Looking to replace your roof? Roof replacements are one of the more daunting home improvements you’ll have to make as a homeowner. What type of shingles should I get? What color should I choose? How do I choose a roofing contractor for my roof replacement? These are all great questions and things that we deal with on a daily basis.
While roof replacements are typically needed because of an old or leaking roof, there are also visual aspects to consider because your roof has a large impact on the curb appeal of your home.
Atlanta Roof Replacement Guide
There are tons of different roofing materials to choose from when completing a roof replacement in Atlanta, GA. While asphalt shingles are typically the top choice, there are a variety of choices within asphalt shingles. Metal roofing is quickly becoming one of the top choices for roof replacements in Atlanta, because it last far longer than asphalt shingle. Other roof replacement options include slate, tile, and cedar shake. The pitch of your roof also has an impact on the type of roof replacement you will need and the options you have. For example, flat roof replacement will require a membrane material instead of a shingle or tile application.
The most common choices for residential roof replacements include:
- Asphalt shingles: This is one of the cheaper options, however they may not last as long as some of the other options. This is by far the most popular type of roofing material.
- Wood shakes or shingles: These are a pricier option, but add great curb appeal to a home. If you’re getting ready to replace your roof, talk to a contractor about whether wood might be a good option for your roof.
- Metal Roofing: These roofs are typically made of steel or galvanized aluminum, which gives them an extremely long life in comparison to other Atlanta roof replacement choices. While these roofs are typically two to three times more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs, they can last a lifetime. Some of the more common residential roofing systems include AG Panel, R-Panel, and Standing Seam metal.
- Slate roofing: These are one of the most expensive options you can choose, but provide possibly the best mix of longevity and curb appeal. If you’re interested in slate roofing for your roof replacement, make sure you find a contractor that has extensive experience in installing slate roofs. It is an intricate process that’s not for the novice.
- Clay or ceramic tile: While most common in Florida and California, the Spanish tile clay roofing option is a popular roof replacement option in Atlanta, GA as well. One downside of clay tiles is the maintenance required. Luckily, there are also a variety of clay tile look alike products that exist now that can be great options if you like the look of Spanish tiles. These composite tiles are also far lighter than the standard clay tiles, so they won’t place as much strain on the structure of a home.
Roof Replacement Tear Off or Layering?
In the past, it was not uncommon to see roof replacements performed by simply layering another layer of shingles over the top of the existing shingles. However, this is not a good idea for a variety of reasons. In fact, in Atlanta this is against the local building codes and puts you at risk for violatons. Here’s a few of the reasons that layering your roof replacement is not a good idea:
- Excessive Weight: The framing of your home was designed with certain weight constraints in mind. Architects and building engineers do not design structures to hold the weight of multiple layers of shingles. An extra layer of shingles can way over 5,000 pounds for an average size home. If your rafters and structure were not designed for this kind of weight barring, adding another layer of shingles can cause safety issues for your home.
- Surface Integrity: One of the biggest problems with layering shingles for a roof replacement is that it doesn’t allow your roofing company to address issues underneath your current shingles. If there is rotten plywood or issues with the underlayment, you won’t have the opportunity to replace them if you simply layer over top of the existing shingles. Applying shingles over existing water intrusion can lead to much bigger problems down the road.
- More Money Down The Road: The biggest benefit to layering is that it saves time and therefore is cheaper for the homeowner. However, we can assure you that the prices of roof replacements are going no where but higher. Layering results in double the tear-off work next time you replace your roof and you’ll be paying double at a far higher price. It’s generally a poor long-term decision to try and layer over a roof. If you’re buying a home, be sure to look out for this hidden cost.
Roof Replacement Cost Considerations
There are many things that can impact the cost of your roof replacement. The pitch (steepness of your roof) and the size or square footage are probably the single largest determinant in the cost of your roof replacement. The next highest impact is what we’ve discussed above, your choice in roofing material. The roofing contractor you choose will also have an impact on the cost. There are large variations in quality of workmanship, material manufacturers used, and even legality of business practices.
We obviously recommend using a reputable company, but ultimately that’s your decision. By far the cheapest, a three-tab shingle roof can cost as little as $2.70 to $3 per square foot. According to roofingcalc.com, the typical cost of a roof replacement is between $3.50 and $5.50 per sq ft — which includes all material, labor, permit fees, and cleanup.
So how much do each of the roof replacement options typically cost?
