How Long Does it Take to Replace a Roof?

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Ricky Bernhard

Expert writer

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The lifespan of a roof is dependent on the local climate, recent storms, and time. If you have had the same roof for more than 20 years, it may start to show signs of damage or decay depending on the quality of the original roofing job. Getting ready for a roof replacement does not affect the homeowner much if they hire a good roofing contractor, but the process does have several steps that may span over a few days. Read below for some insight into how long replacing a roof usually lasts and what goes into the process.

Exterior Preparation

Before the roofing company arrives, the contractor may ask you to do a bit of reparation for the day. This may include clearing gutters of debris, removing items from the yard that might get damaged from falling roof material, and moving cars to the street for easier access and to protect them from the roofing materials as well. This preparation could take an afternoon or a few days depending on how much needs to be cleared away.

Hire A Reliable Roofing Contractor

Roofing replacements are a common sighting in busy neighborhoods, so your neighbors likely have a list of reliable local contractors who can work on your roof as well. If you live in a neighborhood with houses that were constructed by the same builder, you are probably safest going with a roofing contractor who is familiar with your type of roof and has lots of experience with similar houses. A reliable roofing contractor will come and survey your roof before making a quote and setting up a day for the roof replacement. Always ask about previous jobs and photos that show examples of their work so that you know that they are legitimate.

A good roofing contractor will also work to keep your roof secure, long after the replacement. Many roofing companies offer other services like leak repair, gutter installation, and storm damage repair. If you live somewhere where big storms like tornadoes or hailstorms are common, then you are probably used to finding random shingles on your lawn after a big one rolls through. Reliable roofing contractors can work with your insurance company to get to your home fast and repair your roof.

Removal of Old Shingles and Lower Layers

Once a roofing contractor is chosen and the date is set, all that is left is the actual day of roof replacement. This usually begins early in the day as workers arrive and start taking off the old roofing material. If you plan to be home for this part, you will see that they will set up tarps around the perimeter of the house and you can watch as they drop shingles, underlayment, and flashing.


Before installing the new roof, the roofing professionals will survey the surface area of your roof and look for any damage. This could include cracks, rotting, and denting from hail damage. Once they have identified the damage, they can start on repairs. This may take the rest of the day if there are a lot of repairs to be made, meaning that the roof replacement could take longer than a day.

Installation of Roofing Layers

After everything is stripped, repairs are made, and the decking is replaced if needed, then the process of installing the new roof can begin. The first layer to be installed after the decking is the waterproof underlayment. This will protect from rain and humidity for many years and is usually installed by being nailed down to the decking.

Next comes the flashing, a layer of thin metal sheeting that is also meant to keep water from leaking through to the wooden areas of the roof like the decking. Because it is flexible, it is used to also protect areas of the roof like valleys and the bases of chimneys where water tends to sit.

The last layer is the one that you can see from below. Based on your choice and the regulations of your neighborhood, this layer can be made up of shingles, tiles, or metal panels. Shingles are usually stapled in while tiles are stacked on top of each other and fixed in using cement.

Once everything is in place and the roof is looking good, the roofers will begin the cleanup process, this usually involves scanning the perimeter of the home for any debris that is unaccounted for and hosing down areas like the sidewalk that got dirty. This is also the time that the large trash bin that all of the old roofing material was thrown in gets hauled away. Then the roofing experts inspect everything to make sure it is in top shape and then they leave.

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