How Long Does a Roof Last? (2023 Homeowners Guide)
By Kristina Zagame /
You’ve signed the contract for your new roof and have picked the installation date, but now what? For many homeowners, the installation process is largely a mystery, but with this guide, you’ll know exactly what to expect when it comes time for the installation of your new roof.
At EcoWatch, our goal is to take the stress out of your home improvement project. This EcoWatch guide to sustainable roofing has helped thousands of homeowners like you understand the roof installation process from start to finish.
Whether you’ve decided to replace your roof due to age or because a severe storm rolled through and caused significant damage, this guide to the roof installation process can help you understand what to expect and when.
The EcoWatch team asked a number of experts on what homeowners need to know when it comes to installing a new roof. Below are their answers.
The roofing material is bought, delivered, unloaded, and placed in a designated area. A starter strip of roofing material is applied to the roof.. Additional roofing material is applied to the roof, overlapping the starter strip. Excess roofing material is trimmed with a power saw and a utility knife. The finished roof is cleaned and inspected for quality assurance purposes.
Prior to having a contractor install a new roof, you both will need to discuss what material is the best fit for your home and personal preferences. But because there are many types of roofing material, this is often easier said than done. No longer do homeowners only have the choice of traditional asphalt shingle roofing — they now have access to metal roofing, wood shakes, clay tiles and many more options.
For many homeowners, the decision to go with one material over another happens after they contact a qualified roofing company. However, Todd Miller, roofing industry expert and president of one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers, recommends that homeowners choose the material they want before they contact a roofing contractor:1
“I strongly suggest using the internet to choose the product you like first. Then go to the manufacturer of that product and ask who they suggest as a local contractor/installer. Otherwise, you will get the product that a local contractor wants you to have, not the product you want to have.”
Regardless of when you choose a roofing material, you always need to define your decision criteria to make sure the roof material you select matches your needs. Miller advises that homeowners should consider their long- and short-term timelines, local climate, appearance preferences, potential for severe weather, energy efficiency needs, and environmental values such as recyclability before landing on a type of roof material.
For instance, homeowners interested in energy efficiency and recyclable materials may opt for aluminum metal roofing, which is up to 95% recyclable and reflects light away from your roof. But homeowners who want a quick fix because they’re planning to sell their home may opt for asphalt shingles since these are lower in price.
When it comes to new roof installation, quality matters. For that reason, you need licensed and reputable professional roofing contractors to get the job done right. Our recommended roofing companies are the best in the industry, so click below to get started on your roofing project.
As a homeowner, you don’t have too much to do to prepare for roof installation day. But there are a few things you can do to make the process go as smoothly as possible. To get ready for your new roof installation, make sure you:
Your new roof is a big deal, so you want to make sure the roofer you choose is up to the task. You’re free to choose the contractor that offers you the best price for your project, but before you settle on a roofer and sign a contract based on price alone, there are some important questions to answer.
As you gather quotes and talk to different contractors, be sure to ask the following questions:
Also, don’t be afraid to compare quotes and let your contractor candidates know that you have other competitive offers.
Make sure you have your paperwork in order from the contractors, that payments went through and that you submitted all necessary documents with your insurance company if that is how you financed your roof replacement.
The time it takes to install your roof from start to finish is typically one to three days. This timeline can vary, but it mostly depends on the size and complexity of your roof, whether your old roof needs to be removed, and the material you’ve chosen for your new roof.
Each roof is a bit different, so the best way to get an accurate time estimate is to talk to your contractor.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s what you can expect your roofer to do during a traditional roof replacement job.
In some cases, you’ll need to have your old roof removed before the new one can be installed. If your roofer can avoid it, however, they likely will because it saves time. It’s also more eco-friendly because your old roof won’t just be consigned to the landfill.
Not having to remove your old roof will also save you money, but if you already have two or more layers of asphalt roofing, you will need to pay to have it removed. Other reasons to remove your old roof include:
Along with the cost of labor to remove the old shingle roof, you’ll also need to pay for a dumpster to hold the material and a truck to haul it away. Removing your old roof can also extend the timeline to complete your roof installation.
