Every homeowner wants a sturdy roof over their head. It’s your first line of defense during a storm, and it keeps the inside of your home safe and comfortable for your family. Unfortunately, we don’t always give our roof the proper attention it needs.
Upgrading your roof is a big project, but a worthy one. If you have an older roofing system, you may have noticed signs indicating your roof can no longer do its job—like missing shingles, sagging, or leaks.
With recent advancements in energy efficiency, there are new roofing options that offer plenty of benefits. Upgrading your roofing system can help keep your family safe, improve curb appeal, and potentially increase property value.
Learn how a new roof can lead to a safer, more energy-efficient home.
The Benefits of Modern, Energy-Efficient Roofing
You understand what goes into a new roof, but what do you stand to get out of a roof replacement? More than you might guess! Bask in the benefits of a new roof:
- Energy savings: Do you dread paying your utility bill? Modern roof options are more energy efficient than ever. New roofs may provide energy savings in a lot of different ways:
- Better ventilation: Old roofs don’t offer proper ventilation, which can trap hot or cold air inside your home. This will make your heating and cooling system work double-time to keep the house comfortable. Proper ventilation could help reduce your heating and cooling needs.
- Wind protection: New shingles may be able to better protect your home against winds. The higher the shingle rating, the better the wind resistance.
- Solar reflectance: Roofs that are rated high for solar reflectance deflect the sun’s rays, which could help reduce the temperature inside your home during summer months when the direct sunlight is non-stop. This can allow you to turn off the AC more, so you might save big on your energy bills.
- Improved comfort: A new roof could mean a more comfortable home. Keep cold breezes and warm fronts out, while retaining your home’s comfortable temperature.
- Better security: A new roof can keep your family safer. Modern building codes have made roofs sturdier than ever before, with some roofing systems protecting beyond what building codes require. This is especially important if you live in an area that deals with severe weather and storms.
- Improve the look of your home: Want some killer curb appeal? A new roof can give your home a makeover, enhancing the look of your property for years to come. Just remember: your roof is almost always in view, so make sure it looks exactly the way you want it to.
- Increased resale value: Modern roofs combine energy efficiency and style, and could improve the resale value of your home. According to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of REALTORS, prospective home buyers said a new roof is the most appealing and valuable home improvement.
The Anatomy of Your Roof
There’s a lot going on underneath those shingles, and understanding all the little parts that go into your roof can help you make better decisions for your home and family.
Get to know your roof’s anatomy:
- Decking: This is the bottom layer of your roof, and is sometimes called sheathing. The decking is nailed to the rafters, which are vertical beams that help hold up your home’s roof. Decking is generally made up of plywood, oriented strand board (an engineered wood formed from layers of wood strands), concrete, or metal. It serves as a sturdy foundation for the rest of your roof.
- Underlayment: This layer protects your decking from moisture and debris, and is usually made of felt paper and other synthetic materials.
- Roof covering: This is the portion of the roof you see, and serves as the topcoat—the first layer of protection against moisture.
- Shingles: Shingles are specific kind of roof covering for residential roof types. There are many shingle varieties available, including asphalt, metal, wood, and tile.
- Flashing: There are certain parts of your roof that are prone to water damage and leaks, like chimneys, vents, intersecting angles, and valleys. In these sections, it’s important to install roof improvements such as flashing. Roof flashing is typically made of rust-resistant metal, felt, rubber, or plastic, and is built around leak-prone areas.
- Drip edge: This refers to metal flashing that’s installed around the edges of your roof, designed to direct rain away from your house and into the gutter.
- Gutter: The gutter is attached to your drip edge and designed to capture water shedding off of the roof.
- Downspout: It’s important to funnel water away from your home, and your downspouts play a big role in this effort. These vertical spouts attach to your gutter and direct rainfall off your roof.
- Eaves and overhangs: Hanging a roof covering past the edge of your home creates eaves and overhangs. Overhangs are important for several reasons; they keep water off of your home’s siding, windows, and doors, redirect water away from your home’s foundation, and shade your windows to combat heat during the summer months.
