Here’s a detailed overview of our roof replacement process
At American Choice Exteriors, we’ve been replacing roofs on Maryland homes for years. From tearing off the old roof to installing drip edges and ridge vents, we’ve got every part of the roof replacement process covered. But many curious homeowners are wondering what are the exact steps we take to replace a roof, and so we wanted to share those with you.
We’ll go over each step of our roof replacement process so you can learn how we do what we do—and why our attention to detail helps protect your home.
This is a critical step for us. Before we start working on any project, it is extremely important for our team to be on the same page and to have a crystal clear understanding of how we will approach each particular roof replacement (i.e. it’s shape, size, safety measures, how to handle disposal, determine areas that need to be protected, etc).
Tear Off Old Existing Roof
The first part of the roof replacement process is to tear off the old roofing material. We remove all the old shingles from your roof in order to allow us to thoroughly inspect the wood decking (what’s below). We’ll also remove any of the old damaged flashing or drip edges to replace them with new materials.
Inspect For Damage
The next step is to inspect the exposed wood deck for any potential damage. The new roof needs a solid base in order to keep the shingles intact, so we’ll get rid of any wood that’s gone soft or rotted. We’ll also inspect the wood sheeting to make sure that the wood sheeting is properly attached to the roof rafters.
If the wood deck needs to be replaced, we’ll replace it with new plywood sheathing. If there’s a small amount of damage but the roof is in good overall condition, then we’ll go ahead and make a few minor repairs.
Before we can lay the shingles in place, we’ll need to install an underlayment over the plywood sheathing. We’ll do this by stapling a synthetic material to your roof and closing it in with round stickers to keep water from getting in.
Installing the underlayment is simple but requires great care, as we want to ensure there are no wrinkles or gaps that will allow water to penetrate your roof. We use synthetic material rather than tar paper because it is much more water resistant and will better protect your roof.
Ice & Water Shield
The ice and water shield is a special type of roofing underlayment that helps protect your roof against the elements. We’ll install this shield at the bottom of the roof and anywhere the roof is penetrated such as chimneys or pipe flanges. The ice and water shield will stick to the wood decking and prevent water from penetrating your roof during a storm. The ice and water shield will cover the eave valley of your roof, and anywhere it doesn’t cover will be covered by the synthetic underlayment.
Starter strips are what we install right before we lay the shingles. We use starter strips to ensure that the butted shingle bond doesn’t get exposed to the underlayment. The starter strips help cover the joints between the shingles and make sure your whole roof is waterproof and wind-resistant.
Before we install the starter strips, we draw lines on your roof to ensure that they are properly aligned. We’ll then install starter strips in all the places that we’ll later install shingles, including the lower eave edge of the roof as well as the rake edges. The starter strips on the rake edges of the roof will ensure that when you look up at the edge of your roof from below, you’ll see a nice even line rather than the uneven ends of the shingles.
The edges of your roof are a common area that rain can find its way in through. When rain hits your roof, it travels down to the edges where it can collect in the fascia. By installing a drip edge around the edge of the roof, we ensure that water is directed into your gutter. The drip edge is a piece of metal that we bend at 90 degrees and nail over the underlayment.
Next up we’re finally ready to start installing the shingles. We’ll work from the bottom up, offsetting the new shingles from the starter strips to ensure that there’s no overlap. When nailing in the shingles, we drive the nail flush with the shingle rather than cutting into it. We’ll nail the shingles into place one at a time, overlapping them to cover the nail. By laying the shingles down in a staircase order from left to right, we slowly work our way up the roof toward the peak.
This is the point in the roof replacement process where we’ll replace all of the necessary accessory items on your roof including caps, boots, and vents. We’ll also install flashing around these areas to prevent leaks. We’ll nail the flashing into the roof in each of these shingles at the outside edges. Then, by using a roofing caulk, we’ll seal the flashing to the roof and keep it airtight.
We highly recommend installing a ridge vent along the peak of the roof in order to stop heat from piling at the top. This continuous vent improves the ventilation in your attic and helps protect your roof. While many older roofs don’t have ridge vents, we absolutely recommend installing one when we replace your roof as it affects the overall integrity of the roof.
Ridge Cap Shingles
One of the last things we do when we replace a roof is to install ridge cap shingles to overlap the field shingles. By using ridge cap shingles, we give the peak of your roof a neater finished look. To install them, we separate them at the perforation and bend them over the peak before nailing them in. We use longer nails to make sure that these shingles penetrate all of the roof layers into the roof deck.
Now that our job is almost done, we want to leave your home in perfect condition. While we clean our job sites daily, we will at this point do one final cleanup and haul away the last of the debris. We make sure to leave your home looking as clean as your brand new roof.
We want to make sure that our work is done to your satisfaction, which is why our roof installation process ends with a thorough inspection. We’ll go over your new finished roof with you to ensure that everything looks the way you imagined it would.
We stand by the quality of our work. That’s why we offer lifetime warranty to our customers to cover manufacturing defects for as long as you own your home. If any part of your roof is defective from our installation process, we will replace it for free.
Replacing a roof is a long and tricky process. Many roof replacement companies won’t include important steps such as installing ridge vents or trimming the excess material from ridge cap shingles. Through our thorough process, we here at American Choice Exteriors hope you’ll see the care we take in our work to ensure that your roof is as attractive as it is protective. Contact us today to let us take care of all of your roofing needs!