What to expect when getting a roof replaced on a residential property

Eventually, every homeowner will need to have their roof replaced. When the time comes, you should know the necessary steps for replacing your roof to make sure it is done correctly. No matter what type of roof you have, the replacement process is going to be the same. There are preparations you can take to help ensure everything goes smoothly.

Roof Replacement Preparation Tips

You should prepare both the outside and the inside of your home. If you have any damaged plywood you are having replaced, it is a good idea to cover all of your furniture, bedding and clothing to prevent any falling debris from damaging your household items. The roofers will be scattering and nailing materials all over your roof.

If you have an attic, cover everything using an attic tarp. If possible, you should remove any items so you will not have to be concerned about any possible damage. Being prepared is always a good idea.

Once you have prepared the inside of your home, you should move anything that’s outside near your home that might be damaged by any falling debris.

This includes your patio furniture, grills and potted plants. Prior to any shingles being removed, you should remove any solar panels, antennas and satellite dishes.

Parking your car and any boats further down your street will provide the contractors with enough room to move everything back and forth from your home.

You should not need to move out during your roof replacement. Any disruption in your routine should be fairly minimal because roofing contractors work during office hours. If you work from home, you may find the noise disruptive. You can look into spending time with a friend or family member.

Your Pets and Children

During construction, there is a chance debris may fall from your roof. This is a safety risk for your children and pets. You can keep everyone safe by explaining to your kids why they are unable to go outside. You can also set up areas where they can play safely. Your best option for pets is to put them in the quietest room in your home so they will not become stressed by the noise above.

The Steps for Replacing Your Roof

The preparation is the same whether you have a metal, slate or shingle roof. The eight basic steps are detailed below.

Step One-Property Protection: The first job of your contractor is protecting your property while replacing your roof. Protection plywood and tarps are used for your siding, plants, walls and bushes.

Step Two-Removing Your Old Roofing: All of your old shingles will be removed for a thorough inspection of your wood decking.

Step Three-The Inspection: Any rotted, soft or wet wood discovered during your inspection will be replaced. This is necessary to ensure the base for your roofing structure is solid. This makes certain your shingles will remain intact. Your wood sheeting will be inspected to ensure it is correctly attached to your roof.

Some contractors do not look for missing nails while removing the old material. They do not renail your wood decking prior to installing your new shingles. Unfortunately, a few weeks later bumps may appear on your roof. You should check to make certain your wood decking has been renailed and you roof fully secured.

Step Four-Preparing the Surface of Your Roof: Once your wood decking has been prepared, the drip edge is installed at all of your roof’s edges. This is a piece of metal with a ninety-degree bend to stop rain from seeping beneath your roofing material at the edges.

Step Five-The Water and Ice Shield: The ice and water shield is a specific kind of roofing underlayment. This prevents any water leaks in your roof because it will stick to your wood decking. The installation needs to be at all roof penetrations such as roof connections, pipe flanges and chimneys in addition to the bottom of your roof. This stops water and ice from penetrating your wood decking. This can result in cracks that will weaken the structure.

Once your shield has been applied, your roof should be covered using roofing felt. This will prevent your new shingles from sticking to the wood. Most contractors use heavy-duty roofing felt. The contractor can then begin installing the materials necessary for preparing your roof. The majority of professional roofers follow the same or similar steps to ensure your new roof can hold up to extreme weather and is waterproof.

Step Six-Installation of Your New Roofing Materials: Once all of the required steps have been completed, the base of your roof will be ready for the contractor to start laying out your new materials. The roofer will begin at the bottom and work their way up. They follow specific steps while installing ridge capping, ridge vents and counter flashing when needed.

Step Seven-Cleaning Up the Site: The job site should be cleaned every day. Professional roofers believe the site should be cleaner when they leave then it was when they arrived.

Step Eight-The Final Inspection: A meticulous inspection should be performed once your roofing replacement is complete. It is important to make certain your roof was installed properly and that it meets with your approval.

Tarping During a Roof Replacement

Professional roofers will use a lot of tarps while preparing your roof. You should be aware they may need to enter your home. Tarps are used on the sides of your home to make certain any falling shingles will not damage your siding, windows, decks or plants. If it starts to rain, tarps will be used to protect your shingles and your roof during installation.

