Roof Replacement Process From Start To Finish – 10 Steps

Professionals design roofs to last for years, but the time will come when your roof’s effectiveness can no longer sustain. An old roof might have several leaks, rust, or ordinary wear and tear.

When you notice these warning signs, it’s likely time to replace your roof before it destroys your home’s interior.

Roof replacement can be daunting and time-consuming. But with the necessary process, proper materials, and skills, replacing your roof can be done quickly and more efficiently.

Follow this 10-step roof replacement process to replace your roof from start to finish.

1. Find a Reliable Roofing Contractor

Roof replacement is an intricate process that requires one to have the necessary skills and experience. While it’s tempting to replace a roof on your own, hiring a reliable contractor can help avoid unnecessary mistakes or safety concerns. A professional roofer has the necessary tools and know-how to replace your roof efficiently and thoroughly.

It’s advisable to hire a roofing contractor who’s best suited for the job. So, what should you look for in a contractor?

First, find out whether your contractor is a certified and licensed roofing contractor. A licensed roofer should have adequate skills and experience to handle any roof. Read reviews to know what other homeowners say about the contractor.

Second, consider the location of your roofing contractor. A local contractor understands your region’s climate, recommends the best materials, and uses reliable roofing techniques.

2. Initial Roof Inspection

An initial roof inspection helps you know what the overall project entails and what materials to purchase. Should you replace the entire roofing or a small section? You might need binoculars to scan the roof or go to the attic for inspection.

The contractor will assess different elements of your home’s roof and situation. Some of these include:

  • The roof’s current condition: Your roof’s condition will determine whether or not the contractor recommends roof replacement.
  • The roof’s size and design: Examining the size and design will determine the most suitable roofing materials.
  • Financial estimate: The contractor will provide an estimate for the entire job, including the labor costs and the price of roofing materials.

3. Select Your Roofing Material

Would you prefer the same type of roofing material or try other options? With various roofing materials in the market, selecting one that suits your needs is vital. You might opt for a roofing material that’s easy to maintain, boosts your home’s curb appeal, saves money, or offers extreme durability.

Your professional roofer will recommend the best roofing materials that you can select for your home. Some common roofing materials to try include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Metal
  • Wood shakes
  • Slates
  • Tiles

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles can be your best bet when on a budget and want the job done quickly. These roofing materials are used in most residential buildings and are relatively durable and easy to install. Some homeowners might prefer asphalt shingles because they are inexpensive and save on installation charges.


Metal roofs are expensive but fireproof and durable. Depending on your tastes and preferences, you can choose from various metal roof options. However, installation requires a specialized roofer and might be time-consuming.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are made of natural wood, and many consider them more attractive than asphalt shingles. They are also durable and require professional installation. If you’re on a budget, wood shakes might not be a suitable option. Furthermore, if your region is prone to fires, they may not be the right choice.


Slates are made of natural rock and are one of the most durable roofing materials. They’re visually attractive and weather resistant. However, slates are heavy, add extra weight to your roof, and are expensive. You should also find a roofer who’s specialized in installing roof slates.


Tile roofs are made of clay, concrete, or ceramic. You can choose various designs, colours, and sizes of tile roofs that suit your personality. Tile roofs are fire-resistant but are expensive, and installation requires a specialized roofer.

4. Remove the Old Roofing Material

Before you remove an old roofing material, there are several preparations you should put into consideration. For example, you must ensure that your roofing materials have been delivered.

Also, find a large dumpster for disposing of the old materials. Lastly, cover the walls, windows, doors, foliage, and ground with tarps to ensure no damage.

Once everything is set, it’s time to remove your old roofing material. Some homeowners prefer placing a new roofing material over an old one. While that will make your work easier, it comes with several downsides. Your roofing contractor will advise you accordingly.

Removing old roofing material requires the right equipment. Your contractor will use drills or pry bars when removing a metal roof or a shingle fork when removing shingles.

The best way to remove roofing materials is by starting from the top and continuing downwards. Remove all the old roofing to create a clean base for your new roof.

