Of all major home improvement projects homeowners face, the need for a new roof is one of the most daunting. But while a complete roof replacement can be time-consuming, disruptive, and expensive, it’s not something to overlook or take lightly. When your roof is damaged or at the end of its lifespan, it’s important to brush up on the basics and know what to expect.
What Goes Into a Complete Roof Replacement
A complete roof replacement involves tearing off the old roofing materials, disposing of them, and replacing them with new ones. This is different from re-roofing, which involves laying new shingles on top of the old roofing system. Here are the components of your roof which potentially get replaced:
- Roof Deck – Roof decking is a series of wooden boards which make up the framing of your roof. They’re firmly attached to the joists and trusses. The roof deck offers a surface for the other roofing materials to attach to. The condition of the roof deck can dictate how long it will take to complete your roof replacement. If your roofing contractor finds rotten boards due to prior leaks, they’ll definitely have to replace the decking before installing the other roofing components.
- Underlayment – Roof underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof material used over your decking to provide extra protection. Because water can sometimes get underneath your shingles, the underlayment sheds it so that the decking and framing below don’t get water damaged. Underlayment also protects the shingles from any resin released by the decking. New underlayment must be included in your complete roof replacement.
- Roof Vents – Roof ventilation is a system of intake and exhaust vents that let your attic breathe and protect your roofing system from damage. They work by allowing air to circulate through the attic, which prevents the accumulation of heated air and moisture. If your attic is not well-ventilated or your vents are damaged, your roofer may add to or replace the entire system to achieve full ventilation.
- Flashing – Flashing is a thin sheet, usually made of aluminum or galvanized steel, which a roofing contractor installs in vulnerable areas of the roof. Flashing is typically found in valleys, and at the bases of roof vents, chimneys, plumbing vents, and walls. It keeps water from getting into these vulnerable spots. If your flashing is damaged or rusted, it will need to be replaced.
- Drip Edge – This is a thin metal strip installed around the edge of the roof. It helps direct runoff water into the gutters to protect the exposed edge of the wooden decking.
- Soffit and Fascia – These two architectural elements are critical for preventing roof damage due to winter weather. The soffit covers the underside of the eaves where your roof meets your siding. Fascia is the long, straight board along the side of the overhang and the roof edge.
- Shingles – These are the most recognizable of roof components. They act like a suit of armor, protecting your home and all the underlying layers of your roof from the elements.
Factors That Determine the Length of Your Roof Replacement
On average, a roof can be completely replaced within one working day. The project can, however, go longer, depending on various factors, including:
Extent of Work
This may seem pretty obvious, but the size of your home’s roof directly impacts its replacement timeline. The larger your home is, the longer the job will take. That said, replacing the roof of a small two-bedroom house will be faster than replacing the roof of a larger home. Roofing contractors measure the size of the roof in square footage.
The need to replace roof decking will also affect the length of your roof replacement. It can be difficult for your roofing contractor to determine the condition of the decking until after the old materials have been torn off. If they find that your decking or the underlying support structures are damaged, they’ll have to replace them in sections or in entirety. This will take more time.
Complexity of Your Roof
The complexity of your roof is how many valleys, hips, gables, and facets your roof has. It also has to do with the pitch or steepness of your roof.
It’s simple and easy to work on a roof with two slopes that meet in the middle of the house. Conversely, it may take longer to perform a replacement on a roof that’s too steep to walk across or has an intricate design with many dormers and valleys.
Roofs with complex designs require a lot of expertise and safety measures, which may slow down the roofing crew.
Some roofing materials are harder to install and need more care than others. Asphalt shingles, which are the most popular, are easy to install and would take 1-2 days during prime conditions with an average roof.
Materials such as tile, metal, and wood shakes can be challenging to install. As such, the project may take longer to complete.
An experienced roofing contractor will monitor the weather and schedule your roof replacement when the conditions are going to be ideal for the project. But weather is many times unpredictable.
Rain, for instance, can stop an installation in its tracks prolonging the job anywhere from an hour to a full day. Summers can get extremely hot, forcing the workers to take frequent breaks.
Work with a Reputable Roofer
One of the most important aspects when considering a complete roof replacement is hiring the right roofing contractor. You want to work with local professionals who have years of experience and will be upfront about what goes into replacing your roof.
Contact Quantum Roofing for all your roofing needs in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Our highly skilled technicians make every effort to estimate the time it will take to replace a client’s roof and provide flawless installation, every time. We use top-rated materials and are confident in the workmanship we provide.