What is the roof installation process?

close-up of asphalt shingles being nailed in

How is a roof installed?

The roof on your home is a vital component, and this is a well-known fact that can’t be disputed. What isn’t well-known is the parts that make up the roof. Many people may even find themselves asking “what is roof installation?” What is included with roof installation services? There is more to a roof than the shingles and gutter system we see from the street. With that introduction, let’s look further into this topic. 

The Roof Installation Process

When you understand the process for roof installation services, you know what to expect. The roof installation steps for asphalt roof shingles are typically as follows: 

Off With the Old

First, the crew providing the roof installation services will remove the old roofing material unless other arrangements have been made. This means they take it down to the sheathing or under decking and rebuild the roof from there. 

Evaluation and Inspection

After the roof installation services crew has removed the old roofing, they inspect and evaluate the rafters and under sheathing, replacing any damaged or defective material if needed. 

Ice Protection

On homes where ice is probable, your roofing installation services will include an ice and water barrier along the roof edges, with a focus on the area that is most susceptible to ice buildup. This is a sticky underlayment that adheres to the sheathing and is nailed down for added stability.

The Drip Edge

There are two parts of your roof where the roof installation services crew will install a drip edge: the lower part before the underlayment and the sides after the underlayment. This metal drip edge is an ice and water barrier that is nailed into place and will prevent water from running over the roof edge and onto the siding and the area underneath it.

The Underlayment 

The roof underlayment is either a felt or synthetic material that is pre-soaked in water-resistant materials and comes in rolls. The crew performing your roof installation service will roll the material out every four inches along the edges and fasten it with roofing nails without nailing into the drip edge. The next roll of the underlayment section will overlap the first and the process continues until the entire decking is covered. 

The Shingles

A row of starter shingles will be installed first along the bottom of the roof, being nailed into place. Then, starting at the bottom corner, a full row of shingles will be laid down and nailed in place just under the tar line. Another row will be installed above that, and this continues until the roof is covered in shingles.

Once the crew performing your roof installation services has reached the roof cap, they will install the ridge cap shingles over the roof vent along the top peak. They will lay the next piece to overlap the edge of the first and cover the nail, continuing until they have covered the entire roof ridge. 


When finished with the roof installation, the crew will then use large magnets on poles and walk around the perimeter of your home, picking up nails and any other debris. 

How long does roof installation take?

With an average-size home, under 2,000 square feet, roof installation can usually be completed in one day. A larger home or multi-story home can take upwards of a week or more. The weather is typically a determining factor as well as the size of the home and if the crew finds any issues during the inspection that need to be remedied.

Installation is often a factor in deciding what type of roofing you want. However, most homeowners have other questions as well, such as “What is the most common type of residential roof? Because of the upfront cost and the ease of installation, asphalt shingles are the most common roofing materials on residential structures. 

Another common question is, “What is the easiest roof to install?” Rolled roofing is easy to install and an inexpensive roofing option. This is also a roof installation a DIY homeowner can do with little to no carpentry experience. It is typically installed on semi-flat roofs like you may find with a sunroom addition. 

How much does roof installation cost?

Factors that can affect the cost of roof installation services include the size of the house and the type of roofing material you choose. The national average for a roof replacement over past years has typically been around $8,000 for homes of 1200 to 1500 square feet. With the current pricing of lumber and other construction materials, that cost is now closer to $10,000 or more. 

Fortunately, this isn’t something you have to do on a monthly basis. A good quality asphalt shingle roof can give you a lifespan of up to 20-25 years if maintained by the homeowner. 

What type of roof should I install?

When choosing the material for a new roof for your home, aesthetics are an important consideration as are any local regulations and restrictions. You and the contractor providing the roof installation services will need to discuss your budget and the cost, as well as the weight of the material and other installation requirements.

worker standing on a roof and installing asphalt shingle roofing

Concluding With a Budget-Saver Question

“Can you DIY your own roof installation?” As we stated earlier, there is no debating that a roof is an important component of your home. There is also no debate that it is a costly endeavor, even if it is done every 20 year years. Labor is a big part of that cost, so some homeowners want to make it a DIY project. Is that possible? It is your home, and we can’t tell you whether to take this project on or not, but there are things to consider before making this decision: 

1). Local regulations may require licensed roof installation services to perform the job. 

2). Product warranty may require the roof to be installed by licensed roof installation services.

3). Roof installation is done at a high level above the ground, so safety needs to be taken into consideration first and utmost.

4). When a professional roof installation service does the job, you’ll have a guarantee of their work.