- Three-tab shingles: $7,000 to $12,000
- 30-year shingles: $9,000 to $15,000
- 50-year shingles: $11,000 to $20,000
- EPDM flat roofing: $8,000 to $14,000
- TPO or PVC membrane for flat roofing: $10,000 to $15,000
- Wood shake: $14,000 to $25,000
- Aluminum shingles: $15,000 to $28,000
- Standing-seam metal roofing: $23,000 to $30,000
- Slate: $25,000 to $50,000
- Concrete tiles: $20,000 to $40,000
- Spanish Clay tiles: $25,000 to $50,000
Best Time Of Year For Roof Replacement
We’re lucky to have reasonable weather and temperatures year-round in Atlanta, so roofing replacements can happen 12 months out of the year. The busiest season for most roofing contractors is the spring to fall time period. This is typical because homeowners are outside and more focused on their home improvement list. That being said, winter could be the best time for you to get a roof replacement if you don’t have holiday conflicts. The roofing companies in Atlanta are typically less busy this time of year, so you may be able to get better pricing. Regardless of the time of year, the non-negotiable thing to look out for is dry weather. It requires at least one full day of no rain in order to replace a roof. Sometimes, for larger projects it can take multiple days. It all depends on the size and complexity of your roof replacement project.
Understand the Roof Replacement Process
In order to make the best decisions for you and your roof, it’s important that you understand the roof replacement process and some of the general terminology used in roofing. Don’t worry, this stuff is super easy!
A reasonably sized (3000-4000 square foot) roof replacement project will often be completed in one day. However, if you choose to use one of the specialty materials like slate, metal, or tile, the process may take longer. These materials are more complicated to install and require special tools. In general, the roof replacement process follows these 10 steps:
- Materials are ordered and delivered to the property: There are a couple of ways that the materials may be left at your property. Some roofing companies perform ground drops, meaning that the materials are left on your driveway or the street in front of your house. Other companies may have them lifted onto your house prior to beginning the job.
- Crew arrival and removal of existing shingles: The crew will generally arrive very early for a roof replacement job. The tear-off process takes a couple of hours depending on the size of the roof and the existing material type. You’ll see most good roofing companies lay down tarps through the duration of the roof replacement in order to protect plants, lawn, and other objects lining the side of your home. The existing material will be dropped from the roof onto the tarps and then piled into a rollaway dumpster.
- Decking/Sheathing repair and flashing repair: Now that the roof is down to the plywood, the crew will look for rotten wood that may need to be replaced. They’ll also look for any damaged flashing that may need to be replaced. Typically, the flashing that is not damaged or causing leaks will be left in place during the roof replacement.
- Lay down underlayment: There are a couple of different kinds of material that will be applied on top of the decking during your roof replacement. First, a reinforced ice and water shield will be installed in the valleys of the roof, as well as in any high risk areas (meaning you’ve had leaks in the past or your roofer thinks there’s high chance of water penetration in the future). Next, a synthetic underlayment will be applied on top of all of the remaining exposed decking.
- Metal drip edge will be applied to all rakes and eaves (see below for definitions): This is simply an L-shaped piece of metal that goes along the perimeter of your roof to keep water from dripping down onto your fascia boards or into the soffits. This is something that wasn’t used prior to 20 years or so ago, so if you haven’t had a roof replacement recently this may be an improvement to your prior roofing system.
- Apply starter shingles: Starter shingles are designed to provide extra support against wind damage and other types of storm damage that might occur to your roof. They are applied along all of the rakes and eaves to add extra support for the shingles along the perimeter of your roof.
- Install shingles or other roofing material: This is when your roof replacement really starts to look like a roof again. The shingles will be laid from the bottom corners on your roof towards the peak and interior. This typically takes an hour or so for every 1000 square feet.
- Place ridge vent and ridge cap: This is a more modern way of ventilating your home. Ridge vents may not exist on older homes, but are typically installed as part of a roof replacement in order to improve the air circulation in the attic. You can expect some solid energy savings following your roof replacement if you did not previously have attic ventilation. Finally, ridge caps will be installed on top of all ridge vents and hips on your home.
- Cleanup and final inspection: The last step is for the crew to clean up the exterior of your home and inspect the roof to insure nothing has been missed on your roof replacement in Atlanta.
Roof Replacement Terms
The roofing business uses some special terminology when estimating materials for a roofing job.
- Square: This is the main unit of measurement in roofing. One “square” equals 100 square feet.
- Bundles: Shingles are typically sold in bundles, where 3 to 4 bundles covers 100 square feet.
- Rakes: These are the perimeter edges of your roof that are angled towards the ground.
- Eaves: These are the perimeter edges of your roof that are parallel to the ground.
- Hips: These are the convex ridges where two facets of your roof come together. They are typically at an angle greater than 90 degrees.
- Ridges: These are at the peak of your roof where two sloped facets come together.
- Valleys: These are the concave areas on your roof where water can collect. They receive ice and water barrier during your roof replacement.
Call us today at (678) 365-3138 if you’re ready to move forward with your roof replacement Atlanta, GA. We’re happy to help in any way we can!