The Roofing Process

Your professional roofing contractor should be skilled and trained to properly install your homes new roofing system per the manufacturers specifications. This is critical to long term performance. The contractor should be trained in installation techniques that cover the following areas:

  • Proper re-roofing techniques
  • Overall inspection
  • Deck preparation
  • Usage and application of underlayment
  • Secure attachment with the proper amount and location of nails
  • Metal drip edge installation
  • Shingle application and the proper offset
  • Valley construction, which product to use, and the proper application
  • Proper flashing installation around pipes and vents
  • Proper counter flashing techniques and application
  • Proper ventilation installation
  • Hip and ridge installation and the special techniques that finish the job properly

The Importance of Proper Ventilation

When a house has been properly ventilated, a positive airflow is created. This allows the house to breathe and helps prevent moisture buildup. That’s why proper attic ventilation is a serious issue that should always be considered when re-­roofing your home.Normal household activities can wreak havoc on an attic and ultimately, a roof. Showers, laundry, dishwashing and cooking all generate moisture that can damage insulation, rafters, wood deck, underlayment and shingles during winter. Summer heat buildup in the attic promotes premature aging and cracking of wood and roofing materials. All of which could reduce a roofs expected service life. For maximum roof protection, a well­ ventilated attic is the key.

In warm weather, proper ventilation prevents the attic from becoming a hot box that spills unwanted heat down through the ceiling into the living area (even if the attic is insulated).

In cold weather, proper ventilation helps prevent moisture from condensing on the insulation, structural wood, shingles or roof deck. Moisture­ soaked insulation becomes ineffective, thereby causing excess energy usage. Condensation on wood leads to rotting and expensive repairs. While those are the most important reasons for proper ventilation, they aren’t the only ones.

Excess attic heat causes premature shingle failure and can invalidate the shingle warranty. Excess moisture in the home cause’s mildew and drywall damage. Moisture problems can cause paint to peel and siding to warp.

Balanced airflow keeps attic temperatures from reaching extremes. Vents allow outside air to move through the attic. The result is a cooler, drier attic, which means a longer lasting roof.

General Roofing FAQ

Unfortunately, there is no magic answer in the roofing industry that solves all roofing problems. What the roofing industry does offer is a wide variety of waterproofing and water­shedding products from numerous manufacturers, each having attributes and faults. The key to selecting a proper roofing system is identifying the specific roof design needs of your building, and how each roofing system meets those needs.

Roofs leak from a break in the waterproofing layer. High winds, hail damage, and deterioration or defects in the roofing material are considered to be functional damage. Other causes may include mechanical damage (ie, tree falls on roof). The key to roof management is leak avoidance. Find and correct defects before they leak because once they do the damage will only spread compromising the entire roofing systems integrity (wood rot and mold). LEARN MORE

Yes. If damage is minor, a reputable roofing contractor can remove individual roofing shingles and replace them with new shingles.

Like any building component, roofs degrade at different rates depending on a large number of factors: the quality of original construction, the level of abuse, the level of maintenance, appropriateness of design, etc. So how long should a roof last? We have seen poorly designed and installed roofs go as few as six or seven years before they failed. American Roof is extremely hard on shingles on one side of your roof, the snow side. New shingles are available now with a 50 year warranty.

Installing a roof over the top of an existing roof is generally acceptable under these guidelines:

  • The International Building Code (IBC) allows one recover (over wood or asphalt shingles only)
  • No wet insulation can be left in place
  • The roof structure must be able to handle the additional roof load. The new roof must be attached to the roof deck to meet wind loads (it is not generally acceptable to adhere the new roof to the old roof).
  • The most commonly used technique for installing the second layer of asphalt shingles over the first only applies when covering three tab shingles with laminate style shingles.
  • Most insurance companies will not recognize the installation of a second layer of roofing products over the existing roof as a good practice. Policy holders may want to contact your carrier prior to making these repairs.
  • Wind resistance is nearly always compromised.

The optimum time to install an asphalt shingled roof is when the temperatures are between 40­-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind and rain are at the lowest intensity and frequency. This allows the roofer the best conditions for installation, with the fewest interruptions, lowest risk of leaking, and an ideal time to minimize any unintentional damage to the roofing system (i.e., scuff marks from foot traffic).