5. Inspect the Roof Decking

Roof decking forms the framing where your roofing materials are installed. When installing roofing materials, it’s necessary to inspect the roof decking to ensure it is fully secure.

An old roof decking might have succumbed to rotting, especially if your old roofing material had small leaks. It can also sustain some damages caused by falling tree branches after heavy storms.

Your roofing contractor should thoroughly inspect the decking to ensure it’s in good condition. If there are any damages, your contractor will inform you so you can plan on the repair.

Besides inspecting the firmness of the wood, the roofer will also look for any missing nails on the wood decking. He’ll re-nail your wood decking to ensure your new roof finds a solid base.

6. Install the Underlayment

After inspecting and confirming the roof decking is in good condition, the next step involves ensuring rainwater, moisture, or melting ice doesn’t seep into your decking. And this is where underlayment comes in.

Underlayment is a waterproof material installed between the roofing materials and the roof decking. It prevents water from finding its way through the roof decking and damaging your roof surface.

Your roofer will likely offer a few material options for creating the underlayment, such as:

  • Rubberized asphalt
  • Non-bitumen synthetics
  • Asphalt-saturated felt

When installing, the roofer will roll the underlayment over the roof and fasten it down on the edges with cap nails. 

7. Replace Old Roof Flashing

With old roofing, your roof flashing has likely sustained several damages. Roof flashing is thin steel, aluminum, or copper material that directs water and debris away from roof valleys, chimneys, walls, or skylights. A flashing in good condition should prevent water from seeping into these crucial parts of your roof.

Before installation, ensure the new roof flashing is durable and complements your roofing materials. Your roofer will recommend the best flashing to be used at different locations.

The flashing near your chimney, vent boots, and valleys should be different. Your roofer will ensure the edges of your underlayment near the flashing overlap your roof flashing. Doing this helps to direct water or moisture that seeps into the underlayment.

8. Install the New Roof

Now that your roof surface is ready, it’s time to install the new roof. The installation process varies depending on the roofing material used.

Your roofing contractor should be experienced enough to install your favorite roofing material. The roofer can make their work more manageable by following the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

The best way to install a new roof is by starting from the bottom and navigating your way up. This method ensures a good overlap, and the nails are well-installed and concealed.

If installing a shingle roof, your contractor will place starter shingles at the bottom and sides. They then install the finish shingles correctly to keep water out.

Installation of wood shakes, slates, metal, or tiles requires more complex steps, attention, and time. The roofer should have materials such as metal snips, impact drivers, hand seamer, and screws when installing metal roofs.

For clay or slate roofs, the contractor needs to install them meticulously to avoid breakage and roofing mistakes.

9. Clean Up the Site

Your roof replacement is over. But what about the debris left on the roof and around your home after removing and installing your roofing?

Your contractor can use a magnet to pick small parts of the old metal roofing or nails on the roof, yard, or driveway. A blower might come in handy when collecting materials from the gutter, yard, and driveway.

The contractor will also remove the tarps and dumpsters from the site.

Lastly, they will collect working tools and place them securely. The aim is to leave the new roof and your ground as clean as before.

10. Conduct Final Inspection

The last step involves a detailed inspection of your newly installed roof. This step is necessary to ensure the installers made no mistakes when installing the roof.

A final roof inspection involves getting on the roof and looking around to spot any visible errors. The contractor should closely inspect areas more likely to leak, such as chimneys, vent pipes, and skylights.

Double-checking ensures the final product meets the required standards and reflects well on the contractor’s reputation. If there were any mistakes, your contractor should address them right away.

Bottom Line

While you can follow the above roof replacement steps and install a new roof, hiring a professional roof contractor is advisable. If you are concerned about costs, help out where you can, such as inspecting the roof, buying new roofing material, and cleaning up the site.

However, much of the heavy lifting should be your contractor’s responsibility.

After installation, ensure your contractor conducts a thorough final inspection. A thorough inspection will guarantee a secure roof over your head that’ll protect you and your family for years.

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