Roofing 101: The Ultimate Guide to Installing a New Roof
Roofing is one of the crucial things you need to do for your home.
Together with the facade, it will affect how your home looks like from the exterior. This is why the whole project needs to be taken seriously and with certain precautions. It’s not only about picking the right material; it’s also about picking something that will last for a long time and will be pleasing to the eyes.
Nowadays, you can find lots of roofing companies online that can perform this service for you. Even if you have some experience with roofing, it is much better to hire seasoned professionals to do this task for you.
Now, without further ado, let’s see what you have to know about the process!
Do I need a new roof?
Roofing is a serious investment and it shouldn’t be done on a whim.
At the same time, it isn’t something that should be prolonged. As your shingles get older, they will show signs of wear and tear, affecting the appearance of your home but also its structural integrity.
While you can change shingles as soon as you notice some damage, this isn’t a long-term solution.
So, how can you tell if your roof needs a replacement?
The first factor is, of course, age. Keep in mind that different shingles last differently. But most experts will agree that after 20 to 25 years, you should consider a change. Having 40-year old roof can become a real hazard. Basically, once the roof becomes too old, it needs to be replaced within the next 5 to 10 years. Nevertheless, don’t wait for the last moment!
- Sagging roof
There are various visual signs which can tell you that your roof needs a replacement. One of them is sagging. This can be really dangerous and can indicate larger structural damage. As soon as you notice a depression or a droop, you need to consider a new roof.
- Shingles are missing
While missing shingles isn’t a big problem in terms of structural damage or a potential hazard, it can pose a replacement issue. You see, it is possible to put new shingles as soon as some of them drop off. But there is a limit to how much you can do it. Eventually, your roof will start looking shabby as there is an obvious difference between the new and old shingles. Old ones get worn down, become bleak and it’s really easy to tell the difference. At the same time, it might be hard to find the exact same shingles you previously used.
- Comparison method
If you’re living in a street where everyone has a house from the same period (or exactly the same type of a house), you can use your neighbors for assessment. If the majority of them changed their roofs, this is a clear indication you should also consider a change. Keep in mind that their roofs are probably of a similar age and were affected by the same weather conditions.
- Shingles curling and buckling
If you notice that lots of shingles started curling, this is a good indication they have passed their life expectancy. Shingles can either curl downward or upwards but no matter the case, it is a clear sign that a change is needed. Curling and buckling is something that can affect the whole structural integrity and result in leaks. You will have to replace the roof once you notice such issue. Depending on the level of curling, you might have from 1 to 5 years to do it.
- Shingles are cracked
If you’re living in a region with lots of wind, there is a good chance your shingles will become cracked after some time. Wind causes lots of damage to them and it can appear in two ways: locally or all over the roof. If shingles are cracked all over the roof, this is a signal you need to replace it within the next 3 to 5 years.
- You can see sunlight through it
If you think that your roof is compromised, another good way to check it is by going to the attic and seeing if sunlight is coming through it. Needless to say, this is a clear indication of extensive damage. Also, this means that water will leak through it and affect the whole structure of the house. Better call a roof specialist and consult as to what to do next.
- The appearance of moss or algae
Moss and algae are common for humid surfaces. If your area has a lot of rain and snow, you can rest assured that sooner than later moss will appear. Unlike some other things on the list, this isn’t a pressing issue; moss and algae don’t affect the integrity or your roof or home. But, they do look very bad. Call a specialist to solve this issue for you and by all means, avoid power washing the roof as this may lead to damage.
- Chimney issues
Besides the shingles, your chimney may also be chipped. To be precise, chimney flashing may have suffered some damage or could be missing. Any damage to it can cause leaks and water ending in places where it isn’t supposed to be. Check if your chimney looks normal and whether you have to take action.
- Granules in the gutter
Lastly, we need to mention granules appearing in the gutter. While this may be a normal thing for new roofs, it poses a problem for older ones. Basically, these granules help prevent heating. When they fall off, shingles get exposed, start baking and will start falling off in near future. However, this isn’t that much of an issue as you will have still several years to address it.
As you see, each one of these things can pose a concern.
Bear in mind that they are different in importance; while some of them will require your immediate action, for others you will have more time to react.
Nevertheless, try to be proactive instead of being reactive!
How much does a new roof cost?
The first thing you need to understand about roofing costs is that they are counted on per square basis. In other words, the roofer will give you an estimate of how much an individual square foot would cost.
There are various things that are accounted for:
- Labor – Price usually depends on the reputation of the roofing company (or a worker) but also the quality of the work
- Material – Here, we need to consider the main items, accompanying material and protective elements
- Removal of waste – Recycling or trashing of roofing materials
Labor is usually the biggest expense. If you’re hiring a good, reputable company, don’t be surprised if labor costs account for 40% to 50% of the total costs. But, it’s much better to invest in skilled experts given how long a roof needs to last.
Keep in mind that this is only the initial estimate; while a roofer can calculate the cost of materials, recycling, and labor, there also might be some additional costs. For example, the roof specialist might encounter some additional issues with gutters, chimney etc.
