As a homeowner, getting a new roof can be a hassle, especially if you do not have much experience in the matter. However, when the time does come, if you’re aware of what the typical roofing project entails, in addition to being able to better prepare your home for the project, you’ll also be able to more easily spot any problems that should arise.
Keep in mind that judging a roofing project is a balancing act: a project that takes too long may be a sign that the roofing company has taken on too many clients at once and that you are not a priority, but a roofing project that is done too quickly may be a sign of shoddy workmanship.
By knowing what to expect beforehand, you’ll have a better understanding of your contractor and the quality of roof you can expect. Remember that no two roofing projects are exactly the same, but the same general rules and procedures will always be in effect.
Factors that Influence a Roofing Project
Before you can get a full understanding of your project’s timeline, it’s important to first understand some of the key factors in play.
- Weather: Roofing companies get a lot of business after storms from desperate homeowners looking to repair damage and seal any leaks before the next rainfall. With so much demand, in addition to delaying your project, inclement weather can also lead a contractor to spend less time on your roof to make room for people needing repairs.
- Seasonality: In addition to the day-to-day weather, the time of season can impact your roofing project as well. Snow causes the same delays that rain does, and frequent enough snow days can make a project much more difficult to complete. On the flipside, high heat can melt certain materials and cause other delays.
- Roof Characteristics: The characteristics of the roof itself will also have an impact on the timeline. Obviously, a smaller roof will take less time to replace than a larger one, but other factors specific to the roof’s design can also play a part. For instance, a flat roof will take less time to replace than a steep roof.
- Home Layout: Certain home features, such as garages, pools, or gardens, can also provide new challenges for the roofing team. Beyond potentially blocking off access points, special care will have to be taken with these areas to prevent property damage and worker injury.
The more research you do about your roof and the factors that affect it before meeting with your roofer, the faster the process will go. Before meeting your contractor, know the process and what materials you would like to use. You won’t need to learn every aspect of roofing, but being aware and having ideas makes the planning process go much more quickly.
Stages of a Residential Roof Replacement
To understand how time is being allotted for your project, you need to know the stages of the re-roofing process:
- Initial Estimate: Try to spend the first week or two getting a few estimates from various roofing companies. As long as roofers are not experiencing an extreme influx of potential customers, such as after inclement weather, they should be able to send someone out within a few days. Once you make your decision, schedule a time for the process to begin, and expect the process to take anywhere from two to five days.
- Home Preparation: Before the team can begin removing old shingles, they should take time to protect your home. The team should use a tarp or some other material to cover the siding of the home as well as trees, bushes, and any other landscaping that might potentially get damaged.
- Removal and Disposal of Old Shingles: In most cases, the shingles on the old roof will be removed. Even if some of the shingles are still in good shape, removing every shingle allows for a thorough look at the condition of the plywood that forms the base of the roof.
- Inspection of Plywood: Before beginning the process of installing new shingles, the existing plywood needs to be inspected to look for damage. During this inspection, roofers need to look for damaged plywood as well as insecure attachments, and repair them accordingly.
- Shingle Preparation: Prior to new shingles being placed, several steps are taken to further protect your roof. These will vary by roofing company, but often include installing drip edge, installing ice and water protection, and applying roofing felt.
- Shingle Application: After all preparation is completed, shingles can be installed.
- Flashing and Ridge Vent Application: If necessary, after the shingles are installed, the roofers will apply flashing around the chimney and apply ridge vents.
- Cleanup: After all of the work is finished, it is the responsibility of the roofing company to clean up after themselves. Talk to your roofing company before the process begins to make sure you are both on the same page about clean up. If it is important to you that the team cleans up every day before they leave, make sure to specify that to your representative. Be sure to let them know of any other specific requirements you have as well.
- Inspection: After the project is finished, the roof needs to be inspected to make sure everything was done correctly and that no mistakes were made.
Ideally, the roofing process, from calling your first potential roofer to final inspection, will only take 2-3 weeks, with the last 2-5 days being work days. However, be aware that things happen and that the project could take longer due to elements outside of the contractor’s control.
It is best to strategically plan your roofing project during a time when there is no inclement weather to assure that no breaks will need to happen in the midst of the project. Ask your roofer to be transparent with you about the timing so that you’ll know what to expect and be understanding when unforeseeable events happen.