Once your old roof layers have been removed and before the new roof installation process can begin, your roofer will evaluate the remaining structure to make sure there are no problems. It’s important that this step is done by a licensed contractor because they know what to look for and can do so efficiently.
The sheathing (also known as the roof deck) is one of the most important areas that your roofer will inspect. Because the sheathing provides the structural support for roof materials, it’s critical that this layer is in good shape and any needed repairs are made. Some things your roofer will look for prior to starting the new roof installation include:
Your roof’s flashing is important because it prevents water from seeping in through cracks and openings. Flashing is made from metal such as galvanized steel or aluminum and is placed over your roof’s joints to direct water away from them.
If your flashing needs to be replaced, your roofer will remove the old flashing and install new flashing around any area of your roof where a joint exists. This includes around your ventilation components, chimney, dormers, drip edge or any other structure on your roof.
The drip edge is a piece of angled roof flashing that directs water away from the roof and into the gutters. Not only does it protect your roof from water damage by directing water runoff to the appropriate place, but it also protects your porch and basement. This small piece of roofing material is attached over the roof decking and the fascia board by the eaves and gables of your roof.
The drip edge is a crucial part of your roofing system because it also covers the carpenter’s gap (the gap between shingles and gutters) that can become home to unwanted pests. In addition, the drip edge stabilizes your roof and protects against ice dams.
The underlayment is another important component of your roof’s system. This felt barrier catches any rogue water droplets and pushes them away from your roof’s sheathing and frame, which prevents rot, mold and mildew.
Underlayment is installed under the drip edge and is fastened to your roof via cap nails placed every four to six inches. To create an airtight barrier, it’s installed both on the roof deck and below the roof’s ridge. Once both edges of the underlayment are fastened down tightly, your roof deck will have a protective water and ice barrier.
Next, your contractor will begin to lay down shingles to create the top layer of roof. Starting with starter shingles at the bottom and side of your roof, your roofer will continue to move upward laying shingles until your roof is finished.
For metal roofing, your roofers will first screw in the vertical edge and continue to screw in each vertical row until the roof is finished. This process ensures that your roof will remain flat and any places where water could pool will be eliminated.
Gutters play a major role in your roof’s functionality and health. Without a proper gutter system that’s designed to work with your roof, you may experience severe damage to your roof, your home’s structure and foundation, and the surrounding landscaping. If your gutters work as they should, you won’t have snow, ice or water damage to worry about.
The last step in the roofing process is to inspect the finished roof and clean up any debris that remains. Your roofing crew should gather up and remove any remaining debris and unused materials.
Before your roofers are done, your new roof will also undergo an inspection to ensure that it was installed properly and to make sure that no shingles are damaged or defective. Because a poorly installed roof has a shorter lifespan, this final inspection is critical.
Your finished roof may seem sleek and simple, but a roof system is a complex structure with a number of major components, including:
Now that you understand the roof installation process, it’s time to find a reputable roofing company to expertly install your roof. Our recommended roofing providers are the best in the industry, so don’t hesitate to get your free quote today.
If you hired a professional contracting company to replace your roof, all you need to do is stay out of the roofer’s way. You may not necessarily need to leave your home during the installation process, but if you work remotely it may be best to find an alternative place to work during the day because roof replacement can be noisy.
There is no definitive timeline for your roof replacement, but homeowners can expect in the range of one to three days. The exact time it will take depends on the size and complexity of your roof and the number of workers on the roofing crew.
A roof system is made of up several layers of roofing material that together protect your home from the elements. Your roof deck system consists of an ice and water shield, underlayment, starter shingles, roof shingles and hip and ridge shingles.
There are two different types of warranties available for your roof: a material warranty and a workmanship warranty. The material warranty comes from your roof’s manufacturer and generally covers defective roofing materials. The workmanship warranty covers the labor that goes into installing your roof, protecting you against faulty workmanship.