Replacing your roof is a big project that you’ll probably only do once every 20-30 years. So when it comes time to install a new roof, one of the biggest questions homeowners have is “how long will this take?”
The timeframe for a roof replacement can vary quite a bit based on factors like the size and complexity of your roof. But generally, you can expect the roof replacement process to take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Knowing what goes into a roof replacement and typical timeframes can help you plan accordingly, so you know what to expect on the big day. Keep reading to get a better idea of the roof replacement timeline.
What Affects How Long a New Roof Installation Takes?
Many different factors impact how long your roof replacement will take:
- Size of your roof – Larger roofs take longer. A simple 1,500 sq ft ranch-style home will be much quicker than a large 2-story house.
- Roof complexity – Are there multiple gables, dormers, skylights etc? Complex roofs take more time.
- Roof accessibility – How easy is it to access your whole roof? Steep pitches or 3+ stories are harder to work on.
- Amount of repairs needed – Rotten wood and other repairs will add time.
- Roofing material – Asphalt shingles are faster than cedar shakes, slate, metal etc.
- Weather conditions – Rain or high heat can delay projects.
- Crew size – More roofers can get the job done faster.
- Scope of work – A full tear-off and replacing roof sheathing will take longer than just overlaying new shingles.
How Long Does It Take To Replace a Shingle Roof?
For a straightforward asphalt shingle roof replacement on a simple ranch-style home, the typical timeframe is:
- 1-2 days for tear-off
- 1-2 days for replacing any rotten or damaged roof sheathing
- 1 day for putting down new underlayment
- 1-2 days for installing new asphalt shingles
So you can expect a new shingle roof installation on a average-sized home to take anywhere from 3-5 days with a 3-4 person crew.
Larger or more complex homes may take 5-7 business days, or sometimes longer if there are many repairs needed underneath.
What’s Involved in Replacing a Roof?
To give you an idea of why roof replacements take several days, here’s an overview of the typical process:
- Day 1 – Tear-off: The roofing crew removes all old shingles, felt paper, nails and debris. Just tearing off shingles can take 1-2 full days depending on roof size.
- Day 2 – Replace rotten decking: After tear-off, the roof deck is inspected for water damage or rotting. Any bad areas need to be cut out and replaced with new roof sheathing.
- Day 3 – Add underlayment: A protective roofing underlayment or felt is rolled out over the entire roof deck before new shingles go on.
- Day 4 – Install starter shingles: Starter strips are installed along the eaves to support the first row of shingles.
- Day 5 – Install new shingles: The roofing crew will generally start at the bottom of the roof and work their way up, installing each new row of asphalt shingles.
- Day 6 – Ridge caps & flashing: The peak ridges of the roof and flashing around vents are done last.
- Cleanup: The roofers make sure the yard and home exterior are cleaned up from any nails and debris.
As you can see, there are many time-consuming steps involved in a roof replacement, which is why you need to plan for the project to take several days at minimum.
How Long Does It Take to Replace Other Roof Types?
If you don’t have an asphalt shingle roof, the timeline for replacing your roof may be different. Here are estimates for other common roofing materials:
- Metal roof: 5-7 days
- Flat roof: 2-3 days
- Tile roof: 4-6 days
- Slate roof: 6-8 days
- Cedar shake roof: 5-7 days
The more complex the roofline and material, the longer the installation will take. Many roofing projects take a full week or more to complete with tear-off, repairs, new underlayment and installation of new roofing materials.
Factors That Can Delay a Roof Replacement Project
While the typical timeframe for replacing a roof is 3-7 business days, there are many variables that can add time to the project:
- Bad weather – Heavy rain or high winds will cause delays. Roofing can’t be done in wet conditions.
- Repairs taking longer than expected – Rotten wood, chimney repairs, etc.
- Delivery delays – If new shingles or materials are backordered.
- Scope changes – Homeowner decides to upgrade to more premium roofing materials.
- Permit approval – If permits get held up longer than expected.
- Crew availability – Roofers get pulled away to emergency repairs elsewhere.
- Challenging access – High roofs or steep slopes making the work more difficult.
While delays are common, a reputable roofing contractor will keep you updated on schedule changes and do their best to minimize disruptions.
The Best Way to Know? Ask Your Roofer
While these timeframes give you a general idea of how long to expect for a new roof installation, the best way to know for sure is to ask your roofing contractor:
- How many days will the project take?
- How many crew members will be working on it?
- What’s your plan if weather causes delays?
- How soon could you start the work?
They’ll be able to give you a more accurate timeline for your specific roof replacement project after evaluating your home and roof.
Just remember there are many variables when it comes to roof replacement timelines. Build some buffer room into your schedule in case extra repairs are needed or weather causes delays. And be patient – good roofing work takes time, but the finished product will last you decades!
Key Takeaways on Roof Replacement Timelines
- For most asphalt shingle roofs, expect 3-5 days for tear-off and installing new shingles.
- More complex roofs with higher pitches, dormers etc can take 5-7+ days.
- Non-shingle roofs like metal, tile or slate take longer, around 5-8 days on average.
- Weather delays, damaged sheathing repairs or chimney work can add time.
- Ask your roofer for a specific timeline tailored to your roof project.
- Build some buffer into your schedule in case extra time is needed.
Replacing your roof is a big, important project so make sure your roofing contractor keeps you informed on timelines. With proper planning and realistic expectations on duration, your roof replacement experience will go smoothly!