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Roof Replacement

How Messy is Getting a New Roof?

July 26th, 2023 | 6 min. read

How Messy is Getting a New Roof?

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A roof replacement has a lot of moving pieces during the project. Because of this, homeowners are always concerned about how messy their property will be during and after. 

The truth is, how much mess you see really depends on the roofing contractor. Your property should be spotless if a roofer does things correctly, but that’s not always the case.

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand what to expect when getting a new roof. That’s why I’ll break down how messy getting a new roof is and how it should be cleaned up.

This article answers the following questions:

  • How messy is getting a new roof?
  • How does a roofing contractor handle the mess on your property?
  • Does the extra care to keep your property clean cost more?

How messy is getting a new roof?

Getting a new roof is a very messy project, especially during the tear-off process. Before your new roof can be installed, your old roof must be completely torn off down to the decking.

This creates a lot of debris from the old shingles, nails, underlayment, and other components that must be torn off and disposed of. It looks like chaos, but a reputable roofer makes it look like controlled chaos (more on this in a second).

debris in dump trailer from tearing off old roof (Debris from tearing off the old roof)

The tear-off process is where most of the mess comes, but there’s also trash that comes with installing your new roof. This is mainly from the wrappers of newly installed materials and components.

While getting a new roof is always messy, the roofing contractor you hire plays a huge role in what this “mess” looks like. 

How does a roofing contractor handle the mess on your property?

Now you know getting a new roof is very messy. Unfortunately, I can’t be specific on the kind of mess that’ll be left behind because every roofing contractor handles clean-up differently. 

Some leave trash everywhere, while others go all out with tarps, dump trailers, and magnets. You definitely want the latter when it comes to cleaning up the mess that comes with a roof replacement. 

Below is a breakdown of how a reputable roofing contractor handles debris and clean-up when getting a new roof.  

Cleaning up debris and trash during the entire roof replacement process

Cleaning up should be going on during the entire roof replacement process. A reputable roofer will have most of the crew tearing off and installing while a couple stays on the ground to ensure everything gets to the dump trailer.

However, your roof's size and complexity determine what this looks like. If your roof is walkable, the debris can be carried across the roof and pitched into the dump trailer, which leaves the crew on the ground to pick up any stragglers.

roofing debris being carried to dump trailer

For more difficult roofs, there should be a tarped landing zone where the crew on the roof throws the debris and trash. The crew on the ground will pick it up using wheelbarrows to take to the dump trailer. 

dumping roofing debris into a dump trailer

Even when debris isn’t actively coming off your roof, the crew on the ground will continue walking around the property cleaning up dropped nails, bundle wrappers, and other trash. 

Clearing off your freshly installed roof

After installation, your contractor will clear your new roof of any sitting debris left with a powerful handheld blower. This includes sawdust from cutting in vents, loose granules off the shingles, and anything that fell into the gutters.

blowing off new installed roof

If there’s any trash left on the roof, it’ll be picked up after it’s blown off the roof. They’ll also run a magnet through the gutter to catch any loose nails and blow out the downspouts to ensure there are no blockages.

Final clean-up and walkthrough of your property after your roof replacement

After ensuring your new roof is clean and sparkling, it’s time to begin visually inspecting your yard and landscaping, looking for any roofing debris that was missed. They’ll go through your grass and driveway with a magnet(s) to catch nails that got away. 

magnet going through grass to catch nails leftover from roof replacement

After your yard and driveway are clear of roofing debris and nails, the crew and roofing contractor will wrap it all up. They’ll load up their equipment and move their vehicles out of the driveway so they can clear off the paved surfaces. 

After your driveway, they’ll walk around your property blowing off your porch, patio, or anywhere else granules or dust could have fallen. Once everything is loaded up and the crew is gone, your roofing contractor should take one last pass to look for nails or trash.

Does the extra care to keep your property clean cost more?

Yes, this extra care to ensure your property is clean during and after your roof replacement will cost more. However, it’s not because the roofing contractor just wants to charge more for the extra care. 

First, you have to think about the labor and crew size. Whether they're on the roof or the ground cleaning up, more crew members working means higher labor costs. 

Secondly, you have to think about the actual disposal and equipment. There’s paying for the tarps to catch debris and protect the areas around your home. 

There’s also the dump trailer, the truck driver taking the trailer, and dump fees associated with dumping all the debris. The fees won’t add up to a huge number, but they will impact the final cost of your roof replacement. 

However, it doesn’t matter what they have, how they do it, or what they charge; a reputable roofer will always ensure your property is cleaner than before. 

How is your property protected during your roof replacement?

After reading this article, you now understand the mess that comes with a roof replacement and how it’ll be cleaned up. While doing it right and efficiently might add to the cost, avoiding punctured tires and emergency room visits from stepping on nails is worth the price.

Cleaning up is a crucial part of the roof replacement process, but remember, it’s chaos. I understand seeing debris flying around your home and potentially hitting or breaking things is concerning. 

However, a reputable roofing contractor considers this and takes proper precautions to protect your property. But what does this look like?

Check out How Your Property is Protected During a Roof Replacement to learn what a roofer should do to protect the things around your home.

prepare for your roof replacement checklist


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