Getting a new roof is one of the largest investments homeowners ever make. It’s also a project that should be left to professionals who know what they’re doing.


A quality roofing installation begins with inspection and preparation. The contractor will lay an ice and water barrier (if needed) and underlayment. To learn more, visit

There are many different materials to choose from when roofing a house or commercial structure. Each type offers its own benefits and drawbacks, but all should be able to adequately protect the roof from water damage. Roofers should have an excellent understanding of all the various materials and how they work together to make a sturdy, long-lasting roof.

Rolled roofing is a popular choice for low-sloped residential roofs or outbuildings like sheds and workshops. It consists of large rolls of asphalt-impregnated material topped with mineral granules and costs less than other types of roofing. However, rolled roofing has a relatively short lifespan of only five to eight years.

Flat or membrane roofing is another affordable option for low-sloped roofs. It is available in a range of watertight options including single-membrane systems like EPDM or rubber roofing, thermo-polyolefin (TPO) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing and high-density spray polyurethane foam insulation.

Rafters and trusses are the framework of most residential roofs, but they don’t provide the structural support needed for shingles or other coverings. Sheathing is required to provide this support, and it’s typically made of plywood or OSB. It’s crucial to properly install sheathing in order to ensure that the new roof will be watertight.


Before a roof is installed, the roofing contractor inspects the existing structure to ensure that it can support the new roof. This includes examining the roof deck for damage and rot, and determining the materials that will be used for the installation. The contractor also needs to determine how much material is required and plan for its delivery, storage, and installation.

Before starting work on a new roof, it’s important for the roofer to take photographs of the entire structure. This will help them provide a complete description of the job and show clients what to expect. It’s also a good idea to get photos of each section of the roof from a position on top of the structure, as well as close-up photos of all penetrations and flashing.

Once the roofing contractor removes the old shingles and underlayment, they will examine the roof decking for damage and rot. They will replace any sections that are deemed to be damaged or not suitable for supporting the new roof. In addition, they will install a water barrier to prevent leaks and moisture damage from the inside out.

Roofing workers use a variety of tools and equipment to perform their duties, including hammers, nail guns, ladders, shingle cutters, and hard hats. They may also need to wear safety harnesses, especially for jobs that involve working at heights. Resources for safe working at heights include a ladder safety mobile application,[23] informational booklets and tipsheets,[24] safety leadership training,[25] and video presentations.


A roofing underlayment is a water-resistant material that gets laid directly on the roof deck before any other roofing materials are installed. It prevents water from getting under the shingles and potentially damaging the sheathing and framing.

Typically, contractors will use either felt or synthetic underlayment. Although the cost of the latter is a little higher, it offers additional protection and functionality. It also helps protect against mold and mildew growth, which is an important consideration for many homeowners.

To install underlayment, the first row gets placed at the top of the roof and fastened using cap nails every four to six inches along the edge. The next rows of underlayment get overlapped with the first by at least six inches and then secured in a similar manner with close cap nails on the edges and more spaced out towards the middle of the sheet. The process continues until the final row of underlayment reaches the roof’s ridge, which drops down to cover both edges of the prior rows on each side.

It is important to use safety standards and wear work shoes designed for roof traction when working on the roof. Additionally, it is recommended that you avoid walking on the underlayment surface unless absolutely necessary to do so. If you do walk on it, you should use a pair of work gloves to ensure that you don’t accidentally puncture the roof deck underneath.


Shingles are a roof’s most visible element and also its main source of protection. They shield a home from rain and other weather elements through a unique layering pattern. Different shingle materials and coatings offer different levels of durability, longevity, and energy efficiency.

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material. They come in a variety of colors and styles. 3-tab shingles, also known as strip shingles, are simple and cost-effective. They feature a flat uniform look adorned with three tabs, but their lighter construction doesn’t withstand harsh weather conditions as well as architectural shingles.

Wood shingles, made of cedar, cypress, or redwood, feature a thick textured appearance with each individual piece looking slightly different from the rest. They can last up to 200 years but require more structural support because of their weight.

Clay shingles offer an earthy natural appearance and are fire-resistant. They are heavier than wood shingles and require additional roof support, but they are long-lasting and can withstand severe weather.

Energy-efficient shingles use reflective granules to keep homes cooler. They’re usually dark in color to reflect sunlight, but check with your homeowners association to learn if your neighborhood has specific coloring standards. Other options include metal and tile shingles that provide an elegant mediterranean appearance or solar shingles that generate energy for the home. Most shingle brands offer warranties to protect the investment in a new roof.


There are several types of flashings that professional roofers use to protect the most vulnerable points in your roof. These areas include where the roof plane meets a vertical surface like a wall or chimney, and open valleys on your roof. Flashing is a thin strip of metal that is installed to surround these features, and it directs rainwater away from the walls or roof to prevent leaks.

The first type of flashing is called base flashing. It is placed where a vertical feature, like a chimney, meets the roof plane and requires two pieces of flashing to properly seal the area. It is also installed around the bottom of a vent pipe to prevent water from seeping down the wall and into the building.

Counter flashing is installed opposite of the base flashing, and it completes the flashing system. It is used in places where the roof meets a wall to prevent water from seeping under the shingles and damaging the structure.

Valley flashings are used where a sloped roof plane meets another sloping roof, or what is commonly referred to as an open “valley.” These areas can collect debris and moisture that leads to leaks, but valley flashings will divert water and prevent the buildup of snow and ice.

Continuous flashing is a long piece of flashing that covers a larger area, such as where the roof meets an entire wall of siding. It is important to note that these long pieces of flashing have built-in expansion joints to allow them to flex with the changes in weather.

Ridge Cap

The ridge cap is used to seal the top of your roof’s peak, or ridge. The ridge is the highest point of your roof where two slopes meet. This area is particularly vulnerable to moisture penetration, which can cause expensive damage like mold, mildew and rot.

Ridge caps are made of the same material as standard shingles, but they’re thicker and pre-bent to fit the curve of your roof’s peak. This design makes them better suited to the job of protecting your roof from water and debris, as they are more durable than regular shingles, which can break easily when bent.

In addition to providing protection, ridge caps are also designed to enhance your roof’s appearance. They’re available in a wide variety of colors and styles to match the color and style of your other roof shingles, so they can make your whole roof look cohesive and more attractive.

Before you start working on your roof, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Be sure to wear a harness and use a ladder for the best results, and always work on a clear day. It’s also a good idea to work with a partner for added safety, and take breaks regularly. This way, you can avoid any potential accidents and get the job done quickly and efficiently.