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How Long Will My Roof Replacement or Repair Take?

August 25, 2021 | 7 min. read

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Home improvement isn’t as easy as HGTV makes it look. The houses that are so effortlessly designed on television make us so easily forget how many factors go into the decisions we make. What color of light switches will I buy? Ceiling fans don’t come with the house? How long will a roof replacement take?

As a homeowner, projects like these are never easy to tackle. It can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t find easily accessible information to assist you with decisions concerning your costly investment in your home. With nine years in the roofing industry, Rescue My Roof has learned a thing or two. 

Through our experience serving the Milwaukee area, we have noted all major areas of concern about the time it takes to complete a roof replacement or repair and compiled them into an easy-to-understand list to simplify the process for you. 

Here is a guide designed to teach you about the six factors that will impact the time taken to complete your roof replacement or repair, so you can accurately estimate and plan how long the process will be.

In this article:

  1. Specific roofing services
  2. Roofing materials
  3. Square footage
  4. Delays
  5. Roof styles
  6. Historical Properties 

Roof Replacements vs. Repairs

Depending on the service you need, the time is going to vary. It is very important to consider the time necessary to determine what service you need for your project timeline. If you have noticed sagging or leaking, you may be correct in the assumption that it’s time for a total roof replacement. But hiding underneath those loose shingles that you thought just required a repair could be a bigger problem that will require more time.

 Request a contractor to come out and inspect your home. During the 45-60 minutes they spend with you, they will inspect your roof and interior roofline to determine the services you truly need. Then, you can continue to make decisions based on these factors: A complete tear-off, a layover, and repairs.

A Total Roof Replacement

Roofer builder worker uses a hammer for installing roofing shingles.

Rotted wood, loose shingles, and water damage galore; the inspector came to your home and delivered the bad news that you need to do a total roof replacement. Or maybe your insurance determined your roof is too old and needed an update. Regardless, you are now going to have to plan an extensive project around your busy schedule.

A roof consists of a few major components: the original structure, decking, the underlayment, flashing, and then a layer of shingles or tiles to tie it up into a brand new, shiny roof. To install all of these layers will take time, but depending on the finishing tile or shingles you choose (which we will discuss in the next section), a roof can be installed in anywhere from two days- two weeks

A Layover Roof

Perhaps your roof is perfectly fine (hooray!) but it just doesn’t have that sparkle or curb appeal that you’re looking for. Why not give it a cosmetic update? 

A layover is a type of roofing update where you lay new shingles over the existing shingles. Your roofing company won’t have to completely tear everything off, they will just add a new layer on top of the existing roof. 

This is ideal if, again, you are just looking for that cosmetic update. But it comes with a catch. For most roofs, you don’t want to go above two layers. So if the previous homeowner already did a layover roof, you may be out of luck. 

Additionally, layover roofs only work with certain types of tiles. Traditional tiles can be laid over other traditional tiles. If you have a different style of shingles on your roof, you will have to tear them off and start over. 

If a layover sounds like the right path for you, you’re in luck! A layover typically only takes 1 day to complete. You will have the roof of your HGTV dreams in no time. 

Roof Repairs

Roof repairs are common, especially if you live in an area prone to severe storms and wind. Occasionally, you will notice loose shingles, hail damage, or water damage that will need to be repaired. 

Replacement of Damaged/Missing Shingles

Loose shingles can be caused by a myriad of things: hail, wind, rain, poor workmanship, or all of the above. Depending on how many shingles are loose, it is a fix that may only take a few hours. A repairman will come to your home, remove the old shingles, and fit shingles into the existing roof pattern. 

If 30% or more of the roof is covered in loose shingles, it may be time to reevaluate. It could be more cost-effective to do a roof replacement instead. Make sure to communicate with your repairman to determine the next steps. 

Repairing and Replacing Chimney Flashing

Unfortunately, chimney flashing is more complicated than your average “loose shingles” job. A repairman will have to remove shingles closest to the chimney, the damaged flashing, and may have to remove some of the chimney siding as well. As this is a more complex job, it will take up to a day to finish. 

Leaks and Water Damage

Water damage in particular can be pretty frustrating. Even after the initial leak is fixed, there may be the aftermath of rotting wood that you will have to deal with, which may require a total roof replacement.

But let’s stick with the happy (and less expensive) thoughts. The key to planning for fixing a leak is to know where the source of the water is coming from. A leak could take as little as 20 minutes to fix, but finding the source could be time-consuming. Talk with your repair person to help them best identify the source as quickly as possible.

