12 Roof Remodeling Tips to Help Your Renovation Project Go Smoothly

12 things to know about roofing before you start your renovation.

home exterior

A roof remodeling project involves many steps, decisions, and preparation—and that's before the renovation begins. Before you hire a roofer or touch a shingle, read about what you need to do to ensure that renovating your roof is a successful process with minimal glitches.

Roof Remodeling Tips

Keep Up Appearances

In planning your roof remodeling project, don't forget to consider the look and style of your roofing. The average roof comprises 40 percent of a home's visible exterior, so you want it to look good.

Do an Inspection

Inspect your roof from a safe vantage point using binoculars. Look for cracking, curling, and missing shingles. If your roof is made of asphalt shingles, look for areas lacking granular covering. You can examine your roof from the inside, too. Use a flashlight to look for water stains in your attic space that may indicate a growing roof leak.

Get Contractor Verification

A qualified roofing contractor should have a permanent place of business, a phone number, a tax identification number, and, where required, a business license. Also, ask for proof of liability insurance and workers' compensation before signing a contract for roof remodeling. Otherwise, you might be the one liable for job site accident coverage.

Understand Local Codes

Check your local municipal building department to see how often you can re-cover an existing roof with another layer of similar materials. For example, some communities only allow two layers of roofing material and require additional layers to be torn off before more roofing can be installed.

View Roofing Options

There are ways for a contractor to take a digital photo of your home and show you different renderings of the house with other roofing materials for your roof remodeling design.

Get It In Writing

Roofing contractors should deliver a detailed proposal describing the type of roofing, material, and color, other materials to be used, and the scope of work. Remember to specify whether existing roofing will be removed or covered with a layer of new shingles and to state who will install new flashing and vents. Most importantly, make sure the proposal indicates approximate starting and completion deadlines.

Use the Safest Materials

According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, asphalt shingles are installed on approximately four of every five residential roofs in the United States. Asphalt products are available in two types—organic and fiberglass—and have a wide variety of colors, styles, and visual textures. Organic shingles are made of cellulose fibers, such as recycled waste paper or wood fibers. Fiberglass shingles are made of glass fibers. Both shingle types are covered with an asphalt coating and surfaced with weather-resistant mineral granules. Fiberglass shingles can be more prone to breakage during colder months but offer greater fire and moisture resistance than organic.

Consider Your Design Style

Do you love the appearance of cedar or redwood roofing but worry about fire safety? Check your local codes for guidance, then look for fire-resistant wood shingles or metal and synthetic products that mimic the look. Such products also can match slate and tile roofs. Natural clay or concrete tiles often appear in Southwestern- or Mission-style roofs. If you want that look, ensure your home can adequately bear the additional weight.

Allow for Adequate Ventilation

Attic ventilation ensures that your roof has a long and functional life. While ventilation requirements vary by region, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a minimum of 1 square foot free vent area for every 150 square feet of attic floor.

Budget Appropriately

Think of a roof as an annual cost. Ask three or four roofing contractors for estimates, and don't automatically assume the lowest bid is the best for you. A new roof is a significant investment in your home, but consider your roof's annual roofing cost: Divide the cost of your new roof (materials and labor) by the life expectancy of your selected roofing material in years.

Understand the Numbers

When roofing professionals refer to squares, they're referring to the number of shingles needed to cover 100 square feet.

Gather More Information

The NRCA website offers helpful homeowner resources, including a roof checkup checklist, guidelines for finding quality roofing contractors, and a database of roofing contractors searchable by ZIP code and roofing material expertise.

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