The Roof Replacement Process
Roof Replacement Process
Roof replacement is perhaps the single most important home repair. After all, few issues are more catastrophic than a roof failure — water will infiltrate, destroying everything from the insulation in your attic to your remodeled cabins in your kitchen and the big-screen TV in your basement.
In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step overview of what is included in roof replacement, from the removal of the old roofing materials to the post-roofing inspection. We’ll also talk about how the owner is involved in this process, such as picking a contractor and staying safe while the roof replacement is underway.
1. Getting Started
If your roof is exhibiting any of the telltale signs of failure, such as sagging or widespread leakage, then a roof repair or replacement is in order. To do so, you’ll need to find a reputable roofing contractor in your area.
2. Choosing a Contractor
When looking for a qualified roofing contractor, you need to research and make sure they meet certain criteria. Look for the following points when doing your background check:
- History of the company: Find out how long the company has been in business. Just because a business is new doesn’t mean they’re not qualified, but having been in business for many years usually means that they are.
- Local operation: Once you have familiarized yourself with the company’s history, you’ll want to confirm that they serve your area. To install the best roof for your home, your contractor should be familiar with the climate where you live. An ideal roofing contractor will understand your region’s weather patterns and know which materials are most suited for those patterns.
- Certifications: A roofing contractor can obtain certification by the manufacturer of the roofing products they install. This is because roofing product manufacturers often want to verify that the companies that install their products are doing it properly. Keep an eye out for a contractor’s manufacturer certifications.
- Guarantees: A reputable roofing contractor uses reliable roofing products with manufacturers’ warranties. However, exceptional roofing contractors will also offer an installation guarantee so you can be confident their work will last for a long time. When looking for a roofing contractor, don’t forget about looking out for installer guarantees — they’ll let you know whether they stand behind the work they do.
- Licensing and insurance: To work in the area where you live, a roofing contractor has to obtain sufficient business licensing. They must also comply with workers’ liability and workers’ compensation insurance. If your contractor is insured properly, you won’t have to worry about being liable if someone gets hurt while working on your roof.
Keep in mind that the above five points are just one part of the initial investigation. Make sure that every company you’re considering at least meets these requirements before spending time on other criteria. Once these requirements have been met, then you can proceed to evaluate their reputation with current and past clients.
Once you’ve chosen a contractor, their first order of business will be to ensure your property is protected while you have your new roof installed. To this end, you and your contractor should do the following:
- Use tarps and plywood to cover all walls, siding, bushes and plants.
- Move your cars, boats and other vehicles out of the driveway and down the street so the contractors will have room to transport materials to and from the site.
- Set up the garbage container close to the house.
- Set up roof jacks around the roof’s bottom. These should hold boards that will catch shingles that may slip and people who may fall.
- Secure safety harnesses to the roof’s peak to prevent workers from falling during the replacement.
4. Filing a Claim to Get It Covered After a Storm or Damage
If your roof has been damaged by a rain, wind or hail storm, it’s now going to need repairs. Your homeowners insurance should cover the cost of these repairs.
However, the process of making an insurance claim for roof damage can still be an intimidating process, especially if you’re new to it. To best prepare yourself, you should familiarize yourself with all the details of your insurance policy and the way an insurance adjuster operates.
To maximize the chances that your claim will be compensated fully, follow these steps:
- Assess the damage: Evaluate the damage from as many angles as possible and take many photos or videos.
- Limit further damage: During this time, you should all do all you can to prevent further damage from occurring to your roof. If your roof has a hole in it, for example, cover it with a tarp. Keep all the receipts and documentation for any emergency or temporary repairs you have to make.
- Start the claims process: Contact the 24/7 claims line of your insurance company. They will assign you a claim number and give you further instructions. If the damage to your roof is severe, they may recommend that you call a roof restoration company right away to minimize further damage.
- Adjuster arrives: Your insurance company will then send an adjuster over to examine your claim, assess the damage and determine what will and will not be covered.
- The claim is processed: Your insurance company will process your claim, which will cover the costs of restoring your roof to its previous condition or replacing your roof, depending on your policy’s terms.
5. What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied
There is a chance, however, that your roof claim will be rejected, and there are various legitimate reasons to doing so:
- Insufficient coverage: If the claim you filed for damages exceeds your coverage’s limit, your claim will probably be rejected.
- Insufficient maintenance: If there is evidence to the claims adjuster that this damage could have been prevented by performing routine maintenance, your claim will likely be denied.
- An issue that isn’t covered: If your roof was damaged by something not covered in your insurance plan, such as an earthquake, your claim will not be accepted.
- Delay in the filing: Don’t wait too long to file your claim — most insurers have established a statute of limitations in regards to how long you have to file the claim.
If your insurance claim is rejected, don’t worry — you can still appeal the decision by taking the following steps:
- Look over your policy: Review all the details of your policy and make sure you completely comprehend what the policy includes and excludes. Confirm that you didn’t incorrectly estimate your coverage amounts when you originally filed.
- Look over the claim denial letter: The adjuster may be the one responsible for the error.
- Look over all your documentation: Take a look at all the receipts from your contractors and the photographs you took. The more evidence you can provide, the higher the chance they will approve your claim.
- Get in touch with the adjuster: If you discovered a mistake that the adjuster made, speak with them and explain the error. Discuss only the rejected points of the claim and provide all the documentation you can that is relevant to your claim.
