How to Safely Roof a House
Learning how to roof a house is an excellent way for savvy homeowners to save money and improve their house’s curb appeal. But this isn’t a task you may find easy to tackle.
Ultimately, completing the task correctly will still take considerable time and money.
You should always review proper roofing techniques, whether this is your first time roofing a house or you have done it many times before. Make sure you follow the best safety and quality practices. Here are some tips for adequately reroofing a house to get it right first.
How to Roof a House: Tools and Materials
The tools they use determine their success, whether they are amateurs or professionals. To ensure a successful roofing job, ensure you have all the tools, materials, and safety gear you need. It’s best to plan ahead of time and buy all the materials you will need before roofing a high-roof pitch house rather than rushing to the hardware store every time you need something. Our list provides a great starting point and guide to what you may need when roofing a house.
- 2 – 2.5 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and 75 – 110 pounds per sq in (PSI) Air compressor
- Air hose
- Asphalt shingles or another roofing material
- Caulk gun
- Chalk line
- 1,200 Running Watts Circular saw
- Drip Edge protects the surface from water damage
- Non-Slip Serrated Rungs Extension Ladder
- Felt Paper Underlayment
- Hook blades for cutting and trimming thick materials
- Fall Protection Roof Safety Harness
- Roofing Nailer Gun
- Roofing Nails
- Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant
- Self-Adhesive Waterproof Felt
- Stapler with Plenty of Staples
- Step and Dormer Flashing
- Straightedge Razor Blade
- Tin Snips Scissors
- Utility Knife
- Valley Flashing
- Vent Flashing
- Work Gloves
Safety Considerations When Professional Roofing
A roofer’s top priority should be staying safe while working on the roof. Roofers’ life expectancy is always on the line. Their greatest fear is falling, which causes many fatalities and injuries every year. Roofing contractors are the best people to hire if you want to protect yourself. Roof repairs alone can be dangerous, so we don’t recommend you attempt this task alone. When you are searching for a roofer to hire, request what are their labor costs. Follow these instructions when you decide to do the work yourself and ensure your safety:
- Collaboration is always a good idea. Having a couple of experienced friends help you will speed up the process and keep you safe. Even someone holding the ladder and supervising can make the difference between life and death.
- At all times, wear a helmet and a harness. Wearing a hard hat helmet will protect you and keep you safe, preventing potential head injuries. Using a helmet when working on the roof can protect you from faulty nail guns, slipping on the housetop, falling debris, and falling from the rooftop without protection. Wear your waist gear at all times, especially when mounting and dismounting the ladder.
- Understanding how to use the tools properly. Roofers commonly use air compressor nail guns, air staple guns, hook blades, and straightedge razors. A professional should handle this equipment if you feel uncomfortable handling it yourself. Taking precautions and receiving adequate training can prevent injuries caused by the above tools.
- Ensure your working conditions are safe. The best time to do roofing work is if it’s raining or has been raining. It is more likely that people will slip and fall when the roof pitch is steeper. It happens more often when it rains because it makes the surface slippery. Weather conditions such as wind and lightning are no different. It is best to work on a clear day when in doubt, especially if you are inexperienced.
Typical Roofing Materials Roofers Use
- Wood Shingles
- Asphalt Shingles, aka “Asphalt Roofing Shingles”
- Composite Shingles
- Metal Shingle
- Architectural Shingles
- Concrete Tiles
- Steel Roofing Tiles
- Clay Tile Roof
- Concrete Tile Roof
- Natural Slate
- Wood Shake
Step by Step for Roofing a House
You can begin the work at hand as soon as you have reviewed the tools, materials, and safety considerations of roofing a house. It’s no secret that roofing a home is challenging work, especially for the untrained. Before you start by measuring the roofing square to determine the roof size. It will help you determine the job average cost.
It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to complete the review process with our simple instructions. Don’t hesitate to contact the pros at Innercity Roofers when you need a roofing job done right.
Step 1: Ensure to Obtain The Proper Permits
Take the proper steps to obtain the correct permits if you’re roofing a house. The building inspector requires construction permits by law in most states to ensure contractors follow the building codes. The building department will require you to provide the house’s roofing square. A roofing permit is required for roof installations. Failing to obtain one can lead to a fine.
Step 2: Remove The Old Roof
Taking down the old roof is necessary before installing the new one. Pry bars or a roofing shovel will help you complete the process of tearing off the old roof. Starting at the top and layering down is the best way to accomplish this step. A dumpster rental or a catch-all screen for the debris thrown off the roof is a good idea.
Removing the old roof is one of the biggest problems when reroofing a house. Prepare for your tear-off by covering your shrubs and flowers, sealing off the power to electrical and plumbing connections, and laying plywood over doors and windows to contain the mess.
We recommend a tear-off because it leaves fewer gaps between the plywood and the felt paper, protecting against rain. The time to do this is before a storm, or heavy rain is forecast when weather permits.
