The short answer is, two or three days. It might take longer if the roof on your home is on a big house, is very steep, or is complex. Most homes in the Bothell area – particularly in an older home, because it is likely at least a few decades old if it needs its roof replaced – most homes will only take two or three days.
Some roofing companies work with smaller project teams. If two people are working on your roof, it might take sever days, but if a half dozen experienced workers are on the job the whole time, it may get done in a single day.
The law of diminishing returns, however, will limit the amount of work that can be done in a give number of hours. That’s because a lot of the work in replacing a roof must be done in sequence. For most roofs, it’s only possible to start applying the new roofing materials after all of the old has been removed. The larger the roof, however, the more easy it is to be working on installing the new tiles on one end of the house while you are wrapping up the removal of the old material on the other end. Still, most roofers like to get the old material off the premises before they begin installing the new. The project is simply easier to manage when you’re only task is the current stage, whatever that is: Removal, preparation, installation. Getting the old material off the roof in its entirety – and scrapping all of it, which means getting it out of site – provides more room for the new materials to be as near to the place of installation as possible. As neighborhoods get more and more crowded in the Pacific Northwest, there’s less and less room in driveways and on the street to get trucks and pallets of material up to any one house.
What are the stage of replacing a roof?
Removing and disposing of all the worn out roofing materials
An experienced roofer will always want to inspect your roof before any work is begun. Indeed, he or she will want to know the exact condition of your roof before they agree on a price offer for the replacement work. Most contractors – roofers, carpenters, painters, etc. – like to present their customer with no surprises half way through the project. For instance, if the plywood layers under the PVC water protection are seriously water damaged, that and everything else damaged by the water needs to be replaced along with the layers on top of it. Usually, that plywood is bone dry, and has not been affected by any water, animal or plant damage, but if, for example, all of it needs to be replaced, it can nearly double the price of a roof replacement. During a thorough roof inspection, though, such damage can be found, and the home owner can decide where in their budget all of it belongs.
On the point of roof inspections, one of the simplest ways to manage the costs of home ownership is to get a thorough roof inspection every two years. It takes time for water to do its damage, and a two-year inspection will catch it before it does serious damage. Most roofing companies will do a roof inspection for free, provided any work that comes of it, they get the work. And considering they are in line for that work, they will find a problem if there is one! And don’t worry about getting gouged by the FUD factor (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) like might happen in a auto repair shop. If there is a roof problem, it will be clearly visible to you, the home owner. Roofing is mostly about carpentry. It’s hard work for sure, but it’s not as complicated as diagnosing a problem with a modern motor vehicle.
But if there is some subtle problem with the current roof, and it is only discovered during the old material removal process, experienced roofers will know what to do. They often have short-stop general contractors on call to take on a job on-the-spot, and the delay to the roofing project is minimized, if not eliminated. And often, some such minor repair work can be done by the roofing company itself, often at no additional cost, if the repair work is small enough. Sometimes it’s quicker to simply fix a small problem upon discover, than it is to call the home owner into the process again, and try to agree on an additional charge.
Preparing the house for the new roofing materials
So now, the house is ‘naked’. The old worn out shakes, PVC layer, corroded nails and perhaps gutters are all on their way to the dump. Fingers crossed that the weather is what was forecast, and the next stage can continue in bone dry weather. Some roofing companies operate all winter long, and thus, have all the material needed to operate in inclement weather. A Seattle summer shower will be of no consequence to such a company.
When the roof infrastructure is completely uncovered like this is the perfect time to make repairs or small improvements to it. If you had planned to install a skylight or a vent of some type, it’s easier when “the patient is on the table”, as it were. Done at this point, it will cost less – far less – than it would if you wait until the roof replacement is complete. Of course, you want to have that lined up as part of the agreed project long before this point.
Putting the new roof on!
By this time, all the old materials are long gone. They have found their new home in a land fill or, preferably, in a recycling center. Now, the fresh new tiles, shakes or composite material are all sitting and waiting as close to the place of installation as possible. In some respects, this is the easiest part of the project. It’s relatively clean, predictable, and all that a roofer must be careful of is – in the case of natural wood shakes – making sure an odd ‘bad’ shake makes its way onto the roof. You want to catch the handful of those that have made it past all the quality control tests up to this point.
Once complete, the experienced roofer will go over all the work one more time. Did they miss something? Is it all secure and stable? Are there any spots that need a bit of rework? Is the customer satisfied, and have they spotted something they don’t like? Often an interior inspection is also a good idea. Is light getting through anywhere it is not supposed to? A quality roofer – one who has been in business many years – knows that getting called back for issues later is expensive, so he or she will want to leave your roof in excellent condition, and you a happy owner of a new roof!
Come back next week. The summer is almost over, and new things are important!