Once a shingled roof is installed, the sun with “cook it down”. You may notice the shingles lay a bit flatter after a couple of days, this is normal. The heat also sets the glue between shingles.

  • Different roof types fail at differing rates and with different failure modes. Several general clues include:
  • Does the roof leak in numerous locations?
  • Do leaks continue, despite repeated repair attempts?
  • Do repairs seem to make leaks worse, or do new leaks develop after repairs?
  • Are there signs of missing, cracked or curling shingles?
  • Are there stains on interior walls or ceilings? It is generally better to re-roof at the appropriate juncture, rather than pouring money and time into ill-­advised repairs.

How much is a new car? Well, the answer to both questions is, “That depends.”

Every re-roofing projects cost is going to be dependent on some of these factors:

  • How large is the area of the roof?
  • How steep is the roof (pitch)?
  • How many stories tall is the building?
  • How many layers of existing material need to be removed?
  • What brand and style of roofing products will be reinstalled ?

The final price to install a new roofing system can range from $3.50 per sq ft of the structure to $12.00 per sq ft.

Look for an established, licensed, or bonded roofer and request references. Ask to see certificates of insurance for liability and workers compensation insurance coverage. Insist on a detailed, written estimate, showing material needed, labor charges, and approximate starting and completion dates. As self-­serving as this sounds, a knowledgeable roof consultant can steer you through the many pitfalls of buying a new roof. With their help, you can pick the right roof system to meet both your design expectations and budget limitations. The good contractors appreciate opportunities to bid roofing projects like yours.

Hail Damage FAQ

A hail hit on a shingle looks like a “bruise” or a dark spot where the granules on the shingle have been knocked of and the asphalt underlayment and sometimes the fiberglass mat is exposed and indented. New hail hits will have a shiny appearance because the asphalt has been freshly exposed and has not had time to weather to a dull dark color.

Roofs leak from a break in the waterproofing layer. High winds, hail damage, and deterioration or defects in the roofing material are considered to be functional damage. Other causes may include mechanical damage (ie, tree falls on roof). The key to roof management is leak avoidance. Find and correct defects before they leak because once they do the damage will only spread compromising the entire roofing systems integrity (wood rot and mold).

If you’ve recently had hail in your area and you would like to determine if the shingles have been damaged, a close inspection of the shingles has to be made from the roof. In most cases you cannot visually see damage from the ground.

Granule loss is a part of the normal weathering process of composition roofing. Small hail impacting a roof often displaces some of the granules as does rain, wind, snow, ice, and foot traffic.

Call your insurance carriers claims department and ask for an adjuster to come inspect your roof for hail damage. Call a reputable roofing company and ask for the same inspection. If there are any discrepancies between the adjuster’s findings and the contractors assessments you may call for a “RE-­INSPECTION” where an adjuster assigned to your claim meets with the roofing contractor to inspect the roof together. Re-­inspections are very common. The insurance company must determine two things when assessing your roof to determine the amount of your loss:

  1. Was there sufficient damage to the roof system to reduce water shedding capabilities?
  2. Was there sufficient damage to cause a reduction in the long-­term service life of the material?

Shingles are designed so that the granules block the UV of the sun and protect the asphalt underlayment. As the shingles age the granules fall of over time. When the asphalt is exposed to sunlight it dries out and the shingle becomes compromised losing its waterproofing capabilities, discolors, and the corners will start to curl up. A shingle at the extreme end of its life is bubbled in appearance and is brittle to the touch. A 30 ­year shingle is warranted by the manufacturer to have a useful life, under optimal ventilation conditions, of 30 years. Hail does several things:

  • Accelerates granule loss.
  • Causes defects in the mat where water can pool.
  • Accelerates shingle aging.
  • Voids manufacturer’s warranties.
  • Leads to other associated problems.
  • Most hail damage poses no immediate threat to the structural integrity of the roof. However, many insurance companies have a “statute of limitations” of how long a hail claim is viable (usually 180 days from the date of loss). If you have experienced a loss such as hail damage it is prudent to take care of the problem in a timely manner before it leads to other associated problems. In some instances large hail will cause leaks within the roofing system immediately following the storm. Repairs will need to be made promptly to insure the property within the home sustains minimal damage. The insurance adjusters will only assess the damage caused by the primary storm. Additional damage will be viewed separately on claims if the insured has not made ef orts to protect property immediately following a loss.

