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When your roof leaks, you need a replacement as soon as possible. Understandably, you want the repairs completed before the next storm blows in, and ideally, the contractors should finish the job quickly so you can return to your usual busy schedule.

But a roof replacement involves more than tearing away a few old shingles and nailing down some new ones. Although a professional roofing team can work efficiently, some projects will take longer than a few hours or a few days to complete.

Before you make unreasonable demands on your team, take a look at the following replacement process. The more you know about the tasks involved, the better you can estimate the length and scope of the project.

1. Planning, Preparation, and Protection

Your new roof will require a lot of planning to ensure the job goes smoothly. During the planning stage, you’ll select the color and material for your shingles while the contractors perform initial measurements and estimates for the job.

Next, you’ll both decide on a date to start the project, and you’ll sign a contract discussing the scope, worksite, and payment details. You may also need to file an insurance claim, acquire building permits, and apply for financing.

When you feel comfortable with the contract, your roofing team can take steps to prepare your home for the roof replacement. They may need to cover sections of your home and landscape with a protective tarp, remove yard ornaments or appliances that may pose as a tripping hazard, and set up toe boards and similar safety equipment.

2. Roof Removal and Inspection

Some contractors take shortcuts and overlay the old shingles with new ones. This approach not only adds unnecessary weight to your roof but it also compromises the integrity of the new shingles. Layering materials traps excess heat against your roof, causing shingles to curl and buckle.

For best results, your contractor will have to completely tear away the old shingles as well as the underlayment. Depending on the extent of the damage, your roofer may also need to tear away rusted flashing and warped decking.

Once your crew has hauled away the old materials, the contractors can inspect your roof for weak spots, rot, and mold growth. Professional teams can also pinpoint inadequate ventilation during this stage and recommend appropriate repairs.

3. Metal Work, Underlayment, and Shingle Installation

By now your roof should present a clean slate for your contractors, and they can then move forward with the installation process.¬†First, your roofers will replace any rusted flashing over the joints of your roof. Flashing minimizes water seepage near your roof’s vents, chimney, and valleys.

Next, your contractors will install roofing felt, or underlayment, to catch any water that sneaks past your shingles. The underlayment also gives a clean, flat, smooth surface for shingles to lay on, so you roof has a polished and professional aesthetic.

Finally, your team can lay the shingles. Trained contractors will begin with a strip of starter shingles near the bottom and sides of your roof. These initial shingles will waterproof the eaves and rake edges of your home, and they will have full, direct contact with the roof deck. Subsequent shingle layers will overlap the starter shingles.

4. Cleanup and Review

Once your roofing team has installed your shingles, your roof should look like new. But that doesn’t mean the job is finished just yet.

Your contractors will need to clear away any construction debris and leftover shingles so your property looks pristine and beautiful once more. Additionally, you’ll want to hire a professional to closely inspect your roof to ensure the repairs meet safety standards.

Assuming the inspector gives his or her approval, you can then finalize any paperwork and payments with your contracting team.

Talk to Your Contractors for More Details

Keep in mind that the above steps are but a rough outline of the roof replacement process. Your contracting team may have to take additional steps and precautions to ensure your individual roof meets safety codes and standards.

As you learn about quotes and prices, feel free to ask your roofing team about their process. Don’t hesitate to ask for an estimate of their completion date as well as any other details that might pertain to your roof.