8 Steps to a Successful Roof Replacement


RooferReplacing a roof is a big commitment for any homeowner. Even if you're paying another roofer in Columbia to do it, you should still understand the re-roofing process from beginning to end. After all, your roof is your first line of defense against severe weather and also your home's biggest asset.


Familiarizing yourself with the steps needed to properly replace the roof on your home will ensure a successful roof replacement with no major construction or financial surprises along the way.


Step 1. Find a reputable roofer.

Before starting the re-roofing process, homeowners should put in considerable time and effort evaluating different roofing contractors in the Midlands so that they can identify red flags and avoid complications early in the game. Here are some questions to ask when looking for the best contractor to handle your roof replacement:

  1. Is this roofing contractor licensed by my state?
  2. Does this roofer carry adequate roofing insurance, including liability and worker's insurance? Are the coverage dates still valid?
  3. What do the warranties cover? There can be a lot of variation when it comes to materials and workmanship warranties, and some roofers may offer additional warranties for comprehensive systems. The standard minimum warranty for labor is one year, but you will likely find roofers that offer longer warranties.
  4. Can they provide references? How are their online reviews?
  5. Do they have their own team of roofers, or do they subcontract? If they hire contractors to do roof replacements, get the subcontractor contact information and use this list to ask them the same questions.
  6. Will they give you a comprehensive written estimate which includes the following:
    1. Start and completion dates
    2. Materials to be used
    3. Labor cost
    4. Permits
    5. Workmanship guarantees
    6. Materials guarantees
    7. Cleanup expectations
  7. Does the roofer have proper certification, training, and experience in roof installations and replacements? Check for memberships with trade organizations and the contractor's standing with the Better Business Bureau.

Step 2. Protect the property.

Your entire property should be fully protected while a roof replacement is underway. This means using tarps and protection plywood to cover siding, walls, plants, and bushes. Also, be sure to remove yard ornaments, patio furniture, grills, potted plants, and other accessories that could be damaged by falling shingles and other supplies.


Step 3. Remove old roofing material.

Since it's never a good idea to install new shingles over old ones, your roofer will need to safely remove the old roofing materials from your roof before beginning a re-roof. Toe Boards are one of the most common setups roofers use to accomplish this, and a nearby trash container is a necessity.


For removing asphalt roofs, a shingle fork is pushed underneath the shingles and pried upward to curl the roofing off. Removal starts at the peak of the roof and moves downward. When removing a metal roof, collect old roofing in a storage place until it can be sold as scrap or repurposed. 


Step 4. Inspect the decking, sheeting, and flashing.

Once the old roofing has been removed, your roofing contractor will be able to inspect the wood decking that was previously hidden. A thorough inspection of the wood decking will reveal any soft, wet, or rotted wood which will need to be replaced. Whether or not you replace any of the decking, be sure to nail it down securely; failure to do so will result in bumps on your roof after the new shingles have been installed. 


The wood sheeting should also be inspected to ensure that it is properly attached to the roof rafters. Flashing is another must. Flashing is usually aluminum or galvanized steel installed over joints on the roof to prevent water seepage. Flashing inspections include the drip edge as well as the flashing at the roof's valleys, vents and chimney. Most roofers will also check vent boots while they're checking the flashing for cracks or rust. Valley flashing is almost always replaced during a roof replacement because roof valleys take the most abuse from the weather.


Step 5. Prepare the roof surface for shingles.

Drip edge installation involves installing a piece of metal bent at 90 degrees to prevent rain from seeping beneath shingles. The next step of prep is installing the ice and water shield, a special type of roofing underlayment which sticks to the wood decking and prevents water leaks. It is installed at the bottom of the roof and at all roof penetrations, including chimneys, pipe flanges, and roof connections.


Step 6. Install the new roofing material.

Good roofing contractors will follow all the manufacturer's installation instructions, beginning with the flashing, which as we have already discussed, diverts water down your roof and into the gutter system. With the flashing, it is important to put a strong bead of roofing cement over the top edges of flashing. This will keep water from blowing up the side of the flashing and underneath the roofing.


For roof replacements that require shingles, starter shingles are installed at the bottom and the sides of the roof and staggered by each row to keep shingles from leaking water. Nails are placed just under the tar strip on the shingles so that the nail heads are not exposed and allowed to hold water.

For metal roofs, the materials must be square before starting. The vertical edge should be screwed into each of the ridges rather than the flats, and each vertical row should be screwed before moving to the next in order to make the roof go on flatter. Using quality screws, which have wide rubber washers allow for maximum coverage and protection, and screwing into the ridges instead of the flats protect the screws from pooling water.


Step 7. Clean up the site.

While debris should be cleaned up throughout the roof replacement project, the remaining shingles, felt, and nails should be gathered and deposited in a dumpster or dump trailer when the project is complete. Roofing magnets should be rolled all throughout your yard to pick up lost nails. Ultimately, your contractor should leave your home and the area around it as clean as (or perhaps even cleaner than) they found it.


Step 8. Get a final inspection.

The final step of the roof replacement process is the post-installation inspection, which is conducted by your roofer to confirm that the job was done correctly.


At Joye Roofing, we take every step of the installation process very seriously. However, if we somehow overlooked something along the way, we'll find it in the final inspection, and we'll fix it. That's our promise!


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Derek Joye has been roofing homes and businesses in the Midlands for over 10 years.