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This is another one of those topics that is very much off topic for twiki.org, but I'm in the process of doing it, so I want to record my learnings (for possible eventual relocation to a non-software TWiki).

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I was concerned that I could only find useful books on reroofing in a local community college library, not in my public library, and they are rather old. Then I tried a Google search on [roof "drip edge" underlayment] and found a fair number of hits, including this, which looks quite useful: http://www.hometime.com/projects/howto/roofing/pc2roof4.htm.

For various reasons, consider rigging a rope safety system, and learn how to use it.

Pay attention as you remove the old roof, both for details of things like flashing, drip edges, underlayment, etc. and for problem areas that might benefit from a different approach:

I found the following:

  • rotted wood (due to leakage) around the chimney, where the downspout from the second floor discharges on the first floor roof, and edges at eaves and rake
    • chimney area had no "base" flashing (more later)
    • will use a waterproof membrane around eaves, rakes, and under area where second floor gutter discharges on first floor (and will eventually relocate this) -- will improve attic ventilation out of concern to the addition of the membrane
    • existing drip edges on eave were installed over roofing paper instead of under (bad) -- drip edges "reached" into gutter where possible (seems like a good idea)
    • no roofing paper on last 12" of ridge -- not sure why, some water damage in one spot (so far) -- plan to add roofing paper there unless I find the reason it should not be installed
    • will add base flashing around chimney and where first floor roof butts into second floor walls
    • existing shingles were installed with big staples (need to measure) -- I plan to use nails and a nail gun. I suspect the staples are easier to remove -- otherwise don't know which is better
    • started removing old roof with a square bladed spade -- works reasonably well but I have to bend very far to "lever up" -- I bought a special tool for around $20 and I'll see how that works. (I actually bought a different one and returned when I realized my exisiting square spade worked, now, with 1/4 of the roof removed, I think $20 is a worthwhile investment
    • The Porter nail gun I bought used seems to work Ok in a few tests in the basement (through a double layer (have to count total layers) of shingles and the 15/32" CDx plywood that is my roof deck. Depth adjustment by a dial on top. The trigger it came with fires every time you bump the "nozzle" against the work piece (while you hold the trigger) -- I ordered (for free) a special red trigger that, IIUC, fires one nail each time you pull the trigger) which will give me a little more opportunity to align things properly (and avoid the double nailing I occasionally got while practicing).
    • I initially avoided doing the shingling job in the hot summer months (a good idea) for fear that the packaged self sealing shingles would seal themselves while in the package - I now realize there is a release strip (of smooth plastic) to prevent that problem. Doing the shingling a little earlier in the year would be a good idea. In fact, I'm thinking right now that spring would be the best time (avoiding April showers) with the idea that the warm summer would help the self sealing shingles seal thorougly before facing a windy winter.
    • The first decking board I replaced I took out the whole 4 x 8 sheet, and plan to use the good part to repair some other areas. Books that I've used indicate there is nothing wrong with cutting the plywood in the middle of a truss and replacing only a portion.
    • There are knotholes and uneven joints between panels on the deck -- I'm debating whether to even them out with roofing cement (recommended in at least one place), covering with like 26 gauge metal (galvanized, zinc, copper (or aluminum??)) or just leaving things as is. One source says the resin discharge from knotholes is bad for roofing, but (IMHO) for the decking that's been in place for 22 years, I don't see that as an issue.

Just for the record, I'm replacing the roof in October, 2002 -- the house was originally roofed sometime before January, 1980 (as we moved in in January, 1980) -- so, we got about 22 years out of 20 year shingles, although we had a few leaks that I repaired in the last few years. (And some ice dam leaking which seemed to occur once and never again.) Biggest problem is on the second floor roof where there is a warped piece of roof decking which creates a fairly big gap where water can leak in. I plan to replace that piece, but, if I were putting shingles over the existing roof, I'd consider using a circular saw to slit the deck (where it's warped) and then add some 2x4 cross braces underneath and sort of "jack" the piece back into "flatness". (I'd do it in summor (or around warm weather) so that the shingles would warm up and "resettle" after the jacking.

My roof is supported by (2x4) roof trusses on 24" centers. The local zoning board / building inspector will allow two layers of shingles (i.e., putting a new layer on top of an old). By replacing the existing shingles now, I give myself the opportunity to put that second layer on when I'm older and less able to do the entire job (and benefit from a through inspectiion and repair of existing problems now.


