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How to Roof a House: A Homeowners Guide for 2023

Roofing a home sounds like an intense undertaking, regardless of your experience level. But if you’re a handy homeowner (or a roofing specialist), a residential roof replacement might sound like something you can handle.

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Check out this handy homeowners guide on how to roof a house— even expert roofing contractors can find it helpful.

how to roof a house

Required Tools & Roofing Materials 🛠

Before you get started on the hard part of your roof installation, you’ll want to gather the right tools and materials first. Whether you need to take a trip to the hardware store or already have them at home, don’t do anything until you compile the tools you’ll need to roof your house.

This will typically include:

  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Caulk gun
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Tin snips
  • Utility knife
  • Roofing nailer
  • Stapler
  • Straightedge
  • Extension ladder
  • Roof harness
  • Work gloves

In addition, you’ll want to purchase and compile the necessary materials before installing your new roof, such as:

  • Asphalt shingles (or other roofing materials)
  • Drip edge
  • Felt underlayment
  • Hook blades
  • Roofing nails
  • Scaffolding
  • Sealant
  • Self-adhesive waterproof underlayment
  • Staples
  • Step and dormer flashing
  • Valley flashing
  • Vent flashing

While you might think you’re ready to dive right into re-roofing your home, we must take a moment to touch on important safety considerations for any roofing contractor or handy homeowner to keep in mind.

Roofing Safety Considerations ⚠️

One thing you need to remember about roofing a house is just how dangerous it is.

There’s a reason a roofing project of this size is typically left to the professionals; nearly 97% of roofing and ladder accidents happen at home, and roofing is consistently considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, coming in at #4 according to a survey done by the University of Delaware.

With that said, follow these essential safety tips to roof a house safely:

  • Never work alone. Not only will this help you get the job done faster, but it’ll also ensure you’re safe. Simply having someone supervise or even hold the ladder can make all the difference in the event of an emergency.
  • Always wear the proper safety equipment. The easiest way to stay safe when roofing is by wearing the right protective gear. Things like gloves, helmets, rubber-soled shoes, and safety harnesses can be a savior if you happen to fall from an extreme height. You can even purchase a fall protection kit if you don’t already have this kind of equipment.
  • Know how to operate your tools. Roofing a house requires powerful and dangerous tools like nail and staple guns or razor and hook blades. You should be highly trained, confident, and fully proficient in operating all equipment necessary to install your new roof.
  • Don’t work in unsafe weather conditions. As we said, roofing is one of the world’s most dangerous professions, so don’t put yourself in even more unnecessary danger by working on this project during inclement weather. This sounds like a no-brainer, but hey, you never know!

Step-by-Step Guide for How to Roof a House (Safely) 🪜

With all of that essential safety information in mind, we can move on to what you actually came here for: how to roof a house. Take the following steps to replace your old roof correctly (and safely):

1.) Acquire the Proper Permits

When roofing a house, you’ll need the proper permits to meet local building codes. This is required in most states and saves you from any expensive fines or obstacles when selling your home in the future.

2.) Remove Your Old Roof

Before installing the new roofing system, you’ll need to get rid of the old shingles, which is called a “tear-off” roof replacement. The best way to do this is to use a roofing shovel or pry bar; start at the top layer of shingles and work your way down row by row.

You might need to rent a roll-off dumpster to hold all the debris until it can be hauled away by a professional waste disposal service.

3.) Repair or Reinforce the Subsurface

With the old roofing material removed, you can now inspect for cracks, water stains, or other signs of damage on the subsurface. This is what the integrity of your roof relies on, so you need to ensure a solid foundation before installing the new roof.

4.) Lay Down Underlayment or a Roof Deck

Often referred to as the roof deck, underlayment acts as a barrier to protect your home from the natural elements outside. Felt paper is the most common kind of underlayment. For the highest security, you should nail down the felt paper on all sides every foot or so.

5.) Install the Drip Edge

Next, you need to install the drip edge, a metal or plastic strip designed to direct water off the roof and away from your home.

Install your drip edge at an angle under 45 degrees and ensure the roofing nails are flush or right up against the drip edge so they won’t protrude above any shingles laid on top.

6.) Place Your Valley Flashing

The valleys on your roof are often susceptible to leaks and water damage, so you’ll want to install solid valley flashing with a water-tight seal before laying down new shingles.

7.) Apply Starter Shingles

Starter shingles are a layer of asphalt running along the roof eaves to seal off any gaps between new shingles are your roof edge. Installing these will also help you discern how many rows and singular pieces of shingle tabs you might need.

8.) Secure Shingles Row by Row With Roofing Nails

With the starter shingles in place, start applying the new shingles on top. Overlap these on top of the shingles laid prior, moving from left to right. Remember to nail in the proper nail zone to ensure they don’t protrude under the next layer of shingles.

9.) Install Step and Dormer Flashing if Necessary

Step and dormer flashing should be installed in areas where your roof meets a wall or goes up along one. This helps guarantee no water will get between your shingles and your home’s siding in those areas. Install the flashing first and layer new shingles over the exposed flashing.

10.) Add Any Vent Pipes

Now is the time to replace vents or cut holes for new ones. You’ll also need to install flashing and a water-tight sealant around these areas to avoid leaks.

11.) Install a Ridge Cap

Once all shingles are installed up to your roof’s ridge, it’s time to install a ridge cap. You’ll want to apply shingles in the opposite direction at the ridge to create a tight seal that acts as an ice and water shield, stopping both from pooling at the top of your roof and leaking through where the two peaks meet.

12.) Replace Your Gutters

If you removed your gutters, re-attach them now, or contact a roofing contractor to install new ones. Modern gutter systems can come seamless or covered, making them easier to clean and maintain.

13.) Check for Exposed Nails

When wrapping up the roofing process, you’ll want to ensure there are no exposed nails or areas with missing shingles. Perform a final check of the roof’s surface and ensure all the exposed nails are hammered in flat for safety.

14.) Clean Up

With everything said and done, it’s time to clean up your construction zone. Place all old shingles in your rented dumpster and put away tools. Walk around your home’s foundation to ensure there’s nothing you forgot in the yard. Then, take a deep breath because you’re finally finished with this daunting job.

Roofers replacing damaged shingles after storm with very high winds came through over night

FYI, Don’t Try to DIY It 🚫

Although some homeowners are handy enough to tackle do-it-yourself roof repairs, we never really recommend the DIY route. Even if you have the utmost confidence in your construction skills – or the most in-depth roofing guide at your side – there are still so many risks associated with roofing.

Overall, it’s better to leave this dangerous job to those who do it for a living. Sit back, relax, and let your local roofing company take the reins.

Roof Your House the Right Way ✅

Are you ready to re-roof your house with a highly energy-efficient and modern model? Maybe your old roof was damaged in a storm, or you simply want to update your home’s aesthetics. Whatever reasoning you have for searching “how to roof a house,” we’re here to help.

Contact Durashield Contracting today to schedule a residential roof replacement done quickly, safely, and, of course, correctly.

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