use a system to dispose of old materials, possibly bringing a dumpster to the side of your home.

4. Add Up Roofing Prices

The total price tag of your new roof will include the materials and contractor’s fees. Labor costs increase with the steepness and size of the roof. Your region also affects price. Nationwide, you can expect these price ranges of roofs with the following materials: 

  • Asphalt Shingles: $7,000–$12,000 (up to $20,000 for 50-year shingles)
  • Wood Shakes: $14,000–$25,000
  • Metal: $14,000–$28,000
  • Slate: $25,000 to $50,000
  • Concrete Tile: $20,000–$40,000
  • Clay Tile: $25,000–$50,000

5. Inspect the Decking

“Decking” refers to the solid surface of the roof under the shingles or tiles. It is vital that your contractor inspects this to ensure it’s undamaged—especially if there was a recent storm or falling tree limb.

Over time, the boards of the decking can rot from small amounts of moisture that seep in. If the roof is dangerously damaged, your contractor should inform you immediately and give you a quote on repairing the damage quickly. You don’t want your roof to be exposed for long, in case of a sudden rain (an important reason to schedule this job in the right season).

If the decking is undamaged, the team should be able to quickly move on to the next steps.

6. Prepare the Roof Surface

Roofers often lay down other materials to protect your roof decking before they install the shingles or tiles. These can include: 

  • Underlayment: A water-repelling material that protects the wooden structure of the roof. Even if some moisture gets between shingles, it should be stopped by the underlayment, preventing the wood from rotting.
  • Drip Edge: Rust-resistant metal installed on a roof’s edges and designed to keep water out. 

7. Install Roofing Materials

Finally, the team lays down the shingles, tiles, or panels. A skilled team will use the manufacturer’s recommendations and follow all relevant codes. 

When installing asphalt shingles, it’s common to place starter shingles first—on the sides and bottom of the roof—before placing the finish shingles that will be visible. The seams between each shingle should be staggered so that they do not line up exactly from row to row. This helps keep the water out. Each shingle nail should be concealed by a shingle in the next row up. 

Other roofing materials, such as metal panels and clay tiles, can be very difficult and even dangerous to install. We recommend hiring experienced professionals to perform these installations (as well as asphalt shingle installations) to avoid common roofing mistakes and stay safe from falls.

8. Clean the Work Site

A good contractor will thoroughly clean the roof and the area around your home that was affected. They may use a blower to remove any bits of materials, clean out the gutters and downspouts, and pick up material from the yard, where they may lay out tarps to catch debris. 

The team will then take the tarps, tools, and trash containers away. They may even pick up metal, such as nails, with magnets. Ideally, the roof and grounds will be completely clean, as if no one had been working there—besides the roof looking new.

9. Inspect the End Product

The contractor will perform a final quality check, walking the roof a final time. They should pay special attention to any points that are at risk of leaks, such as chimneys, skylights, vent pipes, and so on. They should also compare the work to relevant regulations. A good contractor will care deeply that the work reflects well on their own reputation and does not violate codes.

Call DMG Exteriors for Quality Roof Replacement

Homeowners who are handy with tools may seek to complete some of the steps of the roof replacement process. However, it can take much more time when you work on it all alone, keeping you away from your regular job and other responsibilities. You will also lack the financial protection and knowledge of codes that an insured, licensed contractor brings, and put yourself at risk for potential injuries.

Get your new roof installed quickly and professionally with DMG Exteriors. We’ve installed a wide range of roofs, siding, and other features in Indiana for more than 10 years. We’ll complete the project efficiently so that your home life will return to normal as soon as possible. To make it even easier, we also offer financing options. Call now for a service quote.