For many homeowners, the two most important aspects of a roof replacement are the cost and the time it will take to finish the project. When it comes to estimating the timeline for a roofing project, there are several factors to consider, including:
1) The time of year – A roof replacement that is scheduled during the rainy season or when temperatures drop below freezing may be subject to a delayed start or be interrupted after the work begins. Of all the factors that can influence the duration of a roofing project, weather presents the greatest number of variables as rain, high winds, snow, and freezing temperatures can stop or postpone work indefinitely. On the other hand, the fastest roof replacements typically take place in mild weather and warm temperatures.
2) The square footage of the roof – Larger roofs equate directly to more work and more time to complete a project. Usually, a larger roof will have more structures that penetrate the roof deck that require flashing and sealing, which can add time to the project as well.
3) The complexity of the roof – Flat and low slope roofs are relatively simple to work on and materials can be kept close at hand for easy access. As the slope of the roof increases, the work becomes more challenging and tends to take longer to finish.
4) Roofing materials – Generally speaking, asphalt shingles are the fastest to install with additional time required for tile, metal, and slate. Any type of customization of the materials can also extend the time to completion.
5) The tear off – Unless the new roof is part of the construction of a new home, the installation will likely be preceded by a tear off of the old roofing materials. In most cases, this phase will take a day or two, but may be extended slightly if multiple layers are being removed or if there are complications in getting the old materials off of the roof and into disposal bins.
6) The need to do structural repairs after a leak in the existing roof – While some forms of roof damage are easy to assess, such as a falling branch that smashes through the roof deck, there are other issues where the extent of the damage may not be fully known until the old roof is torn off. These situations include mold growth, termite damage, and dry rot, all of which would have to be repaired before the new roof is installed.
Once the work starts, your roofing contractor will make every effort to execute a quality roof installation balanced with a timely finish. Even under the best conditions, however, there may be issues that come up that can extend the timeline to completion. Knowing what these issues are can help both in scheduling when the work will be done and to anticipate surprises that come up during the project.
The system that routes runoff from your roof and away from your home falls in a category that can be described as unglamorous yet completely essential for the long term preservation of the roof as well as the structure that sits beneath it. Here are some of basics of these systems.
1) They are made up of two primary components – The two primary components of a drainage system are the gutters and the downspouts. The gutters are installed to run parallel to the roof’s lower edge around its perimeter to catch runoff. The gutters then guide the collected water to the downspouts, which channel water down to the ground. On flat roofs the downspouts will be attached directly to drains that are located at low points around the roof.
2) The strategic location of where drainage will be directed by the downspouts is essential in the optimization of the system – Water that runs to the ground through the downspouts must be drained to areas that will direct the flow away from the structure to prevent potential flooding. In most cases this is a fairly straightforward proposition, but the plans for drainage systems for homes built on undulating terrain must consider how and where water will flow once it leaves the downspout to avoid the potential of running back toward the structure.
3) Drainage systems are built with a variety of materials – Gutters and downspouts are constructed from numerous materials including steel, aluminum, cooper, stainless steel, vinyl, and even wood. The most popular materials are galvanized steel and aluminum, both of which are relatively inexpensive versus some of the other materials. Galvanized steel is the stronger of the two materials and can better withstand ladders leaning against it and handle more weight. Its biggest disadvantage versus aluminum is that will rust over time. At the high end of the price range, wood and copper are used primarily in the restoration of historic buildings with stainless steel drainage systems commonly found on structures with modern designs.
4) After installation, one of the most important things to do is to keep the system clear of debris – One way to keep leaves and other debris out of the gutters and downspouts is to buy a system equipped with gutter guards, which are mesh strips that sit on top of the gutters. The mesh allows water into the gutters but channels leaves, twigs and other types of debris off of the roof. For systems without gutter guards, regular maintenance is recommended to keep gutters and downspouts clear.
Your roof’s drainage system may not be a topic that comes up at cocktail parties, but it is an essential component of your roof. Considering the protection that the gutters and downspout will provide to the roof, the structure, and the grounds adjacent to your home, this unglamorous system will be worth every cent you spend on it.
Studies have repeatedly shown that engaging in proactive roof maintenance and getting repairs done at the earliest stage possible can both reduce roofing costs and increase the service life of the roof. While taking the do-it-yourself route with the maintenance of your roof can save some money versus hiring a professional roofing company to do the job, there are several commonly made mistakes in these endeavors that can escalate costs far beyond the amount that might have been saved. These mistakes include:
1) Walking on tiles – A tile roofing system will usually have an expected service life of approximately 100 years and have some of the longest warrantees of any roofing material. Despite their longevity and their resistance to a wide range of extreme weather conditions, tiles are relatively brittle and are vulnerable to cracking or breaking when bearing the full weight of someone walking on them. In fact, many tile roof warrantees prohibit walking on tiles and can be voided under certain circumstances. If you insist on going DIY, use walking boards to prevent individual tiles from being damaged by being stepped on directly. In most cases, however, hiring a professional roofing company to service your roof will be the best way to avoid breaking tiles and violating terms of the warranty.
2) Trying to remove snow or debris from a steeply inclined roof – While the prompt removal of accumulations of snow and/or debris is a recommended practice, wet or snowy weather conditions combined with steep inclines can make working on the roof extremely dangerous. Removing snow and ice may also result in damage to vents and gutters, especially if ice is being broken up using a hand axe, a pick, or another type of tool. Between the danger of falling off of a slippery roof and the potential of causing damage to various components of the roofing system, bringing in the professionals to clear ice, snow, and/or debris will be a worthwhile investment.
3) Forgetting about drainage – The positioning of gutters and downspouts can make it difficult to see trapped leaves and other forms of debris from the ground, but if accumulations grow to the point where they hinder or stop drainage altogether, pooled water can start leaking into the house, start the formation of an ice dam, or become heavy enough to start pulling the drainage system away from the roof. Of these three issues, clearing your drainage system of leaves and debris is the most suitable as a DIY project.
While going the DIY route can save money, doing maintenance on your roof in specific situations may carry risks that result in bigger and more expensive problems. When in doubt, call a professional roofer to get the job done.