What to Expect from a Roofing Project
After you select a contractor to work with, keep these tips in mind while your roofing project is underway:
- Old roofing might need to go: If there’s major damage on any area of your roof, it’s best to start from scratch. Also keep in mind that your house is only designed to withhold a certain weight; adding layer upon layer of roofing can lead to damaging your home’s structure. Your contractor will work with you to figure out the best options for your home.
- Your timeline could change: The timeline for replacing a roof depends on the type of roofing material, the weather, the size of your roof, and the size of the contractor’s team. The typical roof replacement project may take only 3 to 4 days, but your timeline may be longer depending on your selected contractor and your roofing choices. Be sure to communicate with your contractor about expectations and what timeframe they have in mind.
- Unexpected issues might come up: Some roofing projects prove to be a bit more complicated than expected, so there may need to be updates to your original plan. Changes typically happen if the contractor finds significant damage under your current roofing material. Make sure your contractor asks for your approval over all change orders.
- Debris and cleanup concerns: Once the last shingle is installed, the contractor should make sure all excess material is picked up and removed from your property.
Getting Your New Roofing Installed
So what actually happens during a roof replacement? A typical installation will look something like the following. Keep in mind that this may vary depending on your selected contractor and your home improvement needs.
- Removing the old roofing: Your contractor will remove the old roofing if necessary to inspect the decking underneath.
- Evaluating sheathing: The team will start with a thorough inspection of your decking, looking for any wet or rotten wood that needs to be replaced. They’ll also check to see that your roof is appropriately attached to the rafters.
- Placing drip edge and underlayment: Your contractor will install a drip edge at all roof edges.
- Secondary water barriers: An ice and water shield will be applied to the wood decking, followed by a layer of felt.
- Roofing materials applied: It’s time for your contractor to apply the finishing touch—your chosen roofing material. The team will now install your roof covering, whether you’ve chosen shingles or another material.
In an ideal world, these five steps happen seamlessly. Unfortunately, Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. If it rains during your installation, your timeline will be longer than expected. A reputable contractor won’t begin a roof installation if rain is expected. Why?
- It puts their team in danger, as a steep surface and water could be a recipe for disaster.
- Rain can damage your roofing materials and the underlayment.
Your contractor should be aware of weather conditions and delay installation until the rain clears up.
Pro-Tip: While you can stay in your home during your roof renovation, the constant banging and stomping overhead may cause a bit of a headache. We recommend planning some activities to get your family out of the house and create fun memories while your roof gets a makeover. And don't forget about your pets! Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during your next home renovation project.
After Your Roof is Installed
Once your roof is securely installed, it’s time to sit back and relax. Share some photos! Now’s the time to celebrate.
Here are a few maintenance tips you can follow to keep your roof in mint condition:
- Clean the gutters: If your gutters get clogged and overflow, water can make its way into your roof sheathing and cause rot. Spend a few hours twice a year cleaning your gutters. Pencil it in your calendar now so you won’t forget later.
- Trim your trees: Some pruning and trimming can go a long way. Keep tree limbs away from your roof, especially if you live in a wind-heavy area. If you don’t have experience in tree trimming, hire a professional.
- Get rid of leaves: If you still have trees that tower above your roof, be sure to clear the area of leaves every once in a while. Leaves can easily trap in moisture and decompose—leading to weeds and moss growth, which are not only unsightly, but damaging to your new roof as well.
- Keep an eye out: If you notice your shingles are curling, or missing altogether, inspect your roof. If your roof is sagging or the flashing appears to be loosening, have it inspected by a professional. For more tips on what to look out for, read the signs your roof needs attention.
Modern roofing options are the perfect combination of energy efficiency, reliability, and style. Keep your home safe and comfortable with a roof replacement and make an investment that will pay off for years. If you’re interested in upgrading your roof, check out more details on our roofing page.