How Long Does It Take To Replace a Roof

How Long Does It Take To Replace a Roof?

Factors to Consider Before You Invest

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Have you been putting off replacing your roof because you're worried about how long it will take? Well, I have some good news for you. While replacing a roof is a significant project, the time it takes can vary depending on several factors.

A roof replacement can take anywhere from a day to a few days based on a number of factors. Whether you're a homeowner or a contractor, it's important to understand the factors that can impact the timeline of a roof replacement. From the size of your roof to the weather conditions, there are several variables to consider. In this article, we will explore the key factors that can affect the time it takes to replace a roof and provide you with some helpful tips to streamline the process.

So, if you're ready to get started on your roof replacement project but want to know what to expect in terms of time, keep reading. By understanding the various factors involved, you'll be better equipped to plan and manage your roof replacement effectively.

Understanding the Roof Replacement Process

When understanding the roof replacement process, you need a perspective that includes the planning, assessing, preparing, and executing parts of the entire process.

Assessment and Planning

The first step in the process of replacing your roof is to have a pre-inspection done by a professional roofing contractor. This step uncovers all the issues that may be hidden and will need to be addressed, such as structural work and the materials needed.

The Initial Roof Inspection: Unveiling Hidden Issues

When you have your roof inspected, the expert performing the inspection examines every component of the roof, including the structural support, the stability of the roofing material, and whether or not there are any signs of damage throughout the ceiling and walls.

During the roof inspection, the roofing experts evaluate the current condition of your roof and determine if a complete replacement or just a few roof repairs are needed. The structural inspection will check how well the overall roof system is holding up. This part of the inspection requires looking for any signs that may indicate a sagging roof, based on how the roof planes are laid out. The structural inspection examines the well-being of the main components of the roofing system. Signs of roof damage include:

  • Cracked, splintered, or rotted rafters or trusses
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Missing or damaged collar ties
  • Missing or damaged rafter ties
  • Exterior walls that are tilting or leaning

The inspector will also look at the condition of your soffit, fascia, and gutters. While on the roof, they will check around skylights, chimneys, or vents as well as the grout, seals, and exterior for any signs of damage to these systems.

Navigating Material Choices: Impact on Timeframes

In the inspection, the contractor also learns the type of materials and techniques that will be required to complete the job. The material portion of the roof inspection focuses on the roofing materials, including shingles, metal plates, clay, or slate shingles. They will examine the shingles for damages, missing materials, staining, or water damage. They will include checking the flashing underneath the roofing material for any signs of leaks, cracks, or pests.

Different types of shingles and materials will impact the timeframe required for replacing the roof. Some shingles will be readily available while other types may take longer to be delivered. Types of shingles differ also in the installation work required; in other words, some types will take longer to install. For example, metal roofs typically tend to take longer to install and are on the higher end of costs due to materials, labor, and system requirements.

It is important to remember that any work that needs to be done must meet local building codes and regulations. The contractor will then provide an estimate for the cost of the project. Be sure you ask questions and get clarification on all of the findings before moving forward with the roof replacement.

Preparation and Logistics

A certain amount of work needs to be done to prepare for the roofing project. Your yard and surrounding areas of the house will need to be cleared to ensure a successful roofing project. Here are some of the tasks you will need to accomplish prior to the actual installation:

  • Clear your vehicles from the driveway and garage the night before the roofing team arrives. Park your cars a safe distance away on the street. If you wait until the morning, it’s possible the car could get trapped as a supplier drops off shingles or other materials. Leaving your car in the garage could mean it is trapped by the garbage bin used by the roofers, or exposed to falling granules and nails through the uninsulated garage roof.
  • Clear toys and patio furniture. Roofers will need to walk all the way around your home to access the roof from different sides. Ensure there is a 15-foot clearance all the way around your house. Move everything you can to a storage shed or the garage and cover with a tarp.
  • Clear the garden areas. Remove solar-powered lights, statues, mosaic stepping stones, potted plants, and other accessories. A dropped shingle can damage these delicate items.
  • Make arrangements for your pets to be inside during the roofing work. 
  • Protect the attic. The attic will collect the most dust during the roof replacement. If you have fragile items or clothes that can be covered, do so. Lay tarps or painter’s drop sheets on the floor

The Execution Phase

There are several steps in the execution phase of replacing a roof. First, the old roof must be removed and taken away. Secondly, if there are underlying structural issues, those are taken care of. Next, is the actual laying of the foundation and installing the new roofing material, taking care of the details of flashing, gutters, and roof ventilation.

