close up of roof on a home
WRITTEN BY The Embry's Team 7 minutes READ

Replacing a roof is one of the most significant projects a homeowner can undertake. It demands precision, patience, and a solid understanding of the tools and processes involved. Whether you’re looking to save on labor costs, enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, or simply love tackling big projects, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about DIY roof replacement, including:

  • Understanding roof replacement
  • Tools and materials you’ll need
  • Preparing for the job
  • The 9 step roof replacement process
  • Tips for a successful roof replacement
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • When to call a professional

๐Ÿค” Understanding Roof Replacement

construction materials around a home for DIY roof replacement

Before diving into the nuts and bolts of roof replacement, it’s essential to understand why this task is crucial. A roof protects your home from the elements, providing insulation and maintaining structural integrity. Over time, roofs can deteriorate due to weather, age, or damage, necessitating replacement.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Having the right tools and materials is paramount to the success of your roofing project. Here’s a comprehensive list:

Essential Tools

  1. Hammer: For nailing down shingles and removing old roofing.
  2. Roofing Nails: Specially designed nails that hold shingles securely.
  3. Utility Knife: To cut shingles and underlayment.
  4. Pry Bar: Useful for removing old shingles and nails.
  5. Chalk Line: Ensures straight lines when laying shingles.
  6. Tape Measure: For precise measurements.
  7. Roofing Shovel: Helps in removing old shingles quickly.
  8. Tin Snips: For cutting metal flashing.
  9. Caulking Gun: For applying roofing cement.
  10. Cordless Drill: For screwing in roof deck screws if necessary.
  11. Ladder: Ensure it’s stable and long enough to reach your roof comfortably.
  12. Safety Harness and Rope: Crucial for preventing falls.
  13. Roofing Hatchet: A dual-purpose tool for cutting shingles and driving nails.
  14. Broom or Blower: To clean the roof surface before laying new shingles.


  1. Shingles: Choose between asphalt, wood, metal, or composite shingles.
  2. Underlayment: A protective layer that goes under the shingles, typically made of felt or synthetic material.
  3. Drip Edge: Metal flashing installed at the edges of the roof.
  4. Flashing: Used around chimneys, vents, and other protrusions to prevent water leaks.
  5. Roofing Cement: Used to seal flashing and minor leaks.
  6. Ice and Water Shield: A self-adhering membrane to protect vulnerable areas from ice and water damage.
  7. Roofing Nails: Ensure they’re the appropriate length for your shingles.
  8. Ventilation: Ridge vents, soffit vents, or other ventilation systems to prevent heat and moisture buildup.
  9. Starter Strips: Placed at the eaves to help shingles adhere.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Preparing for the Job

Safety First

Safety cannot be overstated in a roofing project. Ensure you have:

  • A sturdy ladder and someone to hold it steady.
  • Non-slip footwear.
  • A safety harness with a rope tied to a secure anchor point.
  • Protective gloves and eye protection.

Weather Conditions

Choose a period with dry, mild weather. Avoid extreme heat or cold, as these conditions can affect the materials and your comfort and safety.

Evaluate the Roof

Inspect your roof thoroughly to determine the extent of damage and the materials required. Check for:

  • Missing or damaged shingles.
  • Sagging areas.
  • Leaks or water stains inside your home.
  • Moss or algae growth.

๐Ÿ  The 9 Step Roof Replacement Process

man replacing roof

For homeowners who are looking to tackle roof replacement on their own, Embry’s Roofing offers a comprehensive guide that empowers you with the knowledge and steps necessary for success. Our DIY 9 Step Roof Replacement Process is designed to make this daunting task manageable and achievable, ensuring you can enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

1. Remove the Old Shingles

Start by removing the old shingles. Begin at the top and work your way down, using a roofing shovel or pry bar. This process involves removing the nails and prying up the shingles. Be careful to avoid damaging the roof deck.

2. Inspect and Repair the Roof Deck

Once the shingles are removed, inspect the roof deck for any damage. Look for:

  • Rotten or soft spots.
  • Holes or gaps.
  • Loose or protruding nails.

