The Basics of Roof Replacement

Even the highest quality roofs have to be replaced at some point. If that day has come, you may be wondering what to expect with the roof replacement process. From cost, to timeline, to materials, there are many things to consider when facing a roofing replacement. Here’s a look at the basics.

Tear Off vs. Second Layer

It used to be common practice to simply put a new layer of shingles on top of the existing layer, sometimes even twice. Many states no longer allow this and reputable roofers won’t do it anyway.

That said, roof replacement involves tearing off the old roofing materials down to the decking and then installing brand new roofing components, such as underlayment and shingles.

But just because your roof is old or you’ve had a leak or two here and there doesn’t mean you necessarily need a complete roof replacement. That’s where the initial inspection comes in.


When you call a local roofer for a price quote on a roof replacement, they will visit your home to do a full inspection of the system to assess the situation. They can determine if you can get by with a repair or if a roof replacement is indeed necessary.

Most asphalt shingle roofs have about a 25-year life span, so if your roof is only 15 years old but you’re having leaks, a repair may be able to get you through.

Assuming you need a full roof replacement, let’s move on to the next step.

Cost Considerations

Your next concern will likely be cost. This is a valid concern, as roof replacements are not cheap. Your cost will depend heavily on the material you choose, the size of your home, the pitch of your roof (steepness), and square footage of the roof. You’ll have a much lower price tag if you choose standard three-tab asphalt shingles as compared with architectural shingles, slate or metal, for example.

The national average cost of an asphalt shingle roof as of 2022 was $31,535, while the average national cost for a metal roof is $51,436, according to Remodeling magazine. It depends on what area of the country you live in as well, as some areas can see prices for new roofs as low as $10,000.

The only way to know what your price tag will be is to have your roofer do a full inspection and issue a comprehensive roofing quote. This quote should contain each line item cost, such as materials, labor, permits, cleanup, and debris removal. It should also include a timeline for completion. Keep in mind that delays can crop up and that’s normal. Sometimes materials are late coming in, or perhaps severe weather pushes things off a few days.

A good estimate will drill down into specifics and include:

  • List of all roofing materials
  • Thickness and type of roofing underlayment
  • Location of flashing
  • Size of nails and fasteners
  • Type of sealant for waterproofing
  • Changes to ventilation systems
  • Specified manufacturer products

Old Material Removal

The first thing your roofers will do will be to remove the old shingles. This allows them to inspect the condition of the wood decking underneath. If they detect areas of concern, they will let you know the nature of the repair and extra cost.

Your roofers will take proper precautions to protect the surrounding areas with tarps over your siding and vegetation. Removal of old materials should only take place when the new materials are ready to go. This prevents the need to leave your roof exposed and unprotected for days on end.

Inspection of Wood Decking

The decking offers a stable, solid base on which the roofing materials will be installed. If you’re replacing your roof due to severe water or storm damage, there’s a high chance that the decking has become soft and rotted. Repair or replacement of the decking will be performed before the new roofing materials are installed.

Other steps involved in prepping the roof surface include installation of the drip edge and the underlayment.

New Roofing Material Installation

The new roofing materials are now ready to be installed. The timeline will depend on the materials used and the weather. Shingles go up the quickest, while slate takes much longer due to its delicate nature.

Cleanup and Final Inspection

Now the cleanup begins. The crew will clear all leftover debris, such as shingles pieces and nails, from the property. Then they will perform a detailed inspection of the roof to ensure a flawless job.

Get a Roof Replacement Quote From NVB Contracting

For your free inspection and quote on a roof replacement for your Virginia, West Virginia or Maryland home, contact us today. Based in Manassas VA, we specialize in quality roofing and home restoration services such as general roof maintenance, repair, and replacement. We would be happy to visit your home and get the process started.