Roof Replacement Materials: Shingles, Ventilation, Waterproofing, and More

Did you know that there are 18 different types of shingles? And all of them will have varying installation times? As I said, HGTV makes it look easy. If you have an ideal timetable for how long the project should take, you should consider what shingle and tile you choose for your roof.  

Here are the four most common roof shingles and tiles:

Wooden shingles: 3-4 days

Slate shingles: 6-7 days

Asphalt shingles: 1-2 days

Concrete shingles: 8-9 days

There are other options, such as solar shingles, copper roofing, and cedarwood shake. They are not as common and are more complicated to install. If you are on a strict deadline to complete your roof, you may want to stay with the traditional asphalt shingle. If you are open to the project taking longer and want a different aesthetic for your home, you may choose to go with another style. You are the expert of your own life and home, so chose what works best for your schedule. 

Square Footage

If you have a looming deadline to meet or a busy schedule up ahead and are concerned, you may have to take into account the size of your roof. While for many this isn’t a deciding factor, it all depends on what goals you are trying to meet.

If you own an average roof of approximately 1600-3000 square feet- you can expect it to take 1-2 days without any additional delays. Roofs any bigger may take an additional day. It is not a big difference, but to some, it might make or break the project. Thoroughly discuss the potential possibilities of what could be adjusted in the project to make the deadline with your contractor. It may involve changing roofing materials, or paying more for additional labor. Whatever the solution may be, the key to finding it is communication.

Weather and Roofing Conditions that will Impact the Timeline of your Roof Replacement

The word every homeowner hates to hear. Unfortunately, while contractors try to avoid any delays possible, things like weather and roof conditions may stall the installation process. 

Weather, particularly rain and snow, will stall the process. Any water can damage the roof decking, and installing anything over wet wood goes against building codes. 

Additionally, materials may not adhere properly to the roof if the surface is slick. It’s best to wait until the rain clears to ensure your roof is in the best condition possible.

Roofing conditions can also cause a delay. We may only see the shingles on top, but there are many layers of waterproofing, ventilation, and decking. If the wood underneath it all is rotted, then it may take an additional day to complete the installation. 

It is also important to note that in the event there is rotted wood, this is the only type of delay that will cost you more money as there will be costs associated with additional labor and materials. This will be the only time the price may be changed after the contractor has placed a bid. 

How Roof Complexity Impact a Roof Replacement 

Showcases a complex roof

When in doubt, think: the steeper the roof, the more time they may need.

When roofs are too steep to walk across or safely store tools on without them sliding off, the job will require additional safety measures. Additional scaffolding, harnesses, and ladders may be used to complete the installation safely. This will acquire additional time, potentially up to a day

The safety measures are important to the crew and the protection of your home- so they are unavoidable. If you are concerned with meeting a deadline, this is not the area to compromise in. Potentially look to the materials section to determine if a change could be made. 

Historical Properties Are More Complex- and Here’s Why

Historic Property

Historical homes are beautiful, but there are measures in place to make sure they remain that way. If your home is listed as a historical landmark there will be guidelines in place from your local historical society to make sure your home retains its status. 

Obtaining this information and making sure all of the materials and processes for roofing installation are approved adds an additional step to the process. However, this action takes place during the planning phase, so it will not affect the timeline of your roof after the installation has begun. 

It will impact the timeline because of the material of the shingles. Many homes prior to the 19th century used wooden, clay, metal, or slate tiles. Installation of these can range anywhere from 3-7 days without any other delays, adding time to the average 2 days it takes to install asphalt tiles.

If you are looking for roofing services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and are unsure if your home has historical protection, you can check out the list of historic properties here. If you live outside of this area, you can always contact your county clerk. 

So, How Long Will My Rook Replacement Take?

As you can probably tell, the answer is a little more complex than a simple “2 days”. 

There is a range of factors that can impact the timeline of your roofing project, and some of them may surprise you after the installation starts. Weather, materials, delays, steepness, and square footage are all factors to consider when you are trying to map out a timeline for your roofing project. While the average home may take 1-2 days, you will want to talk with a contractor to correctly determine how all of your decisions will impact the timeline. 

Now,  go forth and plan your roofing adventure! Use our “Contact Us” page for any additional questions, or visit the articles below to learn more about the roof replacement process.