Replace any damaged sections with new plywood. Secure any loose nails and ensure the deck is clean and dry before proceeding.

3. Install the Underlayment

The underlayment provides an extra layer of protection against water infiltration. Roll it out horizontally, starting at the bottom edge of the roof. Overlap each row by about 6 inches and secure it with roofing nails.

For additional protection, especially in areas prone to ice dams, install an ice and water shield along the eaves.

4. Install the Drip Edge

The drip edge prevents water from seeping under the shingles and causing damage. Install it along the eaves first, followed by the rakes (sides of the roof). Secure it with roofing nails.

5. Lay the Starter Strips

Starter strips help to adhere the first row of shingles and provide additional protection against water infiltration. Lay them along the eaves and secure them with roofing nails.

6. Lay the Shingles

Starting at the bottom edge of the roof, begin laying the shingles. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for spacing and overlap. Use a chalk line to ensure each row is straight.

Secure each shingle with roofing nails, placing the nails about 1 inch above the cutout and about 1 inch in from each side. Continue laying shingles, working your way up the roof.

7. Install the Flashing

Flashing is critical in preventing leaks around chimneys, vents, and other roof protrusions. Install flashing around these areas and secure it with roofing nails. Apply roofing cement to seal the edges and ensure a watertight seal.

8. Install the Ridge Vent and Shingles

Proper ventilation is crucial for preventing heat and moisture buildup in your attic. Install a ridge vent along the peak of the roof. Then, install the ridge shingles over the vent, ensuring they’re properly secured and sealed.

9. Final Inspection and Clean-Up

Once all the shingles are laid, conduct a thorough inspection. Check for:

  • Proper alignment of shingles.
  • Secure and properly sealed flashing.
  • Any missing nails or gaps.

Clean up the site by removing any debris, nails, or old shingles. Use a magnet to pick up stray nails from the ground.

๐Ÿ’ก Tips for a Successful Roof Replacement

  • Take Your Time: Rushing can lead to mistakes. Work methodically and take breaks as needed.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your tools and materials organized to avoid unnecessary trips up and down the ladder.
  • Double-Check Measurements: Accurate measurements are crucial for a seamless fit.
  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions: Adhere to the guidelines provided with your shingles and underlayment for the best results.
  • Mind the Weather: Avoid working in wet or windy conditions. Be mindful of temperature extremes that can affect roofing materials.

๐Ÿšซ Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Incorrect Nailing: Ensure nails are driven straight and are not over- or under-driven.
  • Poor Ventilation: Lack of proper ventilation can lead to moisture problems and reduce the lifespan of your roof.
  • Ignoring Safety: Always use a safety harness and secure your ladder. Never compromise on safety measures.
  • Skipping Underlayment: The underlayment is crucial for protecting against water infiltration. Don’t skip it.

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ”ง When to Call a Professional

While a DIY roof replacement can be rewarding, some situations warrant professional intervention:

  • Complex Roof Designs: If your roof has multiple peaks, valleys, or complex angles, a professional may be better equipped to handle the intricacies.
  • Severe Damage: If the roof deck is extensively damaged or there’s significant structural damage, professional expertise is essential.
  • Time Constraints: If you’re under a tight deadline, hiring professionals can expedite the process.
  • Safety Concerns: If you feel unsafe at any point, don’t hesitate to call in a professional.

๐Ÿ™Œ Trust Embry’s Roofing for Your Next Roof Replacement: Quality, Safety, and Durability Guaranteed

A roof replacement is a challenging yet rewarding project, but when it comes to ensuring quality and safety, trust the experts at Embry’s Roofing. Our team brings extensive experience, top-notch tools, and premium materials to every job, ensuring a durable and aesthetically pleasing roof that protects your home for years to come. We prioritize safety and follow best practices, allowing you to rest easy knowing your home is in capable hands. Whether it’s your first major home improvement or just another upgrade, choose Embry’s Roofing for a hassle-free experience. Contact us today for a consultation!

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