Step 3: Implement Needed Roof Repairs or Reinforcements
Your roof deck will be exposed after tearing off the shingles and should be inspected for water stains, cracks, or other damage. The roof deck inspection is a great opportunity for you to ensure the roof’s integrity before you replace it.
After the crew completes removing the outdated shingles and exposes your roof deck, it may be less impressive than you had hoped. You’ll be able to provide protection from the elements by ensuring that your home’s roof deck foundation is solid. You need to ensure the roof is free from damages, such as;
- Mold Growth Buildup
- Pest Infestation
- Premature Shingles Damages
- Attic and Wall Leaks
- Water Trail Stains
- Deck Cracks
- Roof Leaks
- Rotting and Sagging Roof
- Utility Bill Increase
Step 4: Install The Underlayment
Install the underlayment before you install the roofing.
Install the underlayment underneath the primary roofing material. This felt paper provides several options to help combat leaks. The first layer of protection is a water-resistant membrane that protects your attic from water damage. By adding additional insulation to your home, you will be able to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
This underlayment will help reduce the amount of moisture that goes into your attic that could cause ice dams — those weird white stripes running down your roof. You’ll want to cover the sheathing with topside felt and self-stick waterproof shingle underlayment. We’ll start at the eaves, where most ice dams occur, and finish at a ridge vent.
Step 5: Install the Drip Edge
What is Drip Edge?
Drip edge flashing is a strip of metal designed to protect a roof’s sheathing from water damage caused by rain, snow, or ice being blown or rolling down the roof. Drip edge is typically made from aluminum and can be attached to the side of a house using staples, nails, or screws—depending on the material of your primary roofing system.
Rain drip edge flashing prevents moisture damage to your roof. It’s a weather-resistant aluminized fabric with a built-in water diverter designed to direct rain away from the roof’s edges. When placed on the eaves side of a roof, it prevents water damage caused by capillary action damage caused by surface tension. Putting it on the rakes’ side protects the sheathing from wind-driven or forced rain blowing back into the sheathing.
Why do you need a drip edge?
Drip edge flashing will also provide protection for the fascia board and eaves. Debris and moisture can get caught in the gap between the roof and fascia and cause rot to form on both sides. The roof and siding are thus protected by a drip edge as it directs water away from the fascia, which protects it from excessive moisture while extending its life span.
Attaching the drip edge to a reroofing job can be challenging, but it’s critical in preventing moisture damage. Affix the drip edge along the roof’s eaves as a first step. Roof legs should extend back at least 2 inches from the roof sheathing, and vertical legs should be set 1/4″ – 1/2″ away from the fascia.
You must install the drip edge properly to prevent the water from dripping back onto the house. A common mistake is not installing space between the fascia and the drip edge. It is critical to protect the wood underlayment by providing a space between it and the drip edge.
Installing drip edge flashing is the first step in protecting your roof and keeping moisture out of your home. This type of flashing prevents water from getting behind the shingles and deteriorating the roof decking. It also protects corners where two slopes meet by channeling any water flowing down the roof away from the joint. For drip edge flashing to be effective, it must be appropriately applied.
Step 6: Install Your Valley Flashing
Valley flashing is one of the secret ingredients for roofing success. If you have valleys on your roof, you’ll want to take this time to install valley flashing. The valleys on your roof are among the few places where leaks can occur. It’s vital to install flashing before you lay the new shingles in order to keep them watertight.
Select a valley flashing and underlayment compatible with the purpose and materials to ensure durability. Underlayments use asphalt felt or roll roofing paper as the base material, while metal valley flashers come in various styles. Apply two layers of underlayment to any end of the roof valley that is not 5+ inches wide.
For example, installing one layer on each side when your roof valley has three or four narrow roof gutter lines. If the roof gutter lines are wide enough to fit the second layer of underlayment, usually 6 inches or greater, install two layers down one side of each gutter line. Keep at least 2″ from the wall at each side of the valley, so heat from your house doesn’t damage it. Position the base cover sheet on top with asphalt felt facing up and nail every 12 inches along all edges for extra structural support.
Step 7: Install Starter Shingles
Every asphalt shingle roof starts with a first row of Starter Strip Shingles that lock down the edges and provide a water-resistant barrier. This is a crucial part. Be sure to get it right.
Along the eaves, this layer of asphalt shingles seals off any gaps between your new shingles and the roof edge. As a starting point, these shingles can help you estimate how many rows and pieces of shingles you will need.
Once you’ve installed the starter strip, it’s time to lay down the rest of your roof. Our shingles are made with quality materials that are built to last. They’re also engineered to look beautiful and resist wear, so they’ll stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
Step 8: Nail Down Shingles One Row at a Time
No other roofing contractor will show you the simple method that we use to install asphalt shingles one row at a time. This skill is trendy because everyone knows it makes a much faster job with no defects, and you end up with better-looking, smoother-finished work.
Start laying your shingles now by overlapping them over the ones before and nailing down each row as you lay them flat on the deck. From left to right, repeat this process, but only nail in the nail zone to ensure they go all the way through and don’t protrude under the next layer.
