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How Long Does It Take to Replace a Roof?

April 13, 2023

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One common question from homeowners is, how long does it take to replace a roof? It’s no wonder they might ask, as roof replacement is often expensive and inconvenient. However, a strong roof overhead is vital! Roofs protect a home against water damage while providing added insulation. A roof in good repair also keeps out pests and protects a structure against trapped humidity.

There is no “one size fits all” answer about roof replacement timelines. Obviously, your home’s size and a roofer’s availability affect this process. However, you might consider some details about replacement projects and how long they take on average. Then, you can discuss your home’s reroofing needs and your budget with a repair contractor near you.

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What Affects How Long It Takes to Replace a Roof?

Check out some factors that often affect how long it takes to replace a roof. This can help you better understand why your contractor might offer a specific timeline for your property's roof replacement!


A reputable roof repair contractor starts every job with a thorough property inspection. Note, that’s a property inspection, not just a roof inspection! Many contractors will ask to see inside the home so they can check for signs of water leaks.

Also, they might check the home’s gutters and the lawn next to the home. If they spot shingle granules or nails in those areas, these can signal needed fixes. In turn, that inspection might take several hours and not just a few minutes!

Measuring and ordering

A roof repair contractor typically takes precise measurements of the roof before preparing a quote. The roof’s size determines how much material the contractor needs for replacement, so they can’t prepare a quote without measuring.

Also, a contractor might take into account dormers, slopes, and obstructions. Many contractors charge more for sloped roofs that require added fasteners. They might also increase their fees for having to work around unusual obstructions such as dormers, satellite dishes, and so on. Consequently, measuring a roof isn’t always a quick job!

Additionally, note that roofers often order materials new from a manufacturer, versus using materials in a warehouse. In many cases, materials degrade over time. In turn, shingles or tiles that have been sitting around for months aren’t typically as durable as new ones! Ordering new materials then ensures a reliable, durable roof overhead.

However, ordering new materials means that your roofer needs to schedule the installation accordingly. If those materials won’t arrive for a week or two, the roofer needs to wait that long before working.

Preparation and permits

While waiting for your materials to arrive, your roofer might suggest some prep work for your property. Preparation typically includes cleaning, to keep dirt and dust from getting inside the home during reroofing.

Also, a roofer might need to pull a permit for your roofing project. This step depends on local building codes and the project’s extent. For instance, a roofer might need a permit for a full tear-off or to install new roofing over existing materials. Those permits might also take some days to obtain.

Do You Need to Remove Old Roof Materials Before Roof Replacement?

If a roofing contractor needs to remove existing materials, this usually takes 1-3 days. This timeline depends on your property’s size, the existing roofing materials, their crew size, and so on.

However, a roofer might not need to remove materials for every project. What determines if they can install new materials, like asphalt shingles, over existing shingles or tiles? First, local building codes allow only so many roofing layers on a home. Second, a roofer must determine if existing materials provide a solid foundation for new shingles or tiles.

Also, your roofer will consider the roofing material’s weight. For instance, they might not recommend adding layer after layer of heavy shingles. On the other hand, lightweight metal might not add undue stress to the home.


how long does it take to replace a roof

How Long Does the Roof Replacement Process Take

Once your materials arrive and the roof is prepped, it’s time for installation! If your roofing contractors need to remove existing materials, this can take a full day or longer. Your roofer first needs to pull up existing shingles or tiles, dislodging nails and other connectors.

Also, your roofing company might need to remove and replace the roof’s underlayment and decking. The underlayment sits underneath the shingles or tiles, providing insulation while repelling water. A roof’s decking attaches to rafters and joists, creating the roof’s foundation. Removing all these materials might take up to 3 days or longer.

Installing new decking and underlayment might require another 1-3 days. Once installed, the roofer and crew then install shingles or tiles and the roof’s flashing. Flashing refers to metal panels that sit between the edges of materials and various obstructions. This flashing creates a trench or channel that keeps water out of those nooks and crannies!

Additionally, your roofer might replace gaskets around roof vents. These gaskets also provide a watertight surface around those vents. Roofers might also replace the vents themselves and make repairs to cracked chimney stacks.

Dormers and other obstructions slow down your roofer’s progress, adding to your roof installation timeline! A roofer usually needs to cut and trim more roofing materials to work them around these obstructions. In turn, the more complicated a roof’s surface, the more work for a roofer and the longer your installation project takes.

Timeline for Inspection and Cleanup After a Roof Installation

After roof installation, your roofer might need to schedule a final inspection. In most cases, they will schedule this ahead of time, so they avoid delays. Most inspectors only need a few hours to perform their inspection and release the permit.

Also, a roofer and his or her crew should perform a thorough cleanup after roofing installation. Cleanup doesn’t necessarily mean raking a yard, but they should retrieve as much debris as possible. Nails and other items often lost during a roof installation risk injury to children and pets. They can also damage lawnmowers and other lawncare equipment!

Your roofing contractor should also have a dumpster rental company remove that debris. They are also responsible for a portable toilet rental and removal! In turn, your property should be neat and tidy once the roofers leave. The cleanup process shouldn’t take more than a full day to complete.

What Else Affects a Roof Replacement Project Timeline?

The above information covers some general factors when it comes to a roof installation timeline. However, there are many other details that can affect how quickly a roofer might finish the project! Check out a few of those here:


Weather conditions don’t need to be perfectly dry and sunny for a roof installation. However, heavy rain and high winds can make work difficult if not impossible.

Also, a roofer needs to consider the threat of lightning strikes when working on a roof! A roofer might also avoid working in extreme heat or high humidity, to ensure a crew’s health and safety.


Rarely can a roofer install a new roof without help! In turn, local labor markets affect a roofing timeline, as a worker shortage can put your project off for weeks. Your chosen contractor might simply need to wait until qualified workers finish other projects and become available.

On the other hand, an abundance of workers can shorten that timeline! Roofers know that the more projects they take on, the more money they make. Consequently, they might take advantage of worker availability and hire a larger crew. This might let them finish your roof installation more quickly than expected.


As said, a roofer usually orders needed materials new from a manufacturer. In turn, anything affecting that market can also affect your reroofing timeline. For example, labor shortages can mean delays with manufacturers. Transportation issues such as union strikes can also mean delays in receiving those materials.

Can You Speed Up Your Roof Installation Process?

Since so many factors can delay a roof installation, homeowners might wonder if they can speed up the process. First, never attempt any roof repairs yourself, as you risk doing more damage. Second, don’t even walk on a roof if you’ve never been on one before! Even experienced roofers can suffer falls and resultant injuries.

However, a homeowner might schedule needed power washing even before getting reroofing quotes. This ensures a company can complete the work as needed. Also, do some research on roofing materials beforehand. You can then quickly choose the right option for your home!

Lastly, choose a reputable roofing contractor for the job. A professional contractor knows when and how to obtain permits. In turn, you can avoid the risk of a stop work order from the city by using a pro. Professionals also ensure a quality job, so you know your new roof will last for years to come!

Call a Rhode Island Roofing Contractor

Our roofing company, United Better Homes, is happy to help answer your questions about roof replacement. Hopefully this information has helped! You can also visit our blog for more great tips and advice on roofing replacement for your property. Also, if you’re in the market for repairs or installation, call our roofing professionals. We service most areas in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. For a free inspection and price estimate, contact our roofing team today!



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