Home Home Repair Roof Replacement Basics You Must Know Before Starting

Roof Replacement Basics You Must Know Before Starting


Within the home remodel workflow, roof replacement is job number one. Every single project you undertake, from drywall installation on down to the most delicate swipe of paint, will be ruined if you do not protect it properly with a roof.

1. Know: 5 Basic Types of Materials

Your choice of roofing materials often depends on your locality, as much as on your own personal taste. Roof pitch (angle) affects the kind of roofing shingles you can use! For example, wood shake shingles can be used for steeper pitched roofs but not low-pitched roofs.

  • Asphalt Composition Shingles: Cheap and easily obtainable, but less attractive than other options due to “flat” appearance.
  • Wood Shake: Pricey but attractive shingle.
  • Metal Roofing: Still rare, and few roofers know how to install it well; special companies are required for this job.
  • Slate Roofing: Highly attractive, and a high-end roofing option; extremely slippery to walk on.
  • Rubber Slate or “Faux” Slate: Recycled post-industrial synthetics gaining in popularity.

2. Decide: Whether To Remove Shingles or Roof Over Them

  • Weight Issues: The main argument against laying additional layers of asphalt shingles is that the roofing materials can get too heavy for the underlying roof framing. This can be a structural problem, especially for older houses. It is often said that a triple layer of asphalt shingles is equal to a single layer of slate shingles–an exceedingly heavy type of material.
  • Telegraphing: One other problem with shingling over existing shingles is that you are essentially repeating some of the surface irregularities that may already be there. If you’re contemplating putting on a new roof, there’s probably a good chance that you may have bubbles, bumps, and waves that you need to get rid of. Putting new shingles over that doesn’t do much for the aesthetic aspect. One way to minimize this problem is to go over the old roof and correct as many problems as you can. It doesn’t take much more than a hammer, some roofing nails, and a handful of shingles to correct the problem of bumps, gaps, and protruding nails.
  • Saving Work, Reducing Waste: Stripping off the existing layer and then laying down a new layer adds more work to the process. Not a real problem if roofing professionals are tackling the job—they can strip most roofs in a morning—but if you’re doing the job yourself, it can be rough.

3. Save: Money and Materials

The cost to replace a roof varies according to your roofing materials (all the way from cheap 3-tab asphalt shingles up to architectural shingles or even slate), the roofing contractor, the pitch (or steepness) of your roof, the area to be covered, and a host of other factors. A rock-bottom, 3-tab composite roof for a small home may cost as little as $7,500. Roofing contractors have a great deal of flexibility to negotiate on the cost, so you please feel that you have the license to do so.