Residential Roof Replacement Costs: What to Consider

The total roof replacement costs for a new roof will vary depending on the size of the home, the type of roofing material, extra elements such as skylights and chimneys as well as other factors mentioned below.

The Average Cost to Replace a Roof by House Size

The average cost of a new roof based on house size is listed below.

Small 20sq ft. home

Small: 1,200 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft.

Cost range for a turnkey roof installation:
$9,500 to $12,500


Medium: 2,100 sq. ft. to 3,200 sq. ft.

Cost range for a turnkey roof installation:
$12,600 to $15,000


Large: 3,200 sq. ft. to 4,300 sq. ft.

Cost range for a turnkey roof installation:
$15,000 to $25,000

6 Factors That Can Determine the Cost of a New Roof

1. SkylightsTypically, when it comes to skylights, it’s better to replace them during a new roof replacement. The reasoning behind this is that it can be very costly to replace them if you have a repair done let’s say five years after getting a brand-new roof. You can save money on labor costs by getting them replaced during the shingle project and decrease the risk of a leaky skylight that results in damage to your home. Each skylight is approximately anywhere from five to ten percent of the cost of the roof. Skylights are a costly add-on, and they will make the price of a roof replacement increase considerably.

According to Velux, the average cost to replace a skylight is approximately between $900 and $3,600.

2. Chimneys: Just as you want to make sure that the area around your skylight is sealed to prevent water from leaking into your home, you need to do the same for your chimney. What creates your chimney’s seal is something called flashing. Chimney flashing consists of a metal layer that forms a waterproof seal where your chimney and roof meet.

The amount of chimney flashings that are required for a new roof is another variable as it relates to why roofing prices can fluctuate. The estimated cost for chimney flashing installation is approximately $500 to $1,000, including labor and materials.

Roof with multiple layers of shingles
Multiple Layers of Shingles

3. Roof layers: Multiple layers of roofing on your home, will drive up the labor and disposal costs due to the added weight. Multiple layers come from contractors installing an additional layer of shingles over the existing layer. Most municipalities will not allow more than two layers; however, it’s common to

discover a third layer when work was completed without the proper permitting. The pricing increase is approximately 10% more per sq. ft. for every additional layer due to the removal and disposal costs.

You may be thinking, why can’t I just put a new roof over my old roof? This is also known as reroofing and is problematic for multiple reasons. One being that once all of the old layers are removed, your installer can examine the roof decking (wooden boards that make up the foundation or base of your roof system) for any deterioration such as water damage and rot before installing a new roofing system. Another issue with this is that according to Thumbtack, reroofing should only be done once, only when the existing shingles are in good condition, and only when you don’t currently have two layers of shingles on your roof.


Roof pitches
Roof pitch


4. Roof pitch or steepness of the roof: Your roof’s pitch refers to its steepness, and the slope is the incline of the roof expressed as a ratio.

  • Flat roofs typically have a pitch from ½:12 to 2:12 (from 4.2% to 16.7%). The name for this is deceiving because flat roofs aren’t absolutely flat. These are typically found on commercial roofing applications, and they tend to have a small slope for water runoff.
  • Low-pitched roofs have a pitch under 4:12 (33.3%). This type of pitch can be seen on both commercial and residential buildings. Low-pitched roofs are often still walkable.
  • Conventional roofs have a pitch ranging from 4:12 to 7:12 (33.3% to 58%). Normally, these are safe to walk on, and they are the easiest type of roof pitch to construct.
  • High-pitched roofs can go as high as 8:12 to 21:12 (66% to 175%), and will cost more because of the added safety equipment needed, the precautions involved with their construction, and the extra difficulty of installation on a “non-walkable” roof.

Conventional roofs are generally most affordable. High-pitched roofs with multiple layers are much more expensive. The reason for the cost increase is added labor expense due to all of the old roofing debris falling to the ground creating double work for the tear-off, added labor expense for the extra safety precautions required, and the inability to walk the roof and installations being done from hooks and boards, ladders, or scaffolding.

