Step-by-Step Guide to Roof Replacement

Whether it is because of a natural disaster, severe weather, or just ordinary wear and tear, the roof of every home will need to eventually be replaced. A roof replacement is a big, complex job that should only be done by professionals, it is possible for an untrained civilian to do it, but that is inadvisable. Professional roofing contractors will be able to do the job more quickly, more efficiently, and more thoroughly so that your home is safe and secure once again.

The amount of time the roof replacement takes depends on a few factors, the size of the roof is the main one: larger roofs take a longer time, of course. The type of roofing material is the other. Asphalt roofs are the quickest, usually being completed within a short day. Metal roofs are usually completed in one day, or up to two days depending on the home, while more expensive roofing materials, like wood shake or slate, can take up to a week. No matter the type of roof, or the reason for its replacement, Indianapolis residents can trust the roofing contractors at Jackson Contracting Inc. to do the job in a timely manner and to their complete satisfaction.

Step 1: Choose the Right Contractor

Before you can begin the roof replacement process, you need to choose the right contractor. It’s the first step in this step-by-step guide to roof replacement, and this is not a job to take lightly. The skill and experience of your contractor can affect the quality of your roof. With the right contractor, you may be able to get a long-lasting roof that can handle the harsh climate of Indianapolis.

To choose the right company for your roof, you need to do a little research. Look for a contractor who:

1. Has Great Reviews

Your roofing contractor should come highly recommended. If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a company, you need to do your own research. Ask around for suggestions and look online. Be sure to look at reviews on social media sites and websites.

Although you can’t believe everything you read online, you can put some stock into online reviews. If everyone is saying good things about one company, the company may be a good option.

2. Communicates Clearly

A roof replacement can be a difficult process. Fortunately, a good contractor can guide you through that process. When choosing a company, consider their communication.

Call the company and ask any questions you have about the process. Then, pay attention to how they handle your questions. If they respond to your questions quickly and accurately, then you can trust them to communicate well. However, you should avoid a company who cannot respond to your questions in a timely manner.

They should also answer your questions concisely and clearly. If you want to avoid complications during the roofing process, you should work with a company who values good communication

3. Is Professional

Some companies are more professional than others. For instance, some roofers don’t have the required licensing or insurance requirements. This can have two negative effects on you.

First, it could mean the quality of the work isn’t up to par. The contractor may not understand all of the laws regarding roof replacements or know about the latest processes. As a result, your roof might not be up to current standards.

Secondly, you could put your own home at risk. If a company does not have worker’s compensation or liability insurance, they leave you vulnerable. If an injury happens on your property, you could be responsible for paying for the injuries. You also may be responsible for paying for any damage that occurs during the roof replacement.

Step 2: Choose the Materials

Before you can get your roof replaced, you need to make some decisions. In addition to choosing the roofing contractor, you also need to choose the right materials. There are several basic roofing materials from which you can choose.

There are several considerations you should make as you select your roofing material. For instance, some materials are more appropriate for certain regions than others. It’s important to choose a material that will work well in your climate and will also give you the right look for your home. If you have a low pitch on your roof, you may be limited to certain materials. For example, wood shake shingles do not work well on low pitches.

Here are some of the common options for roofing materials:

Asphalt Composition Shingles

These shingles are affordable and easy to find. However, they aren’t the most visually appealing. They are flat and rather ordinary. Despite that fact, they are the most common option for roofs.

Wood Shakes

Although these shingles are attractive, they can be expensive. They tend to be very durable. However, they are not ideal for areas prone to fires. With an average annual rainfall of 42.4 inches, the city doesn’t typically have issues with wildfires. Wood could be a viable option.


Over the past few years, metal roofing has been increasingly common. This is due to its durability and its fireproof properties. There is great variety among this type of roof, and you can find metal roofs that look like shingles as well as full sheets.

There is a downside to metal roofing. Because contractors need to specialize in metal roofing installation, the cost tends to be higher. But the durability of the material could make it cost-effective in the long run.


If you want a roof that is high-end and appealing to the eyes, you should consider slate. It does happen to be one of the most costly options, and it is quite heavy. If you require any repairs on it, the repairs can also be costly and difficult.

Composition Slate

For a more affordable slate-like alternative, you can get composition slate. The material is made mostly with recyclable materials. It looks like slate, but is lighter and less likely to experience damage.


