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Residential RoofingThe Complete Guide to Roof Replacement

February 3, 2022by Nick0
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As a homeowner, there are a handful of major projects you may have to tackle during the time you own your home. Some of them, like roof replacement, may feel overwhelming. Our complete guide will explain the process and help make the project feel more manageable.

Every day people come to the realization that they need roof repairs or replacement. One of the biggest challenges is that many roofing companies do not want to service repairs. They would prefer to replace the entire roof. It will be up to you to determine when an easy repair is warranted and when it’s time to go for the entire replacement. That’s where a company like St. Joseph’s Roofing comes into play. Whether you need just a bit of flashing repaired, or a full replacement, our experts will give you the confidence you need to make a good decision.

The following guide will help you on your journey in maintaining your most important asset.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

There are a few factors that impact a roof’s longevity, but the biggest variable in a roof’s life is the composition of the material being used.

The average roof, a 3-tab (builders grade) shingle, will typically last 10-20 years, depending on the environment and slope of the roof. If you have an architectural style shingle, you can expect the shingles to last ~30 years before you begin to breakdown to the point where you’ll experience some issues.

Because they are usually less expensive in comparison to other materials, asphalt shingles tend to be the most common roofing choice.

Wood shingles, such as cedar shake, are designed to last 25-30 years on average.

These shingles can be made of pressure treated cedar and perform best in colder climates. A wood shingle roof will not last as long in a hot, arid area. To get the most life out of a wood shingle or shake roof, you’ll need to perform some routine maintenance every five years or so to protect against mold, mildew, and other environmental factors that might affect the integrity of the wood. Keep in mind that cedar shake shingle color will fade within the first few years to a dull, pale grayish color.

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Synthetic or composite shingles (slate, shake) have a lifespan of 50-100 years according to the shingle manufacturers. Materials used to produce the tiles are combined with ultraviolet inhibitors to reduce sun damage which will determine the extent of its longevity.

Standing seam metal (aluminum) roofs typically last anywhere from 30-50 years depending on the gauge (or thickness) of the metal. Premium metals, such as steel, can have a life expectancy of 50-100 years.

Other types of roofing, such as metal, clay tile, or slate tile, have much longer lifespans. Slate tile can last up to 200 years with the proper care. While these options are more costly, they all hold up well to extreme temperatures and high winds and are less likely to incur weather-related damage.

Regardless of the material type, if you start to notice damaged or missing shingles or tiles, surface mold or mildew, or inside water damage from leaks, it could be time to replace your roof. Having a professional inspect your roof at the first sign of these issues is the best course of action to determine if your roof needs to be replaced or can be repaired.

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How Much Will a Roof Replacement Cost?

Like roof lifespan, the cost to replace a roof differs based on the type of material you choose to resurface your roof. Asphalt shingles are the most cost-effective option. For a typical 2000-square foot home, an average replacement cost is $500 per square. (Each square is based on a 10’ x 10’ surface area)

The cost to replace a metal roof can vary because there are several types of metal used to make roofing. Steel is the most common material for metal roofing and carries a national average cost of about $1,025 per square, however it is considerably higher in our region vs the national average. Metals like tin can cost as low as $800 per square, while copper is on the highest end of the price range and costs begin at $2,000 per square.

Standing seam metal (aluminum) is very popular in our region and the cost for a roof replacement begins around $1250 per square. The cost is also determined by the gauge of the metal; the thicker the gauge, the better the grade of metal, therefore the cost will be more expensive.

In addition, standing seam metal roofs can sometimes cost 20% to 30% more to install than metal shingles on more complex roofs. This is largely attributed to a more tedious labor necessary to install standing seam panels on a more complex roof with multiple dormers and valleys.

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Tile roofs tend to be the most expensive option for roof replacement, especially if additional framing work must be done to support the weight of the tile. The cost for a clay, concrete, or Spanish tile roof will begin at $1500 per square.

Slate tiles, which can last up to 100-200 years, cost anywhere from $2500 - $4300 per square depending on the type, style & location of the tile.

Slate tiles, which can last up anywhere from 100-200 years and can cost between $2500 - $4300 per square depending on the type, style & location of the tile.

Compared to other conventional roofing materials, synthetic slate roofing falls in the middle, being less expensive than real slate and clay tiles but more expensive than asphalt and architectural shingles.

In addition to the materials you select for your roof replacement, the pitch and size of the roof can alter the cost. Features like chimneys, skylights, and ventilation can change the amount of materials and labor needed in those areas. Your home’s location also contributes to replacement cost because the price of materials and labor can vary by geographical location, and local building codes may require permits or filing fees.