- If all else fails, get a public claims adjuster: Just as insurance companies have adjusters working for them, you can also have one working for you. A public claims adjuster with experience can assist you with the process of denied claims and take care of all the paperwork it involves.
6. Tearing off Old Shingles and Preparing for Replacement
Before installing a new roof, the condition of the wood decking underneath must first be inspected, which means the old roofing material must be removed. This is true whether you have a commercial roof, a flat roof or a typical pitched shingle roof. Removing the old material is especially important if your roof has experienced water damage. By removing the old roofing materials, your roofer will have the opportunity to examine any problems creeping up under your existing roof.
If your roofing material is asphalt shingles, they must be removed by pushing a shingle fork under the shingles and prying them upward. The roofer will begin by removing the ridge cap shingles at the top and then working their way down.
If you have a roofing material other than shingles, the removal and installation process may differ significantly. The tile roof replacement process, for instance, sometimes requires battens to be installed under the tile. Make sure to consult your manufacturer on how to install your type of roofing material.
7. Inspecting the Roof
After the roofing material has been removed, the roofer will thoroughly inspect the condition of the wood decking. If they find any wet, soft or rotting wood, they will replace it so that your roofing structure has a solid base and the new shingle roof will remain intact. The roofer will also make sure that the wood sheathing is correctly attached to the rafters and that the nails securing the sheathing are still viable.
8. Prepping the Roof Surface to Install New Shingles
If your roof is in good condition, only minor repairs will need to be made. If there are areas of the roof with bad wood, they will need to be replaced with either new 1-by-6 sheathing boards or plywood sheathing, depending on the type of roof you have.
9. Change out Old Flashing
Once the roofing has been cleared away, the roofer will also inspect your roof’s flashing. Flashing, which is typically made of galvanized steel or aluminum, is placed over the roof’s joints to keep water from seeping in. The roofer will inspect all types of flashing, including flashing in the valleys and around the chimney and vents. If the roofer determines that a segment of flashing needs to be replaced, they will replace it with high-quality flashing and seal it thoroughly to keep out water.
Valley flashing is almost always replaced, as it tends to wear out more quickly than other flashing types because it takes more abuse.
10. Drip Edge Installation
Next, drip edge flashing will be installed on all the edges of your roof. Drip edge flashing is a piece of metal bent at a 90-degree angle that prevents rainwater from making its way under the roofing material.
11. Ice and Water Shield Installation
“Ice dams” refer to continuous ice slabs that form along your roof’s edges. Although the ice dams themselves don’t do any damage to your house, they do prevent melting water from running off the roof, which increases the chances of a leak. Luckily, there is a special kind of roofing underlayment called “ice and water shield,” which adheres to the wood decking to prevent leaks caused by water that pools as a result of ice dams. It is installed on the roof’s bottom and all other penetrations, such as the pipe flanges, roof connections and chimneys.
The ice and water shield should be placed under the drip edge for extra protection. This will involve pulling the drip edge up to install it, then fastening the drip edge back down again.
After the ice and water shield has been installed, the rest of the roof must be covered with an underlayment, a waterproof layer that is commonly made of felt or asphalt. This will prevent your shingles from sticking to your wood decking and serves as an extra moisture barrier so that the framing and sheathing below aren’t exposed to moisture and rot.
The underlayment will first be run at the roof’s edge, on top of the drip edge and ice and water shield. It will then be fastened down using cap nails right above the drip edge, with the cap nails spaced 4 to 6 inches apart along the edge and 8 to 10 inches apart for the rest of the felt underlayment. Each row of underlayment will be overlapped by a minimum of six inches, and at the ridge of the roof, an additional layer will be added so that it covers the upper edges of both of the rows on both sides.
13. Installing the New Roof
After the steps above are finished and the base is prepared, the new roofing material will be installed, working from the bottom of the roof upwards, installing roof vents along the way. Then, the roofers will add counter and step flashing, ridge vents and ridge capping as needed.
When installing a shingle roof, starter shingles will likely be used on the sides and at the bottom. Each row will also be staggered to minimize the chance of leaking water.
If your roof has valleys, it is important that the valley flashing is installed under the shingles. Valley flashing is meant to direct water down the roof and into the gutters. If installed over the shingles, water can easily get under it and make its way into the roof.
14. Post-Roofing Site Cleanup
Once the roof is completed, your roofing contractor will perform a thorough cleanup of the site by hauling all debris away. Using magnetic tools, they will retrieve any nails or small pieces of roofing metal that were accidentally dropped during the replacement process.
15. The Final Inspection
Every roof replacement ends with a meticulous inspection. Your contractor will want to confirm that the replacement has been done correctly and that you are 100% satisfied with the work.
Hire TEC Today for Your Roof Replacement Needs
Now that you’re more familiar with how a roof is replaced, you probably realize that this undertaking is a bit more involved than, say, installing a cabinet. In fact, it’s not recommended as a DIY project at all. It requires lots of skill and many years of experience, and the costs of doing it incorrectly will be far greater than the initial costs of having it done by a professional roofing company.
If you live in Lancaster County or anywhere in Central Pennsylvania, the roofing company you’ll want is The Exterior Company, which has the experience and knowledge to perform high-quality, long-lasting work. Request a consultation by contacting us using our online form. Our attentive, knowledgeable representatives will gladly answer any questions you have and provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate.