Ask Jack: I’m ready to replace my roof. Where do I start?

Some home renovations have to take years. Perhaps the most important thing is replacing your roof – it’s a huge job, so you want to make sure you’re doing it right.

The first step is to answer some important questions, says Jack of Heritage Home Hardware. To begin with, what type of roof suits the exterior and style of your home? What material would be better to use, given the time in which you live? How does the cost affect your choice?

Roof types

The two most common roofing materials are asphalt / fiberglass and metal. Each has different characteristics, as you will see below.

Asphalt / fiberglass shingles

These are the most popular shingles used in roofing projects and they are also the most affordable. They are easy to find too. If you have some experience with DIY projects, they can be installed relatively easily. This type of shingle has a synthetic fiberglass core that is sandwiched between two layers of asphalt.

Asphalt monoblocks are durable and easy to maintain and repair. They are also light. Coated with ceramic granules for UV protection, they are an affordable roofing option in terms of materials and installation. They are known to give your finished roof a textured look and you can find them in a variety of colors and styles.

The most common style, which is also the most affordable, is the three-legged asphalt shingle made in a single thin layer. For thicker shingles with a more textured appearance, look for laminate or architectural versions. They can also closely resemble wood or slate.

Metal roof

Metal shingles or panels are known for their strength. While durable, they are also lightweight, durable, and require minimal maintenance. They are resistant to fire, insects, rot and mildew and are ideal for winter climates because they easily shed water and snow.

The most popular types of metal roofs are steel and aluminum. These are energy efficient because they reflect heat; their purchase may even entitle you to a tax credit. Because metal roofs contain recycled materials, they are an environmentally friendly option. Clean and modern in appearance, metal roofing can be quite chameleon, mimicking the textured look of wood, clay, slate and more.

Be sure to factor in the slope (also known as the slope) of your roof, recommends Jack. The slope of your roof can affect the cost of the project, as well as the type of material used. If you have a low or relatively flat roof, it will need to be covered with seamless materials to prevent water from pooling and causing a leak.

Tools and materials

Of course, you will also need tools to install your new roof. Some will help with the preparation, others with the installation itself.

Shingle / Roof Chippers

These help you remove existing shingles and nails easily and efficiently, without damaging the roof.

Synthetic underlay

This is a water or water resistant weather barrier that is installed directly to the roof deck. It works as a shield to keep ice and water out. It is lighter than a felt underlay, so it adds less weight to the roof. It is also resistant to tears, creases, and fungal growth.

Felt underlay

This is an older type of material used for the roofing underlayment. It is water resistant, but not waterproof. Easy to install, it is inexpensive and comes in two thicknesses (15 lbs and 30 lbs). Be careful, however, over time the volatiles will dissipate, and it can absorb more moisture and become more brittle.

Roofing nails

Roofing nails come in different sizes and are made from different materials, depending on the type of roof you have. The right nails are needed when installing shingles, attaching underlayment, and attaching roof flashing.

Flashing / drip edge

Flashings and drip edges are sheets of metal that evacuate water, extending the life of your roof. It is essential in certain areas, such as vents and chimneys. The drip edge directs water away from the fascia and into the gutter; it also helps make your roof look more finished.

Make sure that before purchasing any of your roofing materials you’ve determined how much you’ll need, suggests Jack. Roofing materials are generally sold in “squares”, with 100 ft² = 1 square in terms of roofing. Simply measure your roof in square feet and have the store staff do the math for you. A typical bundle of shingles covers 32 sq. Ft., Which is equivalent to one sheet of roof covering (plywood). It’s also a good idea, he suggests, to add 10 to 15 percent more material, just to allow for waste.


For a trouble-free roof replacement, you will also need a few accessories. Don’t leave them outside your budget.


You will need to install gutters along the edges of your roof to catch the rain. They are essential because they help protect your walls from mold and rot.

Roof vents

Roof vents perform a number of valuable functions. They help ventilate the air in your attic, which helps regulate temperature throughout the house. They also regulate condensation, which can help extend the life of your shingles.


Sealants are another necessary item. They act as an important protective barrier to extend the life of your roof.

Roof heating cables

Installing heating cables can help prevent snow and ice from building up on your roof. They heat the roof, which melts snow and ice which would otherwise become quite heavy, cause damage or fall and cause injury.

Small repairs

It is quite possible that your roof is doing well overall and just needs a little TLC. Keep in mind that you can use the materials and accessories listed above to make minor repairs to the roof or to replace individual parts as well.

One final tip from Jack: repairing or replacing your roof requires handling a number of raw materials. Be sure to wear safety gloves and safety glasses at all times throughout the process.

You can undertake large projects such as roof replacement and repair yourself, provided you have all the correct information, tools and materials. There’s no reason you can’t DIY a stylish and functional roof that will last for years to come, thanks to the wide selection of roofing products available at Heritage Home Hardware.

For more information, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.

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