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When Should I Replace vs. Repair My Roof?

If discovered early enough, it may be possible to repair a roof issue rather than undertake a full replacement. A repair is a more cost effective and quicker option and when done correctly, can help extend the lifespan of your entire roof. However, if a roof repair is done poorly, it can speed up the deterioration of the roof and cost more in the long run. Repairing may also mask an underlying issue that is contributing to roof damage or leaking

When assessing whether to repair or replace, a roofing professional will consider the age of your roof. If your roof is newer and the damage is contained to one area, a repair may be the best option. If your roof is older or the damage is occurring over a widespread area, it may be in your best interest to opt for a full replacement.

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Will Homeowners Insurance Cover My Roof Replacement?

A typical homeowners insurance policy will cover repair or replacement of your roof if the damage is caused by a covered peril. Usually, this means the damage must be incidental or related to severe weather damage. Roof repair or replacement will not be covered by homeowners insurance if the damage is caused by normal wear-and-tear or neglect.

If the damage to your roof is covered under your policy, an insurance adjuster will come to your home to assess the damage and determine the coverage that is available. The adjuster will also consider the age and condition of the roof before the damage occurred.

If your roof is found to have been in disrepair prior to the damage, your insurance policy may not cover the repair, or the amount you receive may be drastically reduced. Roofs that are 20 or more years old typically have very little coverage, if any, available. If there is only a small amount of damage, such as a few loose or missing shingles, your claim could be denied on the basis that the damage is cosmetic.

Once the adjuster inspects the damage and approves the coverage, you may be asked to arrange estimates for the repair if you haven’t already done so. Some insurance companies may require you to choose a contractor from a pre-approved list. Other companies may ask you to get two or three estimates from contractors of your choosing.

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Once the contractor is selected and the work is underway, the repairs or replacement may be paid for in a few different ways. If you have not already paid the total bill directly, the insurance adjuster may write a check to the contractor for the amount they’ve agreed to cover. If you have already paid, the insurance company will write a check to reimburse you. In either instance, you will likely be responsible for the deductible on your policy, meaning you will need to pay usually $500 or $1,000 of the cost out of pocket.

Insurance will only cover roof repair or replacement with the same materials on the existing roof. If your roof is currently surfaced with asphalt shingles, your policy will only pay to replace the roof with similar materials. You will not be able to ask your insurance company to pay for a more expensive replacement material like metal or tile. In some instances, you may be able to work with your insurer and pay the difference out of pocket for a more expensive material replacement.

It is important to understand the coverages afforded by your policy. Be sure to review your coverage regularly and contact your insurance agent with any questions.

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How to Get a Roof Replacement Quote

Regardless of the material you ultimately choose for your roof replacement, getting an estimate from a reputable roofing contractor is the first step in the process. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends or family is a good place to start. If you can’t find personal any recommendations, a quick online search for “free roofing estimates” should provide you with the names of a few contractors in your area.

Once you have some contractor names, it is good to look for ratings and reviews. National sites like the Better Business Bureau can help you find ratings for business in your area. Similarly, sites like Home Advisor and Angi may have reviews from customers who have used contractors local to you.

Ask the Right Questions

When you’ve selected a contractor to call, there are some important questions to ask during your initial phone call. First, ask how long the contractor has been in business. Choosing a company that has been in business for several years may ease any concerns you may have about the quality of work. However, an older company isn’t necessarily better than a newer one.

Larger, more established contractors may subcontract out smaller jobs like residential roofs. Small, newer companies may have great references for their work and have lower pricing as they try to work into the market. Asking up front and having this information may help you make your final decision.

Next, ask the contractor if they are licensed and insured, and write down their license numbers. If a company is not licensed and insured, do not ask them to provide an estimate. Contractors who do not obtain the proper insurance and licensure are less likely to provide high-quality work. They do not typically stay in business long, which can cause problems for you if there are issues with the work in the future and you’re unable to contact them.

Finally, ask the contractor for two or three references from jobs they’ve recently completed in your area. Talking to other customers who have used the same contractor can give you a sense of the workmanship and service you can expect.

Get a Detailed, Written Estimate

When you’ve selected a contractor to call, there are some important questions to ask during your initial phone call. First, ask how long the contractor has been in business. Choosing a company that has been in business for several years may ease any concerns you may have about the quality of work. However, an older company isn’t necessarily better than a newer one.

