Installing a new roof–whether replacing an existing one or for your under-construction home–is one of the biggest home projects you can tackle. It’s a daunting process that requires numerous decisions that can make or break your home’s overall protection and integrity.
As such, you must learn the basics before giving the green light for this home project. This comprehensive guide shares everything you need to know about installing a new roof, starting with the why, the different roofing materials to choose from, the project cost and timeline, and an overview of the whole process. Let’s start.
Why Install A New Roof?
If you’re building a home from scratch, there’s one apparent reason to install a roof, to protect your home and family.
However, if you’re replacing your existing roof with a new one, several justifications exist for why homeowners invest in a re-roofing project. The most apparent reasons are old age and visible damage. Generally, most roofs can last up to 25 years, while others can last double or triple. Regardless of the type, quality, and expected lifespan, all roofs will deteriorate with age and become prone to significant damage.
Whether it has missing shingles, starts to leak, or encourages moss or mold growth, installing a new roof helps preserve your home’s overall integrity and energy efficiency. It also ensures that you stay protected against outdoor conditions while preventing consequential damage to your property (for instance, water leaks from the roof causing moisture damage to the attic or ceilings).
Even if your roof has no severe damage, old roofs are ugly. They can look faded or rotten and harm your home’s curb appeal. As such, adding a new roof allows you to change the color and style of your roof, significantly boosting your home’s exterior and making it more vibrant.
Lastly, while a new roof installation can be expensive, it offers a significant return on investment, particularly if you’re considering selling your home soon. Statistics show that a new roofing system can provide up to 70% return on investment. Since a new roof can spike up your home value, you’re more likely to profit from the investment over time. Plus, a new roof can increase your home’s curb appeal, attracting potential buyers’ eyes.
Different Types Of Roofing Materials
There are various roofing materials to choose from. However, not every material is suitable for every home and location. Here are some of the most common roofing materials, along with their pros and cons.
Rubber roofing is made of plastic polymers, rubber, or a combination of both. These materials are sourced from recycled tires, slate dust, and sawdust, making rubber roofing an eco-friendly option. Also, this roofing material is known for its leak-proof properties producing a tight sealing. Unlike asphalt roofing, rubber roofing can go anywhere thanks to its flexible nature. It’s also highly durable, weather-resistant, and has a longer lifespan with minimal maintenance requirements.
The downside is that rubber roofs can be more expensive than common roofing materials. It’s also less appealing since it’s primarily available in black. However, you can now find rubber roofs in white or off-white and paint them in any color you like. Finding a specialized rubber roofing contractor can also be difficult since it’s an emerging material. Choosing the wrong roofer can lead to issues due to incorrect installation and negating material warranty.
This is the most common and popular roofing material available today. Asphalt roofs are preferred nationwide for their efficiency across different environmental conditions and weather climates.
Asphalt roofs are typically made of fiberglass mixed with asphalt, giving it a sand-like surface. It can resist fire, water, and wind. Depending on your home’s location, asphalt roofing is an affordable option. It’s also easy to install and maintain, making it an all-time favorite.
Unfortunately, asphalt roofs are known to have a shorter lifespan than other materials, regardless of how well you maintain them. As such, you may need to replace it after 20 years.
Metal is one of the highest-performing roofing materials available. It’s more common in areas prone to heavy rains, wildfires, and snowfalls. It has an average lifespan of 30-50 years but can last up to 75 years with proper maintenance. It’s also eco-friendly. If it wears out, metal roofing can be recycled.
That said, metal roofs can be annoying during the rainy season. The sound of rain falling on a metal roof can be disruptive and loud. But you can add soundproofing insulation to reduce the noise. Moreover, a metal roof isn’t recommended for areas prone to hail since it can cause dents and damage your roof.
Tile and Cement Roofing
More common in Spanish colonial and Mission style homes, tile and cement roofing creates a wavy look, providing an authentic vintage effect. This type of roofing comes with a steep price tag and is quite heavy. It often requires more reinforcements to the roof framing to support the extra weight.
Regarding durability, tile and cement roofs are sturdy and can last a lifetime when installed and maintained correctly. It’s also fire-resistant but not much resistant to the wind as other roofing materials.
Popular for Gothic- and Victorian-style homes, slate roofs offer a vintage appeal. Aside from its aesthetics, a slate roof is preferred for its durability. It’s virtually indestructible, lasting for over a century despite extreme weather conditions.
As such, you can expect slate roofs to be quite expensive. Like tile and cement roofing, a slate roof is heavy and requires extra support. Also, you need to look for a specialized roofer with slate roofing experience to ensure it is installed correctly.
Roof Installation Cost
As mentioned before, roof replacement and installation are one of the biggest home improvement investments you can make. A full roof replacement will cost you as low as USD$6,700 up to USD$80,000 or more, depending on main factors like roofing material, type of home, size, labor cost, and location.
Beyond the cost of materials and labor of installing a new roof, you may also need to spend on additional add-ons such as old roof removal services, additional roofing projects (for instance, installing skylights or chimneys), and underlayment repairs.
With such steep pricing, setting a budget and determining how much you can afford is essential. This helps narrow down your material choices and simplify the shopping process. That said, never choose cheap materials to save money since they could backfire and become more expensive in the long term. It’s always worth stretching your budget a bit for quality roofing materials.
How Long Does It Take?
Roof installation can be disruptive since it tackles the protection over your head. As such, you may be wondering how long it’ll take to complete.
Generally, a new roof can be installed within the day or up to two weeks. As with cost, the actual length of time to install a new roof can vary. It depends on several factors, including the property size, accessibility, additional work needed (for instance, removing an old roof), the type of roofing material, the number of workers, and the weather.
The Roof Installation Process
Installing a new roof is an extensive job. This section outlines what to expect during a new roof installation.
1- Tearing the Old Roof
Unless you’re installing a roof on a newly constructed house, you must tear apart the existing roof to install a new one. This step requires a lot of work and specialist equipment to complete.
Homeowners are advised to cover and protect the surrounding area before the process starts. Old roofing materials could fall and damage foliage and garden materials.
A new roof needs a solid and damage-free base. Thus, the contractor must inspect all parts underneath, ensuring they’re suitable for the new roof. During this step, the contractor will fix or replace any damaged area. Also, if installing heavy roofing materials like slate, the contractor must add the necessary reinforcements before further work continues.
Before installing the new roof, the contractor must make additional preparations. They must add a drip edge and underlayment to prevent moisture from seeping into the structure’s base. In addition, the roof valleys–areas where your roof meets the slopes and forms a V angle–are waterproofed.
4- Roof Installation
After prepping, the new roofing materials can now be added. The installation method can vary, depending on the materials you’ve chosen. Some materials, such as metal, are easier to install, while others are more difficult and require careful handling.
5- Cleaning and Final Inspection
After installation, your contractor will clean any debris left on the surface. Then, they’ll thoroughly inspect the new roof, ensuring it was correctly installed, there’s no gaps, and exposed nails were sealed.
As one of the most important structures of your home, installing a new roof ensures that you, your family, and your personal belongings stay safe and secure against the wrath of Mother Earth. While roof installation is a big decision, we hope this article has provided you with the basic knowledge of its process and how to find the best one for your needs.
If you have more questions, consult with a reputable roofer. They can help guide you and streamline the whole process.