5. Roof accessibility: Another factor that makes the prices of the roof change significantly is when there’s poor access to a home’s roof.

Examples of accessibility issues include:

  • Close quarters and lack of a driveway:
    • The home is in a very tight situation such as that of the homes in Downtown where there’s only two feet in between homes.
    • Homes that don’t have a driveway make it more difficult to get materials on top of the roof and to get the old roofing materials into a dumpster.
  • Landscape: The property has a significant drop-off such as a really steep hill that causes some difficulty in doing these projects.
  • Obstacles: Nearby power lines or tree branches limit the ability to have materials stocked on roof. This is significant because there will be extra labor expense for installers to carry up all the materials on the ladder.

In general, roof accessibility issues add about 5 to 10% to the cost of a roof replacement.

6. Wood replacement: Sometimes during a roof tear-off, the roof deck is inspected and found to be in good condition and no wood needs to be replaced. In other instances, the wood (aka roof decking) is bad because of leaks or age. This causes the sheathing to become weak or rotten. Because contractors can’t always see the roof deck prior to tear-off, there should be a wood price in the contract in the event that the replacement of wood is needed.

Depending on your geography and roof pitch, wood decking replacement installed will range from $3.50 to $4.75 per sq. feet.

Tip: It’s important to consider the cost of the material in the industry at the time of the project. Wood, metal and building materials can fluctuate year to year.


How to Get a Handle on Estimating Roof Replacement Costs

A roof provides shelter and protection from the elements. This makes a roof essential to every home. The thought of replacing your roof might overwhelm you in terms of the duration of the project and cost for such an undertaking.

Our goal is to provide you with trustworthy and authentic roofing cost information to help you break down what variables are involved in determining the overall cost for a roof replacement.

Before we get started, it’s important to know the lingo when it comes to what makes up a roof so that you and your contractor are speaking the same language. As listed in Owens Corning’s The Anatomy of a Roof, a roof system is comprised of the following common roof parts:

  • 1 Roof ridge
  • 2 Ridge vent
  • 3 Flashing
  • 4 Hip
  • 5 Roof deck
  • 6 Roofing underlayment
  • 7 Roof valley
Parts of a roof
Common parts and layers of a residential roof with asphalt shingles
  • 8 Laminated architectural shingles
  • 9 Roof gable
  • 10 Metal drip edge
  • 11 Dormer
  • 12 Ice and water barrier
  • 13 Eave
  • 14 Under eave vent

Note that roof replacement pricing quotes will vary by your location and the roofing material selected.

Cost Comparison by Roofing Material

There are many different types of roof material to consider for your roof replacement. The roofing material that you select will be a major contributing factor to the total cost of your roofing project.

When it comes to roofing material, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Cost: Find the material that best suits your needs and budget. Remember that high-quality roofing materials will be more costly than lower-quality roofing materials.
  • Lifespan: Choose the material that fits your plans. If you’re going to stay in your home many years, you might want to invest in long-lasting materials.
  • Resilience: Will it hold up against hailstorms and other natural occurrences?
  • Weight: If your roof is too heavy, it can affect the structural integrity of the home.
  • Climate conditions: Note that certain roofing materials work better for certain geographic areas. Make sure you choose a material that can withstand the demands of your local climate.
  • Energy efficiency: A cool roof (one that reflects a lot of sun’s light rather than absorbing it) reduces energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs.
  • Architectural design: Find a roofing material that works best with the architectural style of your home to create the ideal curb appeal.

Note: Over the course of your roofing project, you’ll encounter the term square in reference to the units of measure for how roofing materials are priced and sold. GAF’s “What’s a roofing square?” explains that a roofing square is an area of roof that measures 10 by 10 feet, making up 100 sq. ft. total.