Larger, more established contractors may subcontract out smaller jobs like residential roofs. Small, newer companies may have great references for their work and have lower pricing as they try to work into the market. Asking up front and having this information may help you make your final decision

Next, ask the contractor if they are licensed and insured, and write down their license numbers. If a company is not licensed and insured, do not ask them to provide an estimate. Contractors who do not obtain the proper insurance and licensure are less likely to provide high-quality work. They do not typically stay in business long, which can cause problems for you if there are issues with the work in the future and you’re unable to contact them.

Finally, ask the contractor for two or three references from jobs they’ve recently completed in your area. Talking to other customers who have used the same contractor can give you a sense of the workmanship and service you can expect.

Avoid Cash Deals and Storm Chasers

It is a huge red flag when a roofing contractor offers a discount for paying in cash. Contractors operating in cash could be trying to avoid paying taxes or carrying proper insurance for their employees. Also, paying in cash doesn’t leave a proper paper trail if there is a future dispute over the work.

If your roof needs replacing as a result of widespread weather damage from a hurricane or hailstorm, be on the lookout for storm chasing companies. These roofers usually show up in areas affected by catastrophic weather and offer unusually low prices. Often, the roofers will leave town without completing the job or will provide poor quality work.

Once most of the work is done in the local area, the roofer will move on to another area. If there is a problem with your roof in the future, these roofers are virtually impossible to track down. You are much better off using a local contractor who will be able to return if problems arise.

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How Long Will It Take for My New Roof to Be Installed?

Once you’ve entered a contract with a roofer, the process of replacing your roof can begin. Before the work starts, your contractor may have equipment and material delivered to your home. Talk with your contractor and agree on a location for materials and equipment to be placed to avoid any inconvenience or disagreement when they arrive.

The first step of the roof replacement is removing the existing roofing material. The roofers will strip off the shingles and other materials down to the wood boards. This allows them to check for any damage to the boards or other structures on the roof. Roof boards and flashing may be cracked or rotting, and covering over that damage will compromise the lifespan of your roof.

If any structural damage is discovered, they will replace the boards or flashing before moving to the next step. Before the main roofing material goes down, your roofers will install at least one layer of material known as decking. Decking is usually made of roofing felt, which is a natural or synthetic fibrous material with a thin coating of asphalt.

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Roofing felt helps reduce moisture buildup under shingles while allowing air flow to the wood materials below. In more leak-prone areas of your roof, the roofer may use an additional layer of underlayment for increased protection.

Once the decking and leak barrier are down, the roofers will begin installing the new shingles. This is the most time-consuming step in the process. During the shingle installation, the roofer will need to be very precise to ensure the shingle rows are laid completely straight and level. While a slight variance may be unnoticeable to the eye, misaligned shingles could lead to leakage issues.

After all the shingles are installed, the final step is the clean up. Roof replacement can be messy, so you will need to be patient with seeing materials in your yard throughout the process. Most contractors will clean up and remove any debris and excess materials, though it doesn’t hurt to confirm with them or ask for clean up as a line item in the estimate

The duration of the roof replacement will depend on a few factors like the size of the roof and amount of structural damage. As with determining the amount of materials needed, the size and pitch of your roof will determine how long it takes to replace. A simple roof on an average-size home can be replaced in as little as one or two days. A larger home with a more detailed pitch or roof structures may take as long as three to five days. If underlying structures need to be replaced, it could add an additional day to the job.

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How Do I Maintain My New Roof?

Once your new roof is installed, there are some steps you can take to prolong its lifespan. Most importantly, regularly check your roof for anything that might cause problems. Keeping the shingles clean and free of debris can help prevent algae and moss from forming on the surface and compromising the roof’s integrity. Regularly cleaning your gutters and trimming any overhanging
branches can help prevent future damage.

If you’ve used metal roofing, keep an eye out for signs of rust. If left untreated, rust spots can spread and lead to larger areas of damage. If caught early, rust damage can usually be removed, and the metal can be restored

Before your contractor leaves, be sure to get any additional instructions on recommended maintenance for your roofing materials, such as sealants. Also, be sure to understand what maintenance you’ll need to do for the specifications of your roof warranty. Ask for warranty in writing, and make sure you have all necessary contact information.

Get a Quote Today

With the right contractor, a roof replacement doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. St. Joseph’s Roofing is that right contractor. Contact us today to get your free estimate

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St Joseph’s Roofing is the #1 licensed and insured roofer in Northern Virginia’s for all your residential and commercial roofing needs. Our estimates are free and our work is world-class.

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