Stripping the Old: Demolition and Removal

The old roof shingles and materials must be stripped off the roof structure before any installation of the new shingles takes place. Depending on the size and pitch of your roof, for a standard-sized, one-story home with an asphalt shingle roof, this can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours including the debris removal.

Addressing Underlying Problems: Repairing Substructures

There can be many problems that are beneath the surface of your roof shingles. Structural roof failures are caused by these conditions:

  • Deterioration and water intrusion - Wood structures that are regularly or continually exposed to water can be attacked by mold and bacteria that ultimately cause them to decompose. Metal components, including metal truss plates, bar joists, and roof decking, can also be affected and weakened by rust and corrosion. 
  • Changes in roof drainage - Positive drainage is critically important to the health of a roof. An example of a detrimental change in roof drainage might be where the drains are clogged with debris causing water to pool on the roof.
  • Changes in melting and runoff due to adding insulation - Adding insulation can curtail the process of heat loss needed in facilitating the melting and sloughing of snowfall on the roof. When that loss is prevented, dangerous accumulations can develop, resulting in damage to the roof.
  • Damage to roof trusses during installation - Weakened trusses and the resulting issues with a roof occur when trusses are damaged during transportation or installation. Whether it is damage to the wood or to the metal plates used to connect members, this problem can remain hidden until excessive load is placed on the roof.

Laying the Foundation: Installing New Roofing Material

Roofing underlayment is what lies between the shingles and the roof sheathing, or roof deck, which is typically either plywood, fiberglass paper, or felt. It is installed directly on the roof deck and provides a secondary layer of protection from the elements, including rain, snow, and wind.

Details Matter: Flashing, Gutters, and Ventilation

When installing a new roof, there are details that matter for the successful functioning of the roof. 

Flashing - Flashing is a flat, thin piece of metal used to help waterproof the perimeter and protrusions of roofing systems. Flashing directs water away from the seams and joints and prevents it from entering the openings and cracks in a roof.

Gutters - Gutters catch rainwater from the roof and direct it away from your property. Gutters also protect your basement and attic from water damage that can cause mold and mildew. Without a proper gutter system, your home can be susceptible to foundational and structural damage.

Ventilation - Ventilation prevents condensation that leads to mold and rot. Proper ventilation also increases energy efficiency. Other benefits are reducing the indoor temperature extremes and preventing ice damming.

Factors Influencing Roof Replacement Duration

1. Roof Type and Complexity

The type of roof you have and its complexity both have a direct bearing on the length of time it takes to replace it. Roofs that have extreme pitch or complex segments make installation more difficult.

Pitched Roofs vs. Flat Roofs: Impact on Timelines

Steep-pitched roofs require additional safety precautions to ensure the safety of the installers. 

A flat roof can reduce the time needed to replace your roof. Complex roofs can also increase the installation time. If your roof has multiple skylights or layers, the installers must take more time to ensure they seal and align the roof properly.

Dormers, Valleys, and Complex Architectural Features

More complex roofs will take longer because they have more valleys, angles, and edges that require resizing shingles and installation of more flashing and other leak-proofing efforts.

2. Weather Conditions

It isn’t optimum to install a new roof during the late fall and winter months and even in the early spring due to possible weather conditions. Contractors watch the weather closely on days when they have your roof replacement scheduled. A thunderstorm in the forecast can cause the roofer to reschedule ahead of time. It is difficult and dangerous for roofers to be on the roof installing shingles during inclement weather.

Rain or Shine: Navigating Weather Challenges

A light rainstorm without wind or lightning can prove difficult, but a roof installation can be done as long as the rain is not damaging the sheathing underneath. If it begins raining during the job, the contractors will tarp over any exposed areas as soon as possible. Weather can be a big factor in installing or prolonging a roofing project.

Optimal Seasons for Roof Replacement

The best time to replace a roof is late spring, summer, and early fall. These are the months that typically have fewer extreme weather occurrences and the temperature is favorable for the roofing contractor.

