The roof on your house might be the most undervalued and unnoticed part of your house, that is, of course, until there’s a problem. With the average roof lasting between 15 and 30 years, you can go a long time and not pay attention to your roof. Many new shingles even come with a warranty of 25 years.
So, how do you know if it’s time to replace your roof? And what is the roof replacement process for a home?
If you’re wondering if you need a new roof and what the process includes, read on to learn all you need to know about the roof replacement process.
When to Replace a Roof?
Thankfully, installing a new roof on your house means it last a long time, since it’s a big investment in your home. So, how do you know it’s time to replace your roof? Let’s take a closer look at some of the signs it’s time to get a new roof.
If your home is older, it’s likely the roof is too. Remember, the average roof lifespan is between 15 and 30 years. If your roof is older than 15 years, you should start to watch for signs of aging in your roof.
An old roof might show its age in a variety of ways. The shingles could lose the granules that cover them, giving your roof the appearance of having bald spots. The shingles could also be curling or cracked. More on this shortly.
If suddenly many of your neighbors are getting a new roof, you should take note. Often homes in a neighborhood get built at the same time. If your neighbor’s roof is aging (or has experienced damage, more on this later) it’s likely yours should get looked at too.
Curling or Completely Missing
Curling shingles are a sign your roof needs attention right away. If your shingles are curling, you’ll see the curling up at the edges. This should be worrisome as once the shingles start to curl water can seep under the shingles making your roof not as secure.
Missing shingles are a sure sign a roof replacement is needed. A missing shingle means a breach in the soundness of your roof. It’s a place where water can easily get through to the inside of your home.
Cracks in shingles can happen over time as they’re faced with different weather elements. If you see a few shingles cracked, you’ll want to consider if a repair is smart. If you see cracks in shingles all around your roof, it’s time for a roof replacement. These cracks, like a missing shingle, are a breach in your roof’s ability to do its job.
Flashing on a roof gets used in those places where two spots come together. If you have two roof lines that meet or the area where a roof and chimney meet would both have flashing. it works like shingles in these areas to protect those places on your roof. If the flashing is missing or shows damage, it’s a sign you need a roof replacement.
If you have leaks inside your home, then your roof isn’t doing its job properly. If you start to notice a wall or ceiling that is changing color, you likely have a leak you need to address.
While shingles get made to endure and withstand lots of weather, sometimes weather conditions that are severe can cause damage that needs to be addressed.
If your roof is experiencing ice dams, where ice is building up causing the shingle to come up, you need to have your roof looked at. Severe weather like hurricanes and hail can also cause weather damage to a roof.
Repair, Add, or Replace a Roof
As you consider damage to your roof, you’ll want to consider what you should do for your roof.
If there is one problem area, can a roofer simply do some repairs to that area of the roof? Can new shingles be added to address a weak spot or to fix a leak?
It used to be common practice to roof over the top of an existing roof with another layer. Some parts of the country don’t allow that option anymore. If you wanted to add a layer of roof without removing the previous one, you’ll want to carefully consider the structure. Can your roof handle the additional weight of a new layer of shingles?
The other issue of simply adding shingles is that you haven’t addressed what’s happening under your shingles. Do you have rotting wood or underlayment issues that need addressing?
The most common practice in roofing by today’s standards is to do a tear off and completely replace a roof if you need a new roof. More on this process later.
Things to Consider When Replacing a Roof
As you consider the roof replacement process, there are several parts of your roof that will be considered in the replacement process. Each of these will be part of the new roof process and also be looked at to consider if you need a new roof.
At the very base of your roof, covering the rafters, is the roof deck. This is typically made of plywood that is attached to the rafters. When you get a new roof, the roofer will want to look closely at the roof deck.
Are there weak areas of roof deck that will require new decking? If you have had a leak in your roof, those areas of decking should be carefully inspected.
Roof Deck Underlayment
The roof deck underlayment is the next layer after the roof deck. This layer is key to resisting water. It starts at the lowest part of your roof and gets laid horizontally over your roof. Each row of underlayment should overlap the previous layer by several inches.
There are several types and grades of underlayments. Talk to your roofer about what they use and what protection it provides for your roof.
The inside of your home contains heat and moisture that will rise up into your attic. It needs to be released or it can cause real problems for your roof.
Your roofer will add vents to several locations on your roof to release excess heat and humidity. Ridge, soffit, and gable vents are the most commonly used types of vents.
While most people don’t consider this as part of the roof replacement process, they should. Not having the right amount of insulation in your attic is bad for you and for your roof.
Without enough insulation, you are unnecessarily losing both warm and cool air. This means you’re paying more for heating and cooling. It’s also harder on your roof because it’s facing elements from both sides of the roof.
The biggest factor in your roof replacement cost will be the type of shingles you choose. There are a variety of options to consider including:
- Asphalt shingles
- Metal roofing
- Wood shingles or shakes
- Clay or cement tile
- Plastic of composite shingles
- Natural slate
The commonly used roofing material is asphalt shingles as they have a long life at the most reasonable price. Factors such as climate conditions and the type of roof you have will factor into what type of shingle you should choose.
Steps to Replacing a Roof
Once you have selected a roofing contractor and chosen which materials you want used, your roofing contractor can get to work. Here are the steps they will follow as they go about replacing your roof.
Before they can begin they need to remove the old roof. Remember, it’s pretty common practice now to remove the old roof before installing a new one, versus roofing over the old one. They will remove shingles and flashing and slide it into a roll-away dumpster.
You’ll want to ask your roofer how they remove the old roofing materials.
At this point the roofer can see the roof decking and do an inspection. They can replace any boards that need replacement. Then they can lay down the roof underlayment material.
If you live in a part of the country with severe cold weather, your roofer should install ice dam protection that prevents ice from building up under your shingles and causing problems. They will also install all the needed flashing and vents at this point in the installation.
Your roofer will also install drip edging around the eaves and gable sides of the roof.
Then the actual shingles are installed. Once those are installed, the roofer should do an additional inspection to see if there are places where additional flashing is needed at spots where the shingles meet up or along chimneys, for example.
Understand the Roof Replacement Process Before You Get Your New Roof
Understanding the roof replacement process will help you as a homeowner to make good decisions for your roof and its future life. Not only can you understand when you might need a new roof, but also what materials will go into installing your new roof.
For more information on home improvement projects like this one, be sure to visit our page often.