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What is a Roof Replacement? (6 Things to Know Before Getting One)

February 7th, 2024 | 10 min. read

What is a Roof Replacement? (6 Things to Know Before Getting One)

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So, you got the news you need a roof replacement. Well, if you’ve never been through the process before, you probably don’t even know what it is. 

And knowing what it is is just the beginning of the information you need to learn to feel comfortable buying a new roof. Our goal is for every homeowner to be confident in their decisions for their roof replacement. 

That’s why I’ll use my 30-plus years running Bill Ragan Roofing Company to help you understand what a roof replacement is and what to know before you get started. By the end, I guarantee you’ll be on your way to a great experience with a roofer you can trust. 

This article covers the following:

  • What is a roof replacement?
  • 6 things to know before starting the roof replacement process

What is a roof replacement?

A roof replacement is completely tearing off your old roof down to a clean deck and installing brand-new roofing components and the roofing material you choose. Most homeowners don’t consider this, but getting a new roof is also a big and chaotic home improvement project. 

in progress roof replacement(Roof replacement in progress)

There are a lot of moving pieces with crew members, vehicles, trash, falling debris, and more around your home during a roof replacement. But this will be controlled, and you’ll have a smooth experience as long as you hire a great roofing company. 

6 things to know before starting the roof replacement process

As I said, learning what a roof replacement is is just the beginning. In fact, there’s more to know before even starting the process to ensure you don’t fall victim to the dark side of the roofing industry. 

Below are the 6 things to know before starting the roof replacement process. 

1. Only consider local roofing companies for your roof replacement

The roofing company you hire impacts every single aspect of your roof replacement, from pricing to final quality. That’s why it’s crucial to only consider local roofing companies in your area.

Every roofing company you look into should have a physical office location in your area and a local phone number. This ensures you can find them if there are problems, and they’ll also know local installation codes, the paperwork required, and everything else to ensure your roof is replaced in compliance with your state’s requirements.

Hiring a local roofing company also helps you avoid being taken advantage of by a storm-chasing company looking to make a quick buck. These out-of-state companies come in after a big storm, undercut local prices, get the money, and move on to the next storm-hit town without caring about local codes or properly installing your roof because they won’t be around to deal with it. 

2. Get roof replacement multiple quotes

Not only should you hire a local, but it’s also a good idea to talk to multiple local roofing companies. Getting estimates from multiple roofing companies is the best way to zero in on the right roofer for you. 

It allows you to compare prices and helps you avoid getting taken advantage of, which builds much needed trust. Unfortunately, it’s also important because some roofing companies try to sell homeowners roof replacements, no matter what.

Let’s say one roofing company is adamant you need a replacement, but two others say you only need repairs. If two other roofing companies aren’t trying to sell you a roof, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s not time for a roof replacement.

3. Don’t go looking for a cheap roof replacement

From the very beginning, it’s crucial not to go into the roof replacement process with the mindset of finding the lowest price and cheapest roofing company you can find. Not only will the final product reflect the cheap price, but you also make yourself a prime target for a bad roofer to take advantage of you.

Once they know you’re looking for the cheapest roof, they’ll lower their prices to outbid the other roofing company. Unfortunately, they’re able to reach these low prices by using cheaper quality materials and cheap labor or leaving crucial components off your roof completely. 

I’m not saying you should buy the most expensive roof, but I guarantee there will be problems if you try to find the cheapest roof possible. Just know there are ways to afford a quality roof without breaking the bank if budget is a big concern.

4. The materials and components included in your roof replacement

As I said at the very beginning, a roof replacement is replacing your old roof with all new materials and components. Every single one of the components has a specific purpose and should be included in every roof replacement. 

The different roofing components and materials that should be included in a roof replacement are:

Knowing these components helps you understand what you’re paying for when getting a roof replacement. However, you’re also able to use this list to determine if anything is missing from your estimate before signing.

5. Your roofing material options

The roofing material for your roof replacement makes up the bulk of your roof system. It’s also the driving force behind most of the pricing, warranty options, lifespan, and overall look.

That’s why you need to know your options to ensure you’re making the right decision when signing the final estimate. 

You’ll find the right one for you and your budget by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • What’s my budget for a roof replacement?
  • How long do I want my roof to last?
  • Do I want the best material warranties?
  • How important is curb appeal to me?

Think through these questions, and check out how the common roofing materials below match up with your wants and needs. Click on the hyperlinks to learn more about each individual roofing material.

Roofing Material



Material Warranty

Curb Appeal 

Architectural Shingles


22-25 years

30-year (prorated after 10) warranty


Luxury Shingles


25-30 years

30-year prorated warranty


Standing Seam Metal


30-50 years

30-year Kynar 500 paint warranty


Synthetic Shingles


40-50 years

Limited Lifetime

Very High

Cedar Shake


30 years


Very High



75-100+ years


Very High

Other than the roofing company, choosing the right roofing material is the biggest decision you’ll make for your roof replacement. So, do your research, talk to a trusted roofer, and make the right choice for you and your situation.

6. Get a full roof replacement instead of nailing over your old roof

Some homeowners on a tight budget try to nail over their old roof with a new one instead of a full replacement. The cheaper price makes it tempting, but they don’t consider that a nail-over cuts crucial steps out of the replacement process and certain components.

That’s why I always recommend getting a full roof replacement instead of nailing over your old one. While nail-over reroof is a much cheaper option because it cuts labor and materials costs down, it has major drawbacks that make it risky. 

These drawbacks include:

  • You won’t qualify for an enhanced warranty
  • Aesthetic issues if you upgrade the type of shingle
  • Your current roof flashing has to be used
  • It’s harder to repair a roof leak
  • You can’t check the condition of your roof decking
  • Added cost when replacing the roof in the future

Even if these drawbacks don’t deter you, your current roof must be near the end of its lifespan, lying down flat, have a few penetrations, a little flashing, and no walls that butt up against the shingles. While this disqualifies a lot of roofs right off the bat, you’ll still find roofing companies who will do it just to win your business. 

However, a reputable roofer will recommend a full roof replacement 99 times out of 100.

How much does a roof replacement cost?

Now, you know what a roof replacement is and 6 things every homeowner needs to know before starting the process. However, there’s still much more to learn about getting a new roof. 

One of the most important things to learn is also what homeowners care about the most: cost. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find honest and transparent pricing when it comes to roofing. 

Well, you can’t make the right decisions without knowing how much anything costs. That’s why I wrote another article breaking down how much a new roof costs. 

Check out How Much a New Roof Costs to learn the budget you’ll need for a roof replacement. 

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