7 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Roof

replacing roof

While there are many things to consider when choosing a new roof, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself. It may not be as simple as buying a new carpet – although even that can become complicated if you overthink it. The goal is to replace your old roof with a new one that outperforms it.

Some things to think about: Are you living in an area where it snows a lot during winter? Is your house situated in a fire-prone area? Do you plan on staying at your place for a long time? To help you think about which things actually matter, we’ve narrowed them down into these seven crucial factors.

7 Things to Consider When Replacing Your Roof

Photo Credit: Pixabay

With all the effort, time, and money involved in replacing a roof, it’s vital to think it over and decide on certain things before committing.

1. Replacement vs. Reroofing: Which is Best?

Before anything else, you should have a clear understanding of the difference between replacing a roof and reroofing.

When it comes to roof replacement, roofing contractors will need to remove all the old shingles from the roof. They will then install a new felt or underlayment to offer protection from the elements. Finally, they will lay down new shingles to cover the roof decking. Just as the name explicitly says, it’s a complete replacement and will cost more than reroofing.

Reroofing, on the other hand, is also known as roof restoration. It is both quicker and less expensive than a roof replacement. It’s more or less similar to applying a new layer of paint to an old fence. Roofing contractors, in this case, will just overlay new shingles on top of the old ones.

Choosing between full roof replacement and reroofing all boils down to the state of your roof. If you believe that your roofing system only has minor damages, such as roof leaks, then it’s best to go with reroofing. However, extensive water damage, sagging, and widespread mildew or mold growth require a complete roof replacement.

2. Are You Planning to Place Your House on the Market?

Unless you’re planning to stay at your place for a long time, you don’t really need to go with an expensive designer roof. The best way is to go with one that’s both economical and functional at the same time, giving priority to a basic 20-year shingle over a lifetime material which is more expensive.

The condition of a house’s roof is one of the biggest determining factors in evaluating its value. In fact, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors in 2022 found that a new roof has an ROI of up to 100%.

Aside from the huge ROI, replacing your roof also adds more to the table if you’re planning to sell. It will attract more potential buyers. It also could result in a smoother house inspection process. And transferring the warranty of the new roof to the new owners will help ensure they’re covered in case something goes wrong.

3. What Materials Will You Need?

Your choice of roofing materials will be greatly influenced by the type of roof you’re aiming for. For instance, a low-slope roof would require a different roofing material than one with a steeper pitch. If you’re looking to use heavy materials such as tile and slate, your home’s structure must be able to accommodate the load.

Here are some materials you should consider discussing with your roofing contractor for a more accurate estimate:

  • Wood: Even with centuries of use, wood has remained a top choice for most homeowners, especially in areas where fire codes don’t forbid its use. Southern pine, redwood, and cedar are the usual choices, with the roof shingles either split or sawn. Expect your wood roof to last for around 25 years.
  • Metal: A durable material choice, metal is also one of the most expensive roofing surfaces. While lead is usually installed as shingles, other types of metal, such as steel and aluminum, are created at specific vertical lengths and soldered together for seamed roofing. Metal roof materials will usually cost you around $250 per square, but expect to pay two or three times that amount.
  • Asphalt: Aside from being the least expensive of all roofing materials, asphalt is also easy to install. These factors alone make it the most commonly used roofing material. The asphalt shingles are actually made of either cellulose fibers or fiberglass mats, saturated and coated with asphalt. The surface is then coated with sand-like granules. For your asphalt roof, you can choose to go with either the standard type or the laminated ones, with the latter costing twice as much.
  • Slate: Did you know that 100-year-old slates are usually recycled so they can be used again? That’s how durable this roofing material is. Most people even believe that a recycled slate roof can last another century. The durability of a slate is usually dependent on the quarry where they come from, such as those from Vermont or Pennsylvania. If you’re planning to go with this material, expect the cost of a slate roof to be around $17,000 on average.
  • Tile and Cement: If you’re looking for a roof design with a wavy effect – commonly found on Spanish Colonial and Mission-style homes – then your material of choice would be tile and cement. These are on the expensive side but are quite durable. However, you should ensure your home can support this material since they tend to be heavy.

4. What is Your Budget for the Project?

You need to understand that an average roof replacement cost is around $8,446. But depending on your chosen upgrades and any additional work, it can be as low as $5,706 to as high as $11,185.

Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to roofing, the lowest price doesn’t necessarily translate to being the best. For example, adding an upgrade such as impact-resistant shingles can give you more value for your money. And you only need to pay 5 cents more per square foot.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow when buying shingles. Heavier shingles result in getting less per bundle. As such, the effect of heavy roofing materials on your budget is cumulative, increasing your cost the more bundles you require. And that’s notwithstanding any structures you need to upgrade to support them.

