How Long Does a Typical Roof Install Take and Tips to Avoid the Worst Mistakes

published on 06 October 2022
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What You Need to Do Prior to the Installation of New Roofing

So want to know how long a typical roof install takes? Short answer, it typically takes around 1-3 days to install a roof, depending on the size of the roof and what’s needed. Not so bad huh, many homeowners worry that installing that new roof will take longer than it really does. That’s because homeowners are often used too long and costly home remodels or repairs that run over budget. Keep in mind that installing skylights on the roof or installation of a new gutter system can lengthen the time your contractor will need to complete the work. Likewise, how to install a skylight on a metal roof differs from how to install a skylight on a shingled roof. The good news is that while a new roof is an enormous project, it is also a relatively simple one that your builder has done many times before. Straightforward if you are dealing with an experienced roofing professional who has dealt with all obstacles to the completion of the job. But before jumping out of your chair and dialing the nearest roofer and committing to a major home repair or replacement, other important factors must be considered. Let’s discuss the best way to prepare for a new roof and prepare your home for the crew that will install it.

Prepare Your Family - Think About Pets and Children

While staying out of potential dangerous zones of your home during the construction or repair of a new roof might seem like common sense to you, some members of your home might not even realize such dangers exist. Take the time to explain to everyone in your house that certain areas of the house will be a “no go” zone while the crews are doing work in your home. Areas to avoid include the upper levels of the house and certain areas of the yard and driveway. It’s critical to steer clear as they will fill the yard with dangerous debris such as nails, broken pieces of wood, and old shingles, all of which can cause serious injury to a pet’s paws or small children. In addition, one accidental bump into a ladder could mean a trip to the hospital for the crew working above. It’s often best to move most of the family to friends, family or neighbors as much as possible during the work.

You will probably want to keep one member of the house present in case there are questions the roofers have, so someone can answer immediately to keep the work flowing. Just be prepared for loud noises and a strong possibility of disturbances to normal sleeping routines. This is because roofers typically like to begin early and stay late to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Moving Your Vehicles

Offering the work crews the closest most accessible location at the home gives you several benefits and makes for efficient and happy contractors. First, you don’t want your vehicle to get hit by the falling debris that accompanies a roofing job. Second, the crew will need constant access to vehicles for tools, supplies, water and food breaks, along with the need to run to the nearest roofing section of Home Depot in case something they need didn’t make it to the job site. It’s also a good idea to keep the doors of your garage or shed closed to avoid having additional cleanup of dust and debris.

Use Tarps and Blankets to Cover Belongings in the Attic

While most of the junk we end up storing in the attic isn’t on our priority list, keeping cherished family heirlooms or photo books safe should be. The constant pounding on the roof and workers walking around will undoubtedly knock down dust and dirt onto whatever is directly beneath it. In some cases you might have upper rooms of the house you wish to secure from dirt as well. Old blankets, sheets, or drop clothes make efficient covers of valuables during a roofing job.

To the Windows to the Walls

No, it’s not a song from your college days. It’s a reminder to secure valuables that are at risk of crashing because of the vibrations that will happen in your home. Paying careful attention to the upper floors of your home, carefully go around and remove anything on the walls that isn’t screwed in. Think about tall shelves that might have knick-knacks that are at risk of a tumble from wall vibrations. Framed pictures should be taken down and you might even consider removing chandeliers and other decorative light fixtures.

For the Love of God, Move the Grill!

Before the roofing work even begins, you will want to ensure that deck and patio furniture have been placed in a garage or shed. If you’re lacking in storage or your garage is too full of junk (looking at you, grandpa John), move your items to the furthest point in the yard away from the work. And unless you want your expensive Big Green Egg to go Humpty Dumpty, make sure grills and grill equipment are moved away from the base of the house. There is nothing worse than having to replace a perfectly good grill after shelling out your hard earned money for a new roof. Then again, a beautiful new roof and shiny new grill has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Mow the Lawn or Be Prepared to Step on Old Shingles and Roofing Nails

Cutting the grass shorter than usual will help roofing contractors identify debris that may have fallen during the cleanup stage. Even though most roofers will use drop clothes, it’s a good idea to make their job as easy as possible. The last thing you want is to step on a rusty roofing nail that was left in your yard under tall grass. It also is a good idea to trim large trees or bushes that are near the base of the house that you may have been putting off. Finally, it should go without saying if there are trees or branches in the roof's vicinity, cut those back as well to make the roofing area clear and visible.

Does Your Roof Have Old Antennas or Satellite Dishes?

If you have old unused satellite dishes or antennas on your roof, let the contractor know so they can remove them. Most will be happy to take them away with the rest of the old roofing they are disposing of. If you have satellite dishes or antennas in use, let them know that too. It is also a good idea to contact your cable or satellite company and ask the best way to handle a roof repair. They may have suggestions or be willing to send someone out to help things go smoothly. We have even heard of customers getting upgraded satellite dishes from cable companies free of charge. It never hurts to ask.

It is also a good idea to talk to your roofer and see if they will reuse old roof vents or if there is additional cost to install a new roof vent. The cost to install roof vents may not be that great, but it may extend the life of your new roofing and help lower cooling costs during the height of the summer heat.

Identify the Best Outlets for Your Roofer

Chances are that whatever roofing company you hire will want to know if there are any exterior outlets they can use during the roof replacement or repair. If you do not have any easily accessible outlets outdoors, perhaps one from the garage could work? Otherwise you have to crack a window and let the contractor run extension cords from inside the house, which of course can sometimes be a hassle for everyone involved.

Remember to Tell Your Neighbors

While it might not seem like a big deal, giving your neighbors the heads up about additional traffic and noise coming from your property is a nice thing to do. It allows your neighbors the opportunity to adjust their schedule to accommodate the working being done. Heck, maybe they will let you know they were thinking about getting some roofing work too and you guys can work out a combo deal! At the very least, you will look like a courteous neighbor, at least until you throw that next loud party to show off your roof to your friends.

Figure Out What Exits You May Have to Use During the Roofing Work

Once the roof installers have arrived, ask them what doors will be accessible for entering and exiting the house. Leave tape or posted notes on the inside and outside of the other doors during the work to help remind less attentive family members not to use those doors. While you’re at it, communicate with your roofing company before, during and after the process to help ensure that everyone agrees, and the work goes as smoothly as possible. Asking how to install a new metal roof versus a simple roof shingles install might open your eyes to work and materials needed.

Final Words on Your New Roof

Armed with these suggestions, you have created the easiest imaginable situation for both your roofer and your family. If you take care of the pre-roofing checklist above, you have done everything in your power to allow the work to be completed quickly and painlessly. How long a roofing install takes depends on the skills and speed of the roofers you hired, but if you have done the above and have an average size house in most cases, they can complete it within 3-4 days at the latest.

The best news is that once a new roof is put on it's a great time to get a solar quote and see if you can save money on your electric bill. Sometimes the cost of a new roof and a rooftop solar system can both be financed for LESS money then you pay each month in electric to the utility company!

Let's discuss your energy goals and find out if solar makes sense for you with a short virtual meeting.


  • Solar for $0 down
  • Save up to 50% on your energy bills
  • Increase your home value
  • Get clean renewable energy
  • Get a 30-year warranty
  • Customized proposal and best value

Let's talk about going solar!

Jon Nelsen | Solar Consultant


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