man climbing up ladder with asphalt shingles; diy roof replacement
Posted on: April 7, 2021

The DIY phenomenon has taken over America with no signs of slowing down. There are millions of articles to pin on Pinterest, dozens of DIY television shows, and the voice in your head saying that you can totally complete that project by yourself.

DIY is a great solution for a lot of projects, but before you start an advanced job like a DIY roof replacement, there are a few things that you’ll need to know first.

Today we’re breaking down some of the pros and cons of a DIY roof replacement as well as the seven steps to take if you follow through. While it’s not something that everyone should do, there are many advantages to re-roofing your house on your own if you’re able to. If you feel like the task might be a bit overwhelming, contact our roofing team for professional help.

man installing underlayment on diy roof replacement

👍 Advantages of a DIY Roof Replacement

While DIY roofing is no small task, especially if you have a large home and roof, there are several advantages that DIY roofing does offer. One of the biggest advantages and the advantages that most people think of when they think of any DIY project is cost savings.

Cheaper Cost for Replacement

On average, a new roof installed by a professional team can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Not all of that cost will be labor, and the range of cost is often associated with material quality. Still, for the most part, the labor associated with a roof replacement project will make up a good portion of a project’s total cost.

Working on Your Own Timeline

Sometimes working with a contracting team requires patience. Especially in the busy summer months, you may have to wait a few weeks until a roofing company can perform a roof replacement. If you’re in a hurry or have a lot of time on your hands, you can complete the project on your own terms.

Cleaning gutters and working on roof; diy roof replacement

👎 Disadvantages of a DIY Roof Replacement

While there are definitely positive things associated with DIY roofing, there are also some negative factors to consider before you get too deep in a DIY project. Some obvious disadvantages to DIY roofing include the time it will take to complete, the work that it will entail, and of course, any hidden expenses associated with working on the drip edge, vents, and other areas.

Cost and Quality of Materials

Asphalt shingles can be purchased at several different places. Most commonly, homeowners that replace their roof on their own purchase shingles from a hardware store such as Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, or other similar stores. Another great place to find shingles and other materials is at your local lumber yard. A lumber yard may also be able to offer you a good deal on the cost of shingles and materials.

The downside to purchasing the shingles yourself is that most roofers are affiliated with roofing material companies. In this case, they’re able to purchase shingles and materials at a discount because of their affiliation, thus helping you get your roof done for cheaper. These partnerships often come with great workmanship warranties, too.

Time Needed for Roofing Project

Roofing a house takes a good amount of time, especially if you’re doing the project on your own. You might be able to get some friends to help out or even a few family members. Still, because they likely aren’t roofing professionals with experience, you’ll need to take the time to teach and explain how you need the job done.

A professional roofing crew can whip out a roofing project in just a few days. A crew of your closest friends and family may take two to three times as long to complete the same project. You must work as quickly as possible because of the damage that can occur if your roof comes in contact with rain or snow before you finish getting all the shingles installed.

Safety Concerns

Even for professionals, roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Working at tall heights and at an incline puts anyone at risk for a fall. And those falls can result in injuries or even fatalities.

If you’re insistent on performing your own roof replacement, make sure you take all safety precautions, including:

  • Wearing a harness
  • Wearing close-toed shoes
  • Never working in inclement weather
  • Never working alone
  • Familiarizing yourself with the power tools beforehand

7 Steps for a DIY Roof Replacement

workers on roof installing clay tiles; diy roof replacement

If you’ve decided you’re up to the job of re-roofing your home, here are the steps that you’ll need to follow to be successful! There can be quite a bit that goes into a roofing process, so be sure to consult other sources before tackling the project on your own, especially if you don’t have any prior experience. It’s best to have someone show you the ropes on your very first roofing job.

Here’s an overview of the steps:

  • Choose and obtain your materials
  • Remove the old roof
  • Inspect the wood decking
  • Install underlayment and drip edge
  • Install shingles
  • Cleanup and perform a final inspection
  • Dispose of all trash

1. Choose Your Materials

First up, you’ll want to shop around for the right roofing materials for your home. There are plenty of different options out there regarding material, color, cost, and design. Don’t be hasty in your decision; the wrong material might not look good on top of your house and could be cheap material that won’t last long enough.

2. Remove Your Old Roof

Next up, you’ll need to secure a roll-off dumpster or trailer where you can put your old roof as you tear it off of your home. Tear the old shingles off from the top of your roof, working your way down. Remember that you should be ready to get the new roof installed before it rains or snows. Be sure to check the forecast before you decide to remove your old roof.

man performing diy roof removal with tools

3. Inspect the Wood Decking

You may not have noticed any leaks on the inside of your home, but now that the wood decking is exposed, it’s good to check around for leaks or damage to the decking that could have occurred since the last roof installation. Be sure to get the wood decking in good shape before installing the new materials. Check out our guide on how to find a roof leak for more help.

4. Install Underlayment and Flashing

After the wood decking checks out, you’ll be ready to install the underlayment and flashing. Both of these materials are essential to the success of your roofing project. Underlayment is a tar paper material that helps to insulate your roof from the weather and keep your shingles in good condition.

Flashing will need to be installed wherever there are high-traffic runoff areas, such as dips and valleys in your roof and around chimneys and skylights. To know where they should go on your new roof, pay attention to where you take them off your old roof. You’ll also need to install a new “drip edge,” which is a type of flashing installed at the edges of your roof to help control the flow of water.

5. Install Shingles

The shingles can be installed next. Shingles are always installed from bottom to top to ensure proper overlay. Be careful while you’re installing the first few rows of shingles because this is when you’ll be most likely to fall off or get injured. If you’re on a steep roof, consider installing the first few rows from a ladder, even if it takes you a little bit longer.

Use four roofing nails per shingle, and don’t be afraid to use a chalk line to ensure each layer of shingles is straight. When you get to the top, you’ll install the ridge cap shingles over the peak of your house.

worker installing asphalt shingles with nail gun; diy roof replacement

6. Cleanup and Perform Final Inspection

After you’re finished with shingle installation, you can clean up any remaining garbage or extra materials and perform the final inspection. Look for any damaged shingles, spots you missed, or places that don’t look right. It’s better to get your roof fixed and in perfect condition before any precipitation has the chance of leaking into your home.

7. Dispose of Trash

When you’re satisfied with the job’s quality, you can move ahead with the rest of the clean-up and schedule your dumpster to get picked up. If you chose not to use a dumpster for the project, then you’ll need to haul all of the trash to your local recycling or landfill facility, depending on city ordinances.

Long blue dumpster full of wood in the driveway of home; diy roof replacement

Contact WISA Solutions for Professional Help

The idea of purchasing a bunch of new tools and materials, working for long hours, and risking your safety isn’t appealing to most homeowners. If you’ve realized that the DIY roof replacement route isn’t for you, we always recommend working with a professional instead.

If you live in Northern Virginia, you can rely on the top-rated team at WISA Solutions. Our experienced crew is eager to help you get the new roof you deserve.

Reach out today for a free estimate!