When allocating a budget, you need to take into account the extra cost of buying extra shingles. Having an additional bundle is not only useful for emergency repairs. It also will keep you covered in case the manufacturer decides to stop producing your existing shingles.

5. What Upgrades Will You Be Making?

Installing a new roof for your home gives you a chance to improve it. So it’s better not to skip on roof upgrades such as roof vents, decking, or sheathing. This is especially true if your roof was installed more than a decade ago since significant improvements in roof technology continue to improve through the years.

Here are some of the upgrades you should try to consider:

  • Eave flashing: If you’re living in an area where you get ice dams during winter and early spring, adding a little extra to install metal flashing is a good idea. These membranes are applied prior to shingling, forming a watertight seal to protect portions of the roof susceptible to ice dams and other buildups.
  • Low-maintenance gutters: Take some time to inspect your gutters and see if they are already damaged or misaligned. Reroofing offers you a good opportunity to install a new one, especially if you believe that your gutters are about to give in anytime soon.
  • Energy-saving chimney cap: An airtight chimney cap can help you save on energy by preventing the rising warm air inside your home from escaping through the chimney. It’s a good upgrade, especially for those living in the colder parts of the country.

Be sure to discuss with your roofing contractors if you can avail of upgrades that are specific to your area. Sometimes, you might even get a big discount on the roofing costs by adding these upgrades as a package to your project.

6. Which Roofing Company Should You Hire?

With a project this big, you need to pick a roofing company instead of a professional roofer or an individual contractor to handle the job. Note that selecting the roofing company to work with has its own set of considerations to think through. But you can check our tips for choosing a roofing contractor to make the task easier for you.

Choose at least five companies you believe will serve your goals and ask each to provide bids. The price difference is usually evident in the labor cost and other additional materials or upgrades.

While picking a roofer who offers the cheapest option is tempting, you also must consider other factors. How many years have they been in the business? Do they have good online reviews? Remember not to rely solely on customer testimonials on the company’s website. Reviews from social media can give you a more unbiased picture of how good or bad it is to work with the roofing company.

And remember that regardless of the company you choose for your roofing project, always get everything you’ve discussed in writing.

7. How Loud Will the Construction Be?

Imagine someone hammering nails on your roof, then multiply the noise several times. That’s basically how loud roof replacement can be. In fact, it’s loud enough for your neighbors to hear the noise inside their homes.

While the noise is not continuous throughout the construction process, it can still be very disruptive. Even if you know you have a high tolerance, you also need to consider your pets and other people in your family who aren’t as tolerant as you.

Noise is all about vibration. So, you should note that the louder the noise, the stronger the vibration on your walls. As such, you should take down the valuables hanging on the walls. Otherwise, they might end up falling due to the noise.

Some homeowners prepare ahead of time by booking accommodations at the nearest hotel for a day or two, while others stay with a friend or relative.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

Your house speaks to you – not literally, but in a sense. It gives you telltale signs if you need to replace your roof entirely instead of doing simple roof repairs. Here are some of the common signs you need to be aware of:

  • You see sunlight coming through your attic from your roof
  • Your roof is already past its lifespan, which is usually based on the materials used
  • Parts of your roof are already sagging
  • There’s a large amount of grit in your gutter

For more information about these signs and more, we strongly recommend reading Signs You Need to Replace Your Roof.

FAQ About Things to Consider When Choosing a New Roof

What is the most energy-efficient roof material?

Your best choice for energy-efficient roof material is metal. Aside from being able to last long and requiring very little maintenance, this material can reflect off heat from the sun. You can even make it more energy-efficient by applying a special coating.

What is the average lifespan of a roof?

A well-installed roof lasts between 25 to 50 years on average. However, the exact lifespan will be heavily influenced by the quality and type of roofing material used and the external conditions in the area.

Can a new roof provide better insulation?

Yes, it can. Consider the fact that old roofs have outdated building technology and roofing materials. With a new roof, the materials are more energy-efficient. The same goes for the installation process. As a bonus, it also will help you cut down on your energy bills.

Think About Your New Roof Before Installation Begins

The planning stage for any big home improvement project is essential not only to make it a success but also to guarantee a smooth process. Knowing what critical things to consider before you actually have your new roof installed can help you influence the project in your favor, ensuring that you won’t be wasting money, time, and effort.

Ready to move forward with your roof replacement? Connect with residential roofing companies near you and choose from among the best.

Main Image Credit: Brian Robinson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Melanie Joseph

After discovering her passion for writing through her beauty blog, Melanie left her engineering job in California, became a writer, and never once looked back. When she isn't writing, she loves dipping in the pool, tending to the garden, or doing simple home improvement projects.