Step 9: Install Step and Dormer Flashing
The purpose of flashing is to stop water from penetrating a building rooftop. The typical failures occur at the intersections between materials on the roof plane, such as between the chimney and roof or between the top edge of a wall and the eave, any areas with no overlap or seal. These areas are called vulnerability zones. Water will always find its way through these openings unless you adequately cover them with flashing.
Suitable galvanized steel flashing protects your roof and allows it to properly drain. Unprotected roofs with steeper pitches also collect moss, algae, and lichen, which can cause leaks that destroy the integrity of the roof covering. A properly installed and flashed skylight does an excellent job of preventing water penetration that could lead to rot or damage to interior finishes. Flashing will also help protect the window frame from moisture-related problems.
Flashing is very important, and the heavier-gauge stock doesn’t cost much more than light-gauge. Under the IRC, metal flashing must be corrosion-resistant and have a minimum thickness of 0.019 inches. In some cases, unfinished aluminum flashing sold as flashing does not meet the thickness requirement and is more prone to corrosion than coated aluminum flashing.
You’ll need to install step flashing if you have any dormers or other spots where your roof meets a wall. As the step flashing goes up along the wall, it will seal those edges, so water does not get between your shingles and your siding. Layer the proper shingles over the flashing before applying them.
This is the time-consuming job of all flashing that needs to be done step-by-step as you shingle up the roof. You need to know a few general best practices: you must install the flashing before the siding so that the siding can cover the top of the flashing. If this is a repair job, you must re-do the siding and replace it with flashing. Besides, you need to look for corner molding when installing your flashing because those will likely require more than just one flaring piece.
Step 10: Install Roof Vents
You should replace or cut new vents into your roof at this stage. During a roof tear-off, recycle the vents or boots you removed before, or replace them with new ones. The flashing and sealant will also be necessary for these areas to prevent water leaks.
If you are installing a new roof or replacing an old one, this is the time to install vents. We suggest installing vents that homeowners can access and maintain easily.
Step 11: Install The Ridge Cap
After installing all your shingles up to the roof’s highest point, you will need to install a ridge cap. A ridge cap is installed with shingles facing the other way so they lie over the roof cap. This creates a tight seal, allowing water and ice to flow down either side of the roof rather than sitting on top and leaking through the gaps.
The first step in installing a roof ridge cap is to choose a dry, warm day with little wind. Having a partner also helps as there are tasks you can’t do by yourself. Ridge caps are heavy and cumbersome, and you must bend the ridge caps over the top of the ridge. With increasing temperatures, the shingles become more flexible.
A roof ridge cap is the last step in your roofing project, which means it may seem like a lot of work to add just one more layer of material to the roof. But even a tiny patch or tear can cause severe damage to your home, costing you money and time and increasing your risk of injury if someone falls through the roof. It’s best to take your time when properly installing roof flashings, chimneys, and ridge caps when protecting your home.
Step 12: Replace Your Gutters
Your gutters are an essential part of your home’s infrastructure and necessary to prevent water damage and mold. The gutters channel rainwater away from the foundation and into the downspouts, which direct it away from your house, protecting your home and its foundation from long-term damage. However, with time gutters can become cracked, rusty, or damaged by animals or weather conditions. If this happens, you may need gutter replacement. Of course, there is nothing wrong with replacing your gutters. Yet, if you choose this route, select the best gutter replacement materials that match your climate and type of home.
Review the gutters after you complete the roof replacement. If they are in excellent condition, re-attach them. Once they are in place, ensure they’re free of any nails or debris that fell during the roof installation. Installing gutter guards will also help prevent leaks on your roof in the future.
Step 13: Final Checks and Clean Up
Once you’ve completed all the shingle installation, you need to do one more check. The shingles should be straight, with no crooked or missing ones, all flashings should be sealed, and the ridge cap should look seamless. Ensure there aren’t any exposed nails and the underlayment isn’t visible. Once that’s done, ensure the place is clean, and that no debris or nails are left behind anywhere in the yard.
You’ve successfully roofed a house if you followed these steps and followed manufacturer-specific instructions for installation. Once you have accomplished this feat, you may think it wasn’t such a bad experience. Installing a new roof also gives you a better understanding of how the entire system works, making repairs and replacements more manageable in the future.
The Best Way to Roof a House
When homeowners do their roofing work, they can save money but risk missing unseen damage or installing their roofs incorrectly.
If you want to avoid any metal roof issues, you should hire a professional contractor. Among the professionals at Innercity Roofers, for instance, are highly trained and always knowledgeable about licenses, installation tactics, and the latest roofing best practices. The energy savings you will get will offset hiring a professional roofer. Compare your energy bills before and after to check how much you are saving every month. This is one way of measuring your roof’s energy efficiency. Ensure you request the roofing company to provide you with the solar reflectance in their roofing report.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are considering a new roof. If you would like, we can walk you through the steps of installing your new roof and estimate how much it will cost to complete it within a day. We’re here to help you roof your house. Let us take handle all your roof needs.