Some common types of roofing materials include the following:

  • Asphalt ShinglesAsphalt shingles
    • Longevity: 25 years (3-tab), 30 to 50 years (architectural)
    • Cost: $100 to $150 per square (shingles only)
    • Pros: Low-cost, easy installation, multiple colors/styles, popular among homeowners
    • Cons: Not performing well in hot/humid climates (certain types), darkening or staining from excessive moisture or humid conditions primarily in southern regions
  • Wood ShakesWood shakes
    • Longevity: 25 years
    • Cost: $350 to $600 per square (shakes only)
    • Pros: Can last longer in dry warmer climates (depending on certain factors), high wind resistance, sustainable material source
    • Cons: Doesn’t perform well in hot/humid climates, potential fire hazard, doesn’t last as long as other materials, susceptible to mold, rot, and insects
  • Metal RoofMetal (depending on gauge)
    • Longevity: 40 to 80 years
    • Cost: $450 to $1,800 per square (material only)
    • Pros: High wind and weather resistance, fire-resistant, lasts longer than asphalt and wood shingles, impact resistant
    • Cons: Higher cost for materials
  • Tile RoofClay tile or Slate
    • Longevity: 100+ years
    • Cost: $800 to $2,500 per square
    • Pros: Durability, high-end style, rot-resistant, high-wind resistance
    • Cons: Hard to install, high cost for materials and installation

A Word of Caution

Don’t put off your roof replacement. If, for example, you decide to postpone a much-needed roof replacement in order to complete remodeling the interior of your home, then you might end up with more problems than you bargained for including leaks, mold, health issues, and the deterioration of the structure of your home. Your roof comprises part of the overall structure of your home. By delaying your roof replacement, you risk worsening damage to your roof. In the end, you might have to replace your floor, drywall, or other interior items.

Tips for Paying for Your Roof Replacement

As with any major purchase, you’ll want to weigh your options for how you plan on paying for your roofing project. Consider the following as you make your decision:

  1. Is it possible to file an insurance claim? It depends on the situation, but if there’s been a hail storm or wind storm in your area, your roofing contractor will point out that you should contact your insurance company to find out what they consider normal wear and tear and what falls under storm damage to your roof. Usually, your insurance company will work with a claims adjuster to properly assess the damage. Your roofing contractor will work with your insurance agent to try and make sure that you get the right amount to cover the cost of the roof replacement.
  2. Think about financing options. If filing an insurance claim isn’t an option, you can finance your roof replacement through a variety of options, including home equity loans, FHA loans, company financing, cash, or credit savings. As explained in Modernize’s Roof Replacement Financing: A Checklist For Homeowners, be sure to compare financing offers if you choose to go this route. Another option is to finance directly through a roofing contractor in your area. Independent roofing contractors are in network or partner with the brands you are purchasing (such as Owens Corning) and offer low monthly payments and low interest rates during the life of the loan (depending on your credit history).
  3. Create a plan for an emergency budget. Put a plan in place for any unexpected costs, including rotten decking, storm damage, and drainage issues to name a few.

How to Protect Your Investment

Get three quotes. As mentioned above, be sure to get three quotes from reputable contractors. Read online ratings/reviews, check BBB ratings, and ask for the contractor’s proof of insurance and license and bond certifications.

Do your due diligence when researching roofing contractors. When deciding between multiple contractors, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Just because you have a lower price from a contractor, doesn’t mean that they’re using the same quality materials or that they are following the manufacturer’s specifications for installation.

For example, some companies might forgo using an ice and water protector membrane or not check for proper ventilation. In order for the warranty to be valid, the contractor must follow the manufacturer’s specifications and install the roof the correct way. Make sure that you hire a manufacturer-certified company. As founder of Capital Improvements Roofing, Pat Jewell spells this out by saying, “If your roofing contractor doesn’t have a manufacturer certification, they cannot file warranties.” As explained by HomeLight, if you have a roof with 50-year lifetime shingles, but it’s not installed by a certified company, then that roof actually only has a 10-year warranty.

Get a roofing warranty. Read the manufacturer’s warranty carefully to determine what is and isn’t covered and for how long. Consider purchasing the manufacturer’s after-market warranty, which will cover more than what comes with your roofing material. Note that there are different types of warranties out there, and they have different wind resistance ratings. Another point of note is that some warranties are prorated while others are non-prorated.

How much value does a new roof add to your home? In addition to providing shelter and protection, the average return on investment (ROI) for a roof replacement is around 60% for favorable terms according to Remodeling’s How to Analyze ROI on a Roof Replacement. Note that this percentage can vary based on location and other details. For more information, consult your roofing contractor who can help you get an approximate ROI.

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