There are various reasons for this:
- Chimney may have issues with flashing that might need to be replaced
- You might have some additional layers of shingles or some other items on the roof that have to be removed
- The roof itself may be hard to access. This is usually due to sloping which will cause problems to roofers not only driving the prices up but potentially prolonging the time required for the project
No matter what, make sure to allow roofers access so they can properly assess the situation on the spot. In almost all cases, you will have to do some additional thing so better be prepared for it! Don’t place an order before determining the final costs.
Costs tend to vary throughout the industry and based on where you’re situated.
In the best case scenario, if you’re using asphalt shingles and have hired a cheaper service company, you might reach as low as $3 per square foot cost. More expensive materials coupled with skilled roof workers may result in prices from $15 to $20 per square foot.
Here are some tips that will help you with the financial side of roofing:
- Can you keep the previous roof?
In the previous section, we talked a lot about roof replacement. Even though your priority should be avoiding leakage and structural damage, sometimes you can simply go with smaller roof repairs. If you manage to buy a year or two on a replacement, this may be a great thing for your home budget.
- Pick the right company
Like with any other similar project, it can be really hard to find a trustworthy crew that will ensure things get done right. Most people will decide based on word of mouth. But what to do if your friends and family don’t know any good roofing companies? Browse Google results! Nowadays, there are lots of great reviews that can help you make a decision. You can easily find local roofers who will be good and relatively cheap.
- Choose the material
The roof can be made from lots of various materials. The most common ones are asphalt, slate, plastic polymer, solar glass, and metal. Asphalt is the cheapest one and can cost from $1.2 to $4 per square feet. Other materials are much more expensive and can range from $5 to $40. Keep in mind that every roof has a functional and an aesthetical side. While some people may decide to go with asphalt, we recommend that you invest in a bit sturdier material. Not only will it look better but it will last much longer. You can also choose a material that looks well with your facade.
- Get a free estimate
If you already found the right material, it is wise to get a free estimate. There are two reasons for this: first, you can see how much different companies ask for this type of a work and may even negotiate reduction face-to-face and second, you will be able to get a professional price calculation. The free assessment is also a good way to see roofers in action which may help you make a better, more educated decision.
- Be prepared to pay more
A common mistake people make with construction projects is that they always count on the least expensive option. Whether you’re repairing drainage, roof, door, backyard or something else, these projects almost always cost more than you hoped for. In a case of the roof replacement, these alternative costs can be so high that you might not even be able to pay for them. So, always plan to pay more than it was initially calculated.
Roof replacement can definitely be a costly endeavor. But if possible, it isn’t something you should skim on. No matter what, make sure to prioritize buying the right materials and hiring a good company to perform the task.
What are the main considerations?
Besides budgeting, there are various other things you need to take into account.
Families usually make a mistake by using the same materials for their new roof. In fact, they might pick exactly the same tiles as they previously had.
This can be a missed opportunity.
Like with interior design, your exterior also needs lots of love too. Do something new; try a new style. It will bring a new energy to your family and will make your old home look new.
Of course, you also need to check whether these new tiles are appropriate for the climate.
Here are some of the main considerations you need to make during the roof planning phase:
In terms of functionality, your roof needs to withstand local weather conditions. When choosing the material, make sure to find something that will be appropriate for the climate. The roof is your home’s protection layer and you don’t want to experience extreme leakage during harsh winter days. There are several ways to check if a certain material is good for your roof. Start by checking your neighbors’ homes; see what kind of roofs they have. You can also ask local roofers and see which materials they recommend.
The second thing on this list is appearance. While not as important as weather resistance, appearance is something you definitely should consider. If you’re already investing so much money for a new roof, you should at least feel comfortable with it. Sometimes, people are more likely to notice the roof than the facade of your home. In other cases, these two work together to leave a general impression on a viewer. You will have to consider the texture, color, and type of material being used. Make sure they fit with the rest of the exterior and the overall architectural style you’re going for. In order to do this, you might even consult an architect. Certain materials go surprisingly well with certain facades. So, make sure to consult an expert before making the final decision. Choosing the color is a problem for most people and it can also be a limiting factor. Bear in mind that lighter tones are better for sunnier climates while darker is great for colder ones.
The slope is mostly regarded as a limiting factor. If your slope is low, this can reduce some of your options. You’re probably wondering how to calculate it. It represents the number of inches it rises for every 12 inches of horizontal run. If the roof rises 3 inches on every 12, this will be a 3-in-12 slope. In terms of that, most materials can be used on roofs with a 4-in-12 slope or steeper. If your slope is lower than that, this can pose a problem. You might be forced to go with products which are seamless. Otherwise, you might experience leaks when water starts pouring on your roof.
