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When to Replace Roof?

by Mike Powell

in Denver Roofing Contractors, Replace Roof, Roofing Contractor

Replace Roof JobReplace Roof Before Doing Anything Else


In the category of home renovations called “nice to have, but not overly exciting”, we have “replace roof“. However, a good roof which protects you is much more important than just “nice to have”. In reality, it should fall in the “essential to have” category.

Did you know that within the home renovation work-flow, replace roof is priority job number one?

Every single home remodeling task you undertake, from drywall installation on down to the most delicate swath of paint, will be ruined if you do not protect it properly with a good roof, first.

When Not to Replace Roof First

Only in a few instances you may choose not to replace your roof before taking on a big home renovation project:

  1. A complete, overall strip-it-and-rebuild-it. Even then, at some point, the roof will come before other remodeling jobs.
  2. You are tearing the entire house down.

Types of Roofing Materials to Use

Your choice of roofing materials often depends on your locality, as much as on your own personal taste.

  • Asphalt Composition Shingles: inexpensive and easily obtainable, but less attractive than other options due to “flat” appearance.
  • Asphalt Architectural Shingles: relatively inexpensive and available in a variety of designs to mimic the look of wood shake.
  • Wood Shake: a pricey, but attractive shingle when new–however these age poorly in Colorado without vigilant maintenance.
  • Stone-Coated Steel: inter-locking pieces of steel, coated in small stone granules, designed to look similar to wood shake.
  • Metal Roofing: Metal roofing is still rare, and few roofers know how to install it; special companies are required for this job.
  • Slate Roofing: highly attractive, and a high-end roofing option; extremely slippery to walk on.
  • Rubber Slate or “Faux” Slate – recycled post-industrial synthetics gaining in popularity.

Important Note: Roof pitch (angle) affects the kind of roofing shingles you can use!

Cost to Replace Roof and Roof Replacement Terminology

The cost to replace a roof, as you might imagine, varies. It varies according to your roofing materials (all the way from cheap 3-tab asphalt shingles up to architectural shingles or even slate), the roofing contractor, the pitch (or steepness) of your roof, the area to be covered, Home Owner Associations, City Codes, and a host of other factors.

Generally, you’re looking at costs of $5,000 or more. Whole-house roof replacement rarely costs less. If you get a quote too low, you may be looking at shoddy work, or even a “roof-over” job where new shingles are placed on top of old ones … which you should never do.

Denver roofing contractors DO have some flexibility to negotiate on the cost. In storm damage cases, you can file a home-owner’s insurnace claim which will drastically reduce your out of pocket costs. Here in Denver, we suffer a lot of roof hail damage as well as roof wind damage.

Here are a few roofing words you will likely want know.

  • A “square” is a unit of measure equaling 100 square feet (10 x 10).
  • A “vent” is positioned just below the ridge of the roof to expel trapped vapor and heat, so that the roofing does not buckle and blister causing premature deterioration.
  • “Composition” is what is commonly referred to as asphalt shingles.

Is Summer the Only Time to Replace a Roof?

Nope. Professional roofing contractors are amazing – and this is why they are paid to do roofs. The roofing contractors here at American Roofing can expertly “shoehorn” in a roofing job between rain, hail, or snow. The weather conditions don’t have to be perfectly dry, either.

However, any exposed areas of the plywood decking must be perfectly dry before any covering layers are installed.

The trick behind “expertly shoehorning” in the roofing project is to have a large team of professional roofing contractors who can knock out work phases in hours, instead of days. Yet another reason to perhaps think twice before doing your own roofing job yourself.

The Roofing Process

Remarkably, a moderately-sized, professionally-installed roofing job usually takes only 1 day (thus the name of our website).

Here’s what we do in a nutshell:

  • Remove all existing shingles and felt underlayment (called a “tear-off”), deposit them in a roll-off, and remove.
  • Make minor repairs to system of plywood decking and support trusses if in good condition. If not, replace the bad wood.
  • Where required, install ice dam protection, a water-proof barrier of synthetic materials used to prevent damage from a build up of ice in the gutters which prevents snow-melt from draining away. The dammed snow-melt will seep under the shingles and could cause damage to the inside of your house.
  • Lay down asphalt paper (felt).
  • Apply the shingles – starting at the eaves and working upward.
  • Apply flashing around all areas where leaks might come into the house – against the chimney, stack vents, etc.
  • Full Clean-up (including pushing a magnetic sweeper everywhere around the house to pick up any stray metal and nails)

Carefully consider the above information. Then, perhaps, “Replace Roof” will be your first priority.

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