3.) Size and Accessibility

As one would think, the size of your home and the accessibility of getting the contractors, with their equipment and materials, are also factors in the time it takes to install a roof.

Small Homes vs. Mansions: Time Variation

The larger your home, the longer it takes to replace your roof. Homeowners with large roofs should expect an extended roof installation process since a large roof takes longer to remove and install. Cleanup also takes longer as there is more debris and trash created during the removal of the roof.

High Roofs, Limited Access: How It Affects Speed

If your home has a roof that is extremely high and has limited access, the time required for replacing it is lengthened considerably. Extra precautions must be taken for these factors. A roof with more slopes and valleys and higher elevation will need scaffolding, high ladders, proper harnessing, and fall protection gear.

4.) Unforeseen Complications

When a roofing contractor encounters complications that were unforeseen at the time of estimating the length of time and cost, the scope of the project changes. Damage to the structure of the roof is sometimes discovered during a roof replacement. If repairs are needed, this can delay the installation of the new roof.

Dealing with Unexpected Issues: Mold, Rot, and More

Finding anything like mold, rot and other damage from pests can make the process much longer than anticipated. Typically, these issues are found during the inspection before installation begins. Wood rot will need to be cut out and replaced. If mold is discovered, a remediation contractor may need to be called in to get rid of it. Dry ice blasting, hand sanding, and encapsulation are methods used to remove mold.

Scope Creep: How Changes Impact Timelines

Any additional work that was not factored in during the initial estimate for time will increase the timeline for completing the entire project.

Step-by-Step Breakdown: Timelines for Different Roofing Materials

Different roofing materials require different installation timeframes. Some require more effort and expertise than others. Some roofing materials are much heavier than others (for example, slate tile shingles as compared to asphalt shingles) and need extra special care to haul them up safely.

Asphalt Shingles

The process of installing asphalt shingles is quick and efficient. Even a small team of roofing contractors can quickly install an entire asphalt shingle roof within a day. It’s a simple layered and straight-nailing approach whereas something like cedar shakes or tiled roofs require a more diligent, slow process

Metal Roofing

Installing a metal roof can take anywhere from a couple of days to over a week, depending on the weather and size of the roof. If you have a large home, the time can take up to a week. Weather plays a role and can affect the installation timeframe.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes take a bit longer than asphalt shingles. Whereas asphalt shingles may take 1 to 3 days, wood shakes will take 2 to 8 days. Wooden shakes or shingles need to acclimate after being delivered to the job site. Because wood is a natural material, it expands and contracts with different weather conditions. 

Slate or Tile

Slate and tile roofs require the most time to install because the materials are more difficult to work with because they can’t be walked on and must be nailed by hand. Generally, you can count on a slate or tile roof to take 2 times as long as an asphalt shingle roof.

Post-Installation Considerations

Several steps are taken after the roof is installed that you need to factor into the total timeline.

Inspections and Approvals

After the roof is installed, you will need to get another professional roof inspector. Some contractors include the roofing inspection with the service. Others will not and you will need to secure an inspector. The inspection will check to be sure that all parts of the roof have been properly installed and that the quality of the roof is good. If your HOA required approval for the roof replacement, you should have secured it before the work was done.

Cleanup and Final Touches

Immediately following the installation, the crew will start looking more closely around the property for shingles and shingle bits as well as loose nails. This will include checking beds of pine straw for nails and shaking out the butter spouts to make sure everything got through the way it should. The roofing contractor also looks at landscaping for any damage. Then the contractor will load up all the tools and equipment and move their vehicles out of your driveway to allow room for their blowers to clear all the paved surfaces.

Contact Allied Roofing Solutions When You Need Roof Replacement

So, as you can see from this article, the length of time it takes to replace a roof is dependent on several factors–the size of the house, weather, type of materials, unforeseen structural damage, and accessibility. Hopefully, this information has been helpful in understanding what is involved in replacing your roof and has helped you be ready to get started on this important project!

Our local roofing company serves the following New Jersey counties: Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Middlesex, Essex,Hudson, Somerset, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union. Call us today for a free estimate at  (201) 773-0633 or fill out our contact form to get started.