Checking Your Vents

The roofer will look at your existing vents to make certain none of them need to be replaced. If your roof is not vented properly, your shingles and roof will not last as long. Continuous ventilation can only be ensured when there is a vent where each row of shingles begins and at your roof’s peak. The roofer will examine the framing or flashing on your vents to see if there is any rot or rust. If so, the vent will need to be replaced.

The contractor will make certain any insulation has been cleared out of the soffit vent openings. The inside of your attic will be inspected to determine if your intake or exhaust vents need to be retrofitted. There are also different exhaust pipes and vents coming from your laundry room, bathroom and kitchen. These may need to be replaced or cleared out. If you do not have a vent in your bathroom, you can have one installed through your new roof at this time.

Gutter Damage

The contractor will look or separations or dents in your gutters. They may ask if water has been frequently overflowing your gutters. If there are any issues, this is a good time to have your gutters replaced. If your gutters are still performing properly, there is no need to have them replaced.

Removing the Existing Roof Materials

Prior to actually replacing your roof, all of the old materials need to be removed right down to the plywood. Do not be surprised if it takes time before you see your new roof being installed. Once your shingles are removed, all of your flashing or vents must be removed as well. There are also other elements that need to be removed before your new roof is installed. You will notice the roofing contractor keeps all of their materials together and in order. This enables them to remain organized while walking around your roof safely.


If you have a shingle roof, all of your old shingles need to be removed. This can be accomplished using either a roofing shovel or a garden fork. These tools are used for loosening the ridge caps, prying up the nails and pulling off the shingles in the direction of the roof jacks. It requires time to pull up all of the nails and remove the shingles. Shingles are very heavy and most likely dirty.


There is no way to know what is lurking beneath your old flashing. This is the reason it is essential to completely remove it from your vents, chimneys and valleys. The old caulk or adhesive must be removed carefully, the nails pried up and the flashing pulled away. There may or may not be rotten or damaged wood in the area. If there is, it will be replaced by your professional roofer.

Tar Paper

Before your underlayment and shingles can be installed, the entire deck surface will need to be inspected by the roofer. It may be necessary to remove the tar paper in order to proceed. If your sheathing has come loose, it will need to be refastened and the nails inspected to make certain it is still good.

Damaged Wood From Your Roof

If any of the wood has started to rot, it will need to be replaced. If your new shingles are installed on damaged wood, they can shift. This will lead to a leak which completely undermines the reason you are having a new roof installed.

The Installation of Necessary Products

It is a good idea to have all of the necessary pipes or vents on your roof replaced at this time. This includes your flashing. The roofer should be using copper or aluminum flashing. Using a roofing caulk is the best method for sealing the flashing to your chimney bricks. Other areas may need to be sealed as well. The gap in between the bricks and the flashing should be filled completely.

The Drip Edge

Installing your drip edge first is important. The installation along your eaves will help to protect your new shingles and roof from any rot or water damage while providing protection and support for your shingles.


Prior to the installation of your shingles, a tarpaper underlayment will be installed. This is placed above your sheathing. The tar paper should be either nailed in or stapled to your roof. The closure using round stickers will stop water from entering your roof.


The roofer will draw lines on your roof to ensure their alignment is perfect. The under-row layer is the beginning of your shingle installation.

Under-row Shingles

All of your roof containing shingles should be covered using an under-row of starter shingles. This will prevent the butted shingle bond from being exposed to the material used for the underlayment. The new shingles should be offset from the under-row shingles to ensure there is no overlap of the bonds or tabs. A staircase order should be used to place your shingles from right to left or left to right. When you shingles have been installed to the top, the cap will be placed over your vent system.


If your home does not have gutters, a diverter has never been installed behind the chimney. The best time for this installation is while you are having your roof replaced. A diverter will ensure any water flows off of your roof. This means when you are trying to open your door when it is raining, water will not be hitting you in the face. The diverter should be installed behind your chimney and in any areas where water will be draining off of your roof.

When you have your roof replaced, you are taking an important step for maintaining your home and increasing it’s value. Even if you are a little bit concerned about the process, you can make certain the transition is smooth just by taking the right preparation steps prior to the arrival of your installation team. This will make both your life and that of your roofers a lot easier. By understanding the process and what you should do, you become a part of your new roof installation.