8 Steps to Roofing it Right

Mar 25, 2017Blog

Installing a roof is more than just nailing down shingles. Homeowner’s generally have questions about who to hire, does the company stand behind their work, the cost involved, materials being used, hidden costs, and details of what to expect.

Most homeowners do not know how this process works and sadly many roofers that visit homeowners I have been told, don’t go through the process with them leaving them more confused than when they started.  Unfortunately, there are some roofers who will take advantage of these people and not only use poor materials, but maybe reuse materials or cut corners with an improper installation.

Here at Beantown Home Improvements, we’ve nailed down a re-roofing process that’s guaranteed to give you the best roof that will last a lifetime.  And to top it off we will explain the entire process from start to finish leaving you feeling confident that you’ve hired a company that will get it done right the first time.

Whether we’re replacing a shingle, slate or metal roof, surface preparation is always the same.

1 – Property Protection

Our first job is to assure that your entire property is fully protected while roofing replacement is underway.  This starts by having the dumpster placed on wood blocks when it is dropped off so that your driveway is not damaged.  Then before we start roofing we will move any items that may be in the way such as BBQ grills, planters, benches, solar lights etc.  Next we will hang massive tarps from your roofs edge creating a large slide for the debris to pitch away from the house to protect the house itself, landscaping and walkways.

Property Protection

2 – Removal of Old Roofing Material

All old shingles, no matter the type, must be completely removed in order to inspect wood decking.  Did you also know that if you go OVER your old roofing shingles that most manufacturers WILL NOT give you a warranty!  Something to think about before asking for a layover to save money.

It’s also good to know that Beantown Home Improvements is GREEN and we Recycle all of our shingles.  No Landfills!

owens corning preferred contractor shingle recycling pledge Southeast MA

3 – Roofing & ventilation Inspection

Every roofing replacement project begins with a thorough estimate of the wood decking, albeit plywood or older ledger boards. Any soft, wet or rotted wood needs to be replaced to create a solid base for your roofing structure. This is important because only when you have a solid base for your roofing structure will your shingles stay intact and only with a proper base will you get a warranty backed by the manufacturer.

Also, the roof deck needs to be inspected to make sure that it is attached to the roof rafters properly and nailed down in areas where maybe they have pulled out over time. Unfortunately, many roofing contractors do not check for missing nails during the removal old roofing material. They install new shingles without re-nailing the old wood decking and then after the new shingles are installed you might be impressed at the sight of the whole structure, but after several weeks you may see many bumps on your roof.  We re-nail any loose wood decking so that the roof is fully secured and laying flat.

A ventilation assessment will already have been performed long before the roofing process has begun.  If it was determined that sufficient intake and exhaust ventilation is present, nothing will change.  If additional intake or exhaust are required they will be added.  A well ventilated roof is a dry and mold free roof.

4 – Ice & Water and Synthetic Underlayment

Ice and water installation – The next step is installing the Ice and Water Shield, which is a special type of asphalt based self-adhesive roofing underlayment. Ice and water shield sticks to the wood decking, which seals around a nail as it penetrates it and prevents any water leaks.

Per the Massachusetts Building Code it must start at the gutter line and extend a minimum of 24” past the exterior wall of the home (see image below).  Beantown Home Improvements also installs an 18” strip of Ice and Water up all rake edges and along all roof penetrations (chimneys, pipe flanges, roof connections, skylights etc.).

Ice & Water and Synthetic Underlayment

Roofing underlayment installation – After ice and water is applied, the rest of the roof needs to be covered with some other form of underlayment to help shed any water that might get past the shingles.  Most roofers in an effort to save cost and be as competitive as possible use Felt Paper.  The black felt paper that most people are familiar with is an asphalt impregnated felt paper that is inexpensive.  Over time the felt paper breaks down and if it becomes wet it tends to stay wet for long periods of time.  So why do so many use it, it’s cheap.

At Beantown Home Improvements we’re not doing anything the cheap way.  We never skimp anywhere and only use high end materials such as Synthetic Underlayments, even on a less “important” structure like a shed.  Owens Corning Deck Defense is the premium underlayment that is breathable yet waterproof and what we use on all surfaces not covered already by Ice and Water.

roofing replacement Beantown

5 – Prepping The Roof Deck For Shingles

Drip Edge Installation – After the underlayments are down we install the widest F8 drip edge around the ENTIRE perimeter of the roof. Many simply install drip edge at the gutter line and not along the rake edges.  Drip edge is a piece of metal bent at the roof’s edge to prevent rain from getting underneath roofing material on all edges.

Remove old chimney Lead – the old lead around the chimneys some reuse, but we never do.  While Lead is wonderful because of how malleable it is, it can also tear easy during the stripping of the old shingles.  Beantown NEVER reuses the old lead.

Remove and replace all old pipe boots & vents – Beantown always replaces all of the old pipe boots around any stink pipes and installs new Broan vents that might be used to vent bathrooms or kitchen exhaust.

Note: If your bathroom vent is old, it may vent into your attic, which is no longer allowed due to moisture and mold concerns.  Beantown will extend this vent through the roof via a new Broan vent FREE of charge.


Install Starter Shingle – unlike the old way of roofing where a 3-tab shingle could be flipped around and used as a starter shingle, today’s architectural shingles are multi-dimensions and not flat.  As such, the manufacturer supplies us with an asphalt starter strip for the first course and should never be omitted.  Beantown even runs a starter shingle up the rake’s edges as the sticky asphalt tabs assist with holding the edge of the shingle down in high winds.

7 – New Roofing Shingle Installation

After the above steps are completed and the base is ready, we start laying out the new architectural asphalt shingles, working from the bottom up, followed by step and/or counter flashing, ridge vents, and ridge capping installation, as needed.  Beantown Home Improvements hurricane nails every shingle with a minimum of 6 nails per shingle, versus the 4 required by the building code.

We also hand nail all of our hip and ridge shingles with 3″ nails.  Some roofers use nail guns here to save time and this is where most homeowners will see a blow off as the nails were too short to begin with and never penetrated the wood sheeting.  Beantown hand nails all hip and ridge shingles.

8 – Site Cleanup

We clean our job sites continuously during the roofing process to maintain a safe work environment and protect your property.  We believe that we have to leave our job site cleaner than it had been before we came in.

Each roofing replacement project includes a meticulously performed, post-roofing estimate.  We want to make sure that your roof replacement is done correctly and that it meets with your complete satisfaction.

Beantown Home Improvements is proud to be a team of experienced roofers who are committed to helping you with your next roofing project. We’ll consult with you regarding the right roofing material for your home, install your roof with the care and the expertise you expect, and back it up with a comprehensive guarantee.

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