Modern roofs have a long lifespan, but they don’t last forever. Once you start seeing leaks or broken shingles, your best bet may be to install a new roof.
The big question is: should you install the roof yourself? These days, even a minor roof installation will set you back thousands of dollars.
And since this is a dangerous project, most of that money will go to labor costs. To make your decision easier, we’ll go over the main steps of installing a roof.
Read on to find out if this is something you’d be comfortable doing!
Ensure Your Safety
When it comes to roofing, your priority should be to stay safe. For starters, never work alone.
Having a few experienced friends assisting you will help keep you safe while getting the job done faster.
You’ll need to know how to work the tools. The installation process involves sharp tools like hook blades and powerful tools like nail guns.
If you’re uncomfortable handling them, consider hiring a professional.
Avoid working in unsafe conditions. If it’s rained lately, the roof may be too slippery to risk walking on.
If you’re in doubt, only work on clear days—particularly if you don’t have much experience.
Remove Existing Shingles
With your safety taken care of, it’s time to get to work. Step one: tear off the old shingles using a roofing shovel or pry bar.
You can put new shingles on top of the old ones, but the roof will be less stable and durable. When removing old shingles, start at the top and work your way down.
While you’re doing that, deposit the old roofing materials in a roll-off dumpster bin. You can use a catch-all screen, but setting it up can take a while.
While you’re at it, remove any damaged flashing and drip edging as well. Consider using tarps to protect foundation shrubs.
A professional crew would also use magnetic tools to pick up metal objects from the lawn.
Make Necessary Repairs
Tearing off the old shingles will expose the roof deck. This is your chance to inspect the deck for any cracks, stains, or other damage.
Every roof needs a solid foundation, so take your time to examine the deck carefully.
If the roof deck is heavily damaged, you’ll need to make it sturdier. That involves repairing the frame or adding new sheathing.
Don’t cover up a damaged roof with new shingles, as that will make the problem worse.
Install Ice Dam Protection
If you live in a region with harsh winters, your roof will need more help. The best solution is to install ice dam protection, i.e. the ice barrier.
Without it, you could end up spending a lot of money on roof repair down the road.
This protection consists of the ice guard membrane, a synthetic barrier material.
When you install it, the barrier prevents melting ice from getting under the shingles and through the sheathing, where it can cause major damage.
Lay Down Roofing Paper
Once you install ice dam protection, you’ll need to lay down roofing paper. Think of this paper as another barrier against water getting into your house.
For most roofs, you should use synthetic underlayment.
Install roofing paper by stapling it to the roof sheathing every 12 inches or so. You can also use nails for this purpose.
For best results, start overlapping the rows of paper as you’re getting closer to the peak.
Apply Drip Edging
Not all roofs need metal drip edging, but those that do really need it. The purpose of a drip edge is to help guide water off the roof.
You apply it by nailing it in place over the ice barrier and/or roofing paper.
Make sure to install the drip edge at an angle of about 45 degrees. Place the drip edge tightly over the fascia boards, then secure it with roofing nails.
In general, you should place new roofing nails every two to three feet.
Add Valley Flashing
Does your roof have valleys, i.e. places where two slopes meet? If the answer is yes, take some time to install valley flashing as well.
Valleys tend to be susceptible to leaks, and adding flashing is the ideal protection.
Valley flashing is another material you should install by nailing it to the roof deck. Once you’re done, seal it with roofing caulk.
Do this before installing your new shingles, but after applying the roofing paper.
Apply the Shingles
With leak protection in place, you can move on to shingling the roof. Start applying shingles at the eaves and work upward to the peak.
When you get to roof vents, install shingles from the bottom and move upwards.
You’d be able to use the placement of old shingles when installing the new ones. Either way, nail down each row as you’re applying them.
That will ensure your shingles won’t protrude under the next layer.
If you want to install ca solar panels on your roof, use compatible shingles. Asphalt, tile, and metal all work well, but wood and slate aren’t ideal.
Click here for more information about installing solar.
Install a Ridge Vent
If your roof doesn’t already have a ridge vent, consider installing one. A ridge vent will help improve air circulation in the attic space.
In winter, that can play an essential role in preventing ice dams and exhausting hot air.
Keep in mind that not all roofs can support a ridge vent. In this case, install other types of roof vents to improve attic circulation.
And no matter which vent you’re installing, add flashing and sealant to avoid leaks.
Inspect Your Work
When you’re done with your installation, inspect your roof again. Confirm that you’ve sealed all areas and that all shingles look good.
Check for any protruding nails, underlayment, or other signs of damage. To ensure your work is complete, have a building inspector take a look at your roof as well.
Since roofs are so important to our safety, having a seal of approval from a licensed professional is worth a lot.
This Is How to Install a New Roof
As you can see, installing a new roof is a demanding DIY project. If you have any doubts about doing the job well, have the professionals deal with it.
If not, use the above guide as a starting point in your research process! Interested in more DIY tutorials? Keep reading our Useful Tips section!