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Factors to Consider When Installing Roof Shingles

Looking to have new roof shingles installed? Here are some important factors to consider.

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Looking to have new roof shingles installed? Here are some important factors to consider.

When it’s time to start thinking of installing roof shingles, you probably have a lot of questions.  Some are very important, like knowing the cost to install roof shingles.  Others, like, “Are architectural shingles better?”, “How do you replace shingles on a shed?”, or “Is a metal roof more expensive than shingles?”, can wait until later in the process. Right now the important thing you need to know is what the process of installing a new roof looks like. 

While it may look like a simple job - just know how to lay shingles, climb up on the roof, and nail gun them into place - the reality is much more complicated than that. There are a lot of steps that have to be done right, if you want to have a roof that is solid, sealed, and built to last.  That’s why you shouldn’t try to put on a new roof by yourself. By calling qualified roofing installers, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.  You’ll have it done right from the beginning and not have to be constantly fixing problems or replacing it in just a few years.

To help you see just how complicated it can be, here are some of the major steps for a roofing installation.

What Goes Into Installation

Roofing is about a lot more than just nailing down shingles - it’s a major construction project. When you hire a professional roofing contractor, they’re going to come out and do an assessment.  That way they know exactly what they’re going to have to deal with, and they can explain to you what the process is going to be like on your home.  It’s very important that you hire a contractor with experience and good reviews.  

Here in Texas, there’s no such thing as a certified roofing contractor - there’s no license or certification of any kind. That means that anyone can decide to go into the roofing business at any time.  A lot of those have experience and will do a good job for you.  But others may not be as professional, and either lack the knowledge to take care of your home correctly, or they may be willing to cut corners to try and make an extra buck.  Make sure you do your research.

Off with the Old

Once you’ve spoken with your contractor, gotten your estimate, and had your questions answered, it’s time for the roofing technicians to arrive. The first thing they’ve got to do is tear off your old roof.  This is more than just pulling up shingles. Everything has to come off and be stripped to the bare decking. This decking is the foundation of your roof, but it can only be seen once every few decades, while a new roof is being installed.  It’s vitally important that the roofers take this opportunity to inspect the decking to make sure it’s in good shape.  If it’s showing any signs of rotting or is broken or cracked, it needs to be fixed now, so your new roof will have a strong and sealed foundation.

Building the Foundation

Once the decking has been exposed and inspected, now it’s time to start building up the under lament that will make sure that your new roof is watertight. 

First comes the leak barrier around all areas that have a high probability of letting water in. Where a vent or pipe comes through the roof, there may be some caulking that needs to be done. The key here is making sure that everything is completely sealed so nothing can get through your roof.

Once that’s done, a synthetic felt lining is laid across the entire roof.  This adds another layer of protection. If a bad storm ever comes up, or you ever lose some shingles to wind damage, this felt lining will help protect your decking so that it doesn’t rot or degrade. 

Finally, there’s the starter strip that’s the basis for the finished shingles that are going to be installed.

As you can see, just getting the roof ready for shingle installation is a long and complicated process.  If any of these steps are missed or not done correctly, you’ll end up having issues down the line.

Time to Shingle

Now you have an idea of what goes into preparing a roof for a new installation. The next step is putting on the shingles.  Picking which shingles to use can be complicated.  Each one has pros and cons. Some are cheap and won’t last you very long - you’ll save money in the short term, but pay a lot more over the life of your roof.  Others may have more protections or features than you need.  And, here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you’ll want one that can handle the high winds we experience.  A good contractor can help make sure you get exactly what you need. And they can help you find shingle roofing material with a good warranty.

Keeping it Straight

Once you have your shingles picked out, it’s finally time to start installing them. Well, almost time to install them.  Before you can actually begin nailing them down, a good roofer is going to put down chalk lines or use some other method to make sure the lines of the rows are straight.  You don’t want your roof looking like it’s melting off because the rows aren’t straight. And, the shingles won’t give you the protection they are designed for if they aren’t installed properly. Once the roof gets off, even a little, there’s no way to fix it and straighten it back out without tearing the whole thing off again. So making sure you have your guidelines in place is key.

Nailing It

Now we’re finally to the point that we can start nailing down your shingles. As long as the roofers follow their guidelines and keep the rows straight, things should go pretty smoothly from here.  But there are a couple of problems that need to be addressed.

Each shingle only has about a ¾ inch - 1 ½ Inch area where the nails have to go through.  If the nail doesn’t go through this spot, it won’t be fastened properly.  When we start taking down old roofs that other people installed, we see this problem a lot.  Roofers start trying to move too fast and don’t pay attention to where the nail is going in.  If this happens to one or two shingles, it’s not going to ruin your roof.  But if it happens to a bunch of shingles across the whole roof, it’s going to cause problems. Your roof won’t be fastened properly and you’ll have issues with lost shingles and leaks. 

Finally, once all the shingles are in place, you’ve got to make sure that no nails are exposed.  We may use 15,000 nails on a roof, and you shouldn’t be able to see a single one. Nails create holes in the roof, where water can get in. So if the nail is exposed, the hole is too.  Any nail head that can be seen needs to be sealed with caulking to make sure your roof is watertight.

As you can see, installing a roof is a lot more complicated than just nailing up shingles.  That’s why it’s so important to hire a good roofing specialist, like Parish Roofing Solutions. Reach out to us today, and we’ll give you a FREE consultation and help you get the solid roof your home needs.

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