Tile roofing often comes in the form of clay or ceramic. Although the material is most popular in Florida and California, you can find it anywhere. It is fire retardant, but it does put a significant amount of weight on your roof. Now, you can find some alternatives to clay or ceramic that are lighter but just as visually appealing.

Step 3: Removing The Old Roof

Typically, the old shingles should be removed before the new roofing materials are laid down. However, there are cases where a new roofing material is to be placed over the old one.

This is usually only possible when installing metal roofing over asphalt shingles and only if one layer of shingles is already on the roof. The removal of the old roof is not just to make space for the new roof, it is also so that the roofing contractor can inspect the wood decking underneath the roof.

Although removing the old roof might sound like a simple task, it’s not as easy as you would imagine. It requires the right equipment and the right manpower. For instance, the crew may need a large dumpster. Without one, they could find it difficult to dispose of the old materials.

They also may consider covering up your foliage with tarps. As they remove the old roof, some of the materials will fall to the ground. They can protect your foliage and make clean-up easier by covering them up. They may also place plywood against your windows and doors to prevent damage to them.

It’s also important to consider the timing. You don’t want to remove the old roof and leave it off for weeks at a time. In fact, you should only remove the old roof when you have the new materials ready for installation. This can avoid unnecessary damage to the structure of your home.

Doing any work on a roof can be dangerous. Therefore, it’s crucial that the removal team is safety-conscious. Safety belts and ropes can prevent hazardous falls. Additionally, the right footwear can prevent a slip and fall.

Step 2: Inspecting The Wood Decking

The decking is important because the roofing materials need a solid base so that they can be properly installed. If the roof needs to be replaced because of damage from severe weather or falling debris, then there is a chance that the decking will have sustained some damage as well.

The decking could also become soft or rotted due to moisture collection over the years. The roofing contractor will perform a thorough inspection of the roof to make sure that the decking is in good condition so that the new roof will be secure.

Step 3: Getting The Roof Surface Ready

There are some additional steps involved in preparing the roof surface for new shingles, they are as follows:

Drip Edge Installation – This is a piece of non-corrosive metal placed on the edges of the roof that prevents water from getting underneath them and damaging the decking.

Underlayment Installation – The underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof material placed between the wood decking and the roofing materials. It prevents the water from rain or melting ice from seeping into the wood decking and causing damage to the roof surface.

Step 4: Installing The New Roofing Materials

This is the stage where the new roofing materials are finally installed onto the roof surface. As mentioned earlier, the time of installation varies based on the type of roofing materials being used. More expensive materials like slate take longer to install because they can crack or break if they are stepped on, so the roofing contractor has to be more meticulous during the installation process.

Step 5: Cleanup and Final Inspection

Once the roofing materials have been installed, the crew will clean up any leftover debris from the installation to make sure that the house is clean for the homeowner. The Indianapolis roofing contractor will then perform a detailed inspection of the newly installed roof to make sure that there are no mistakes were made and that there are no flaws in the roofing material.

Once the contractor is satisfied that the new roof meets their standard of quality, the job is considered to be finally complete. The homeowner can be secure in the knowledge that they have a roof over their heads that will provide all of the protection they will ever need for a very long time.

Common Questions Regarding Roof Replacement

Although knowing the steps to roof replacement can help prepare you for the process, you may still have some questions. Here are some common questions asked by those who need a roof replacement:

Is There a Right Season for the Job?

You might be wondering when you should schedule your roof replacement. However, there is no one time to schedule your work. You should get the job done as soon as possible.

This is due to the fact that postponing a roof replacement could cause more damage to your home. If you wait to replace it, you risk water damage and other complications. The sooner you schedule your replacement, the better.

How Long Does the Process Take?

As with any home repair, there’s no way to say for certain how long a roof replacement will take. The timeline depends on a variety of factors, including the material of the new roof, the type of roof, and the experience of the crew.

Typically, a wood shakes roof takes between three and four days. Synthetic slate could take slightly longer. Meanwhile, a concrete tile roof takes about eight or nine days. Because of its heavy weight, a natural slate roof also takes longer than traditional materials. It usually takes about six or seven days.

Asphalt shingles are by far the simplest to install, and only take about one or two days for installation. But the size of your home does directly affect the time it takes for your roof to be replaced.

Here at Jackson Contracting, we want to help you. Contact us to get started on your roof replacement.