- Possible issues
Due to its construction nature, roofing can be really problematic if done incorrectly. First and foremost, you have to remember that the materials which you place on top of your house have a certain weight. If you go overboard and get really heavy materials (or put some additional stuff on the roof) it can endanger the entire structure of your home and with it, your family. This can be somewhat mitigated by strengthening the framing. But you need to remember that this will result in additional costs and stress so think twice before deciding on it. Some of these materials are especially troublesome; slate and tile can amount to 1000 pounds per square so make sure to check their specifications prior to buying them. Lastly, you have to consider the fact that the weight also has an impact on installation. Lighter materials are much easier to handle and can even be placed directly on your current roof.
Obviously, certain preparations have to be made prior to starting the project.
In most cases, roof replacement isn’t an immediate thing. As previously mentioned, depending on the severity of an issue, you might have several years until you’re forced to make a change. This gives you a lot of time to get educated and prepare properly.
Common roof materials
Depending on where you live, different materials will be more or less popular. For example, while shingles are really trendy in the USA, tiles are much more common in Europe. Again, the type of product shouldn’t be a limiting factor (there are already too many considerations in place).
Luckily for us, we have so many different options at our disposal making the whole process of choosing roof materials a real joy.
Here are some main categorizations of roof items:
Shingles are considered as a cheaper, lighter option in comparison to tiles. They are widespread in the United States. Another great benefit of buying this product is the fact they are rather easy to install and replace. However, they tend to last much less than tiles or panels.
Here are some of the most common types of shingles you can find on market:
- Asphalt shingles
As previously mentioned, this is the cheapest type of shingles you can buy. They are also rather straightforward when it comes to installing. Back in the day, you couldn’t recycle this material. Luckily for us, today companies produce asphalt shingles that are totally recyclable.
- Wooden shingles
Wood always looks nice however it is also very demanding. These items are completely natural and fit great in certain climates. If you’re living in a cold country or state, wood shingles can complement your wooden home perfectly. Unfortunately, their life expectancy is rather short and they are prone to fire which makes things troublesome in hot climates. Additionally, they can easily be infested by insects. Still, they are regarded as one of the more visually appealing options.
- Metal shingles
If you’re looking for a durable item, metal shingles are probably your best bet. They are perfect for various weather conditions and there is only a handful of things that can really jeopardize them. But, they can sometimes be hard to incorporate. If you have a more traditional home, this might not be the optimal choice from a visual point of view. Still, metal looks nice on houses with a modern architectural style.
- Tile shingles
Tile shingles can last for a very long time (some of them up to 80 years). They are very durable and look amazing in warmer climates due to their reddish or orange color. If one of them gets damaged, you can easily replace it with a new one. They also allow for much customization and experimenting.
- Slate shingles
Slate is another material that can last for a long time. It is made by using natural stone and shaping it into a shingle. Needless to say, it is very resistant and able to withstand both extremely low and high temperature. They have some similar characteristics to metal shingles but people usually prefer them due to their natural appearance.
As you can presume, tiles are a bigger, more expensive option. At the same time, they are likely to last longer than shingles and this is why in lots of countries they are really popular.
Here are some common types of tiles:
- Ceramic tiles
Clay is really great against fire and it also a very durable material. When it comes to color, they traditionally come in terracotta tone. Nowadays, there are various types of models that come in numerous colors and shapes which is why the ceramic tiles have gained some popularity as of late.
- Concrete tiles
Concrete tiles are even sturdier than ceramic tiles. They are resistant to fire and can hardly be broken. A mix of different sand, water, and cement are used to create these products. Keep in mind that this resistance comes with a cost; concrete tiles are really heavy so they might not be the right fit for all houses.
- Polymer-sand tiles
Mold is being used to produce these items. As you can presume by the name, a combination of sand and polymer is used for their production. Again, they are more resistant than traditional ceramic tiles. Initially, a limited number of options was available on the market but today, there are various polymer-sand tiles to choose from.
- Copper tiles
In certain cases, these products can last up to 100 years. Back in the day, before copper tiles were introduced, people would use copper sheets. However, they were hard to handle which is why copper tiles were invented in the first place. Over time, they will become a bit darker. A great thing about them is that the copper is rather light so you won’t have to do any structural reinforcement.
- Stone tiles
Stone tiles are a traditional product. Their main advantage is the fact they give a home a more natural look. At the same time, each tile is unique in its appearance. Unfortunately, stone tends to be really heavy and hard to install.
- Metal tiles
These items can last for a long time, they reduce leakage potential, and they are really durable. They come in various shapes and forms mimicking different other types of tiles. Metal tiles can also resemble stone tiles a bit.
If you’re looking to change your roof, keep in mind there are lots of options at your disposal. The decision shouldn’t be rushed as your main priority should be creating a lovely, livable and safe home.
With all these professional roofing tips are tricks, you’re ready to make a purchase and start the construction process. If you’re looking for a trustworthy roofing company get in touch with our roofing experts at DoItRightRoofing.ca today. We’ll visit your home free of charge and will create a transparent roof installation or replacement plan for your house at an affordable price.
Don’t wait until your roof leaks, give us a call today and we’ll take care of the rest!