The Process of a Roof Replacement Explained

A properly maintained roof can last for years without signs of wear and tear. However, environmental factors and quality of your roofing materials can play a huge role in how long your roof lasts. If you find that you are in need of a roof replacement after a proper inspection be sure you take all the necessary steps of preparing your roof for a replacement.

Whether you choose to hire a professional or install the roof yourself the same steps apply for preparing your roof. They are vital and will noticeably change the appearance and longevity of your roof. All of these steps will ease the transition from leaky roof to new roof.

roof needs repair


Preparation Tips

Some forget that when preparing for a new roof entails getting the outside and often timesthe inside of your house prepared as well. If you’re dealing with damaged plywood that needs to be replaced; you’ll want to cover all furniture, clothing and bedding in order to ensure that any falling debris doesn’t ruin your household items. The roofer’s will be nailing and scattering about on the roof so you never know what may get knocked loose in the process.

Don’t forget about your attic. You’ll need to cover all items in your attic tarp, or even better, remove them so you don’t have to worry about any damage being done to them. Shingles, tar paper, nails granules, and everything that was put on your roof can fall between the gaps in the boards of your attic, it’s best to be prepared for that.

Once you get everything inside your house prepped you’ll want to start moving any patio furniture, potted plants, grills and anything else that could get damaged by falling debris from the areas surrounding your home. You’ll also need to remove any satellite dishes (be advised that they may not be as properly installed as before), antennas and/or solar panels from your roof before you beginning removing any shingles.

It’s also a good idea to park your cars and/or boats down the street in order to give your contractors room to move new roofing materials to and from the job site.




Tarps will become your best friend as you prepare your roof. Not only is it sometimes necessary to tarp the inside of your home (for some projects) but tarping the outside of your home is smart as well. Tarps are mainly used to cover the sides of the houses so that the falling shingles don’t damage windows, siding, plants and decks and/or unless the shingles are taken off and it stats to rain.

Check Your Vents

You’ll need to either talk with your roofer about existing vents or know what to look for if you need to replace them. An improperly vented roof will hinder the life of your shingles and roof. A continuous ventilation at the beginning of each shingle row and at the peak of your roof provides proper ventilation.

If you notice rust or rot on the flashing or framing of your vents, it’s time for them to be replaced. Make sure your soffit vent openings are cleared of insulation and inspect the inside of your attic; you may need to retrofit the exhaust or intake vents. You should also not forget about the different vents and exhaust pipes coming form the kitchen, bathroom and often times laundry rooms that may also need to be cleared out or replaced.

Also, did you know that if you don’t have a vent in your bathroom your roofer can install one? Well, they can. Your roofer can put a bathroom vent in your roof.

Roof Repair


Gutter Damage

If you notice runoff water overflowing your gutters frequently, dents or separations then it’s smart to go ahead and get them removed and replaced. Just keep in mind that if they aren’t in disrepair then you should leave them alone. It won’t hurt to just let them be until time for new ones is necessary.

Removing Existing Roofing Materials

Before your new roof can be installed, it’s essential that all the old roofing materials be removed all the way down to the existing plywood. If you’re wondering why you are removing old roofing materials if you haven’t started taking the shingles off and nothing has been done on the roof it is because all the vents and/or flashing gets removed or replaced after the shingles have been removed.

From there, a number of other things should be removed in order to get your roof ready for its replacement. Start by getting roofing jacks in order to keep all roofing materials together and allow you with the ability to walk around safely and stay organized.

Removing Existing Roofing Materials



Start the replacement process by removing all of the old shingles with a garden fork or roofing shovel. You can use these tools to pry the nails up, loosen the ridge caps and pull the shingles off and towards the roof jacks. Not all of the nails will come off at first and that’s okay. Just work on getting all of the shingles off. Keep in mind that the shingles are probably quite dirty and definitely heavy so take your time.


You never know what could be hiding under old flashing so removing its entirety from your chimney, vents and valleys is essential. Carefully remove old adhesive or caulk, pry up the nails and pull the flashing away. You may or may not notice damaged or rotten wood in this area, if you do it will definitely need to be replaced.

Tar Paper

Prior to installing the underlayment and new shingles roofers will need to inspect the whole deck surface. The roof tar paper may need to be removed in order to do this. If the sheathing is loose, it may need to be refastened and the nails inspected in order to ensure it’s still viable.

Damaged Wood

As with any damage wood under flashing, if you notice other parts of the wood have rotted then replacing them is important. Installing shingles on damaged wood would cause them to shift and you to have a leak, which defeats the purpose of getting a whole new roof.

Installing Necessary Products

At this time you want to replace all the necessary vents or pipes on the roof including flashing and be sure to always use aluminum or copper flashing. The best way to seal the flashing to chimney bricks and other areas is to use a roofing caulk. Be sure to fully fill the gap between the flashing and the bricks.

Installing Necessary Products


The Drip Edge

The drip edge is very important to install first along the eaves because it helps to protect the roof and shingles from any water damage or rot and provides support and protection to the shingles.


Tarpaper underlayment will need to be installed over the sheathing before laying the shingles in place. The tar paper should either be stapled to the roof or nailed in and closed in with round stickers to prevent any water from going in.


Lines are then drawn on the roof to make sure that the alignment is perfect. Then the shingle installation process begins with the under-row layer.

Under-row Shingles

All of the shingled roof area should be covered in under-row starter shingles. This is because you want to make sure butted shingle bond isn’t exposed to the underlayment material. Make sure to offset the new shingles from the under-row shingles so the tabs or bonds don’t overlap. The shingles should be placed either left to right or right to left with a staircase order.Once the shingles are done to the top, the cap is put on either over a vent system or without.

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We already talked about removing flashing but once it’s time to reinstall the flashing be sure to always use aluminum or copper flashing. The best way to seal the flashing to chimney bricks and other areas is to use a roofing caulk. Be sure to fully fill the gap between the flashing and the bricks.


If you don’t have gutters and you’ve never had a diverter installed behind your chimney, having one installed during your roof replacement is the perfect time. They keep water flowing off your roof instead of onto your face as you try to open your door during a rainstorm. Just install them behind your chimney and at areas on the roof where water drains directly into certain areas.

The process of replacing your roof is a huge step in home maintenance. It can be a little nerve wracking at times but taking the necessary steps before your installation team arrives will ensure a smooth transition phase. It’ll make your life and your roofer’s life just a bit easier all while giving you a chance to take part in the process if you’re hiring someone to replace your roof for you.

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