24 Oct 2002: Today will be my eighth day of work on the section over the garage/family room (about 1/4 of the total roof). Taking more time than I expected, but other sections (after the front of the garage) should go faster. Slowdowns:

  • Feeling my way
  • Replacing several sections of wood (1 4x8), two smaller adjacent sections, one at the top of the chimney
  • No base flashing around chimney and side of house, just step flashing (and "overflashing") -- fairly easy to add base flashing at chimney, tougher next to house -- could only insert about 1/2 to 3/4" vertically without thinking about removing nails
  • Cementing is a mess and pain -- thinking about buying tubes of cement for this phase (gallons are OK during initial setup, but for "as I shingle" stuff a caulk gun would be easier to deal with

Wish I could accurately count the days:

15 Oct 2002, Tuesday: 23 squares of shingles delivered to the roof by Allied Building Products (sort of -- they boomed the pallets up to the roof and I unloaded and distributed them -- a big job)

16 Oct 2002, Wednesday: Rain, no real work

17 Oct 2002, Thursday: Started tear off using square bladed spade -- works but I have to bend pretty far

18 Oct 2002, Friday: 2nd day of tearoff

19 Oct 2002, Saturday: Started replacing wood (?)

20 Oct 2002, Sunday: Started Weatherwatch, cementing, renailing

21 Oct 2002, Monday: First day of shingling? Ran air line, set up filter, etc.

22 Oct 2002, Tuessday: Second day of shingling?

23 Oct 2002, Wednesday: Third day of shingling? Some renailing I hadn't done earlier, tore plastic off knee pads (intentionally -- less slippery, more comfortable) -- I'm sure I'm going to wish I had started earlier in the year -- partly for warmth, partly for sealing of the shingles -- may go back and cement some tabs, especially at rakes

All of the above was recorded on the morning of 24 Oct 2002, so it is somewhat from memory.

24 Oct 2002, Thursday: Cut slots in ridge for ridge vent (1" wide on either side of ridge, from about 12" from end of ridge against house, and 24" from end of ridge away from house. (Extra allowance because I didn't think it was appropriate to add ridge vent in the "overhang" that is "outside" the attic -- may check with somebody (or look for vents in bottom of those sections). Finished shingling basically to top (short one row -- will now do other side before finishing ridge).

25 Oct 2002, Friday: No major work planned -- going to Lancaster -- buy some tubes of roof cement and maybe the rest of what I need (two more rolls of WeatherWatch (not sure of brand, need to double check), two more rolls of roll roofing, investigate trash removal) -- rain is forecast anyway

26 Oct 2002, Saturday: Raining in the morning, still being lazy, may start removing roof around 1:00. Using the new tool, removed the shingles (and underlayment) from the front of the garage roof in about 3 hours -- still need to remove drip edges, staples, general cleanup.

27 Oct 2002, Sunday: Somewhat lazy again today and had to make run to Easton for hard disks for second church server. Started about noon -- removed staples and drip edges, replaced 4 pieces of plywood, sprayed an area where bugs are (termites?? -- took sample and need to check area below next to coal bin). Renailed first 4 feet of bottom and ready to start adding underlayment.

28 Oct 2002, Monday: Expect to start about 9:15 (with class transportation) with waterproof underlayment -- need to cut a little different than I originally planned. Started some shingling in the afternoon -- hoping rain holds off till tomorrow afternoon so I can get underlayment on the entire roof.

29 Oct 2002, Tuesday: Covered entire (garage quarter) roof with underlayment held down by piles of two and three shingles quite close together. Shingled then until about 3:30 (??) when it started to hail/rain. Shingling may be 1/4 done on this section.

30 Oct 2002, Wednesday: Snowed overnight. When I came home from transportation chores I tried to sweep it off to work -- not powdery, more slushy/frozen -- can sweep with great effort off the waterproof underlayment, but I'm sure I would tear the tarpaper -- so, a day off. (Unfortunately, lots of problems accessing twiki.org, so things there are slower than I'd like.)

31 Oct 2002, Thursday: Snow was melted this morning -- took towels out and tried to blot up all the water on the tar paper, then waited till noon to let things dry -- tar paper looks reasonable, shingled through the afternoon -- could possibly finish (this section) tomorrow, less the ridges.

01 Nov 2002, Friday: Finished shingling this section (basically -- minus a few shingles and the ridges -- stopped as it got cold, rainy, sleety).

02 Nov 2002, Saturday: Ripped roof off south half of 2nd floor -- for no good reason, I started leaving the old tarpaper behind (thinking it would provide some protection if it rained), but then went back and ripped it off anyway -- would have been faster to do it once. Several rotted sections of decking, one area where there may be some structural rot. Picked up three pieces of plywood from Tom -- whole sheets of 15/32 BCX, 19/32 CDX, and a partial piece of 15/32 CDX (?) -- thanks Tom.

03 Nov 2002, Sunday: Started removing miscellaneous staples and so forth, them made some of the cuts for the rotten sections -- left a few because I didn't pinpoint the crosscut location. In the afternoon, went to the church computer school. Used a tarp to protect one section of the roof. (With the "cracked" decking.)

04 Nov 2002, Monday: Being lazy -- bought one more full piece of 15/32 CDX, but too heavy / awkward to get to this roof myself (got one to the lower roof OK -- standing next to the chimney made me feel more comfortable). (Rigged the safety rope this morning -- I think I'll feel more comfortable using it at least some places on the second floor.) Will cut the plywood in half lengthwise (to get 2 2X8 pieces) to make handling easier -- after I make the other cross cuts and bring the saw and guides back to the ground. Expect rain tomorrow night -- taking a break at NCACC from 12:30 to 2:30 -- then hope between today and tomorrow to get the deck fixed and at least the waterproof underlayment on the deck before the rain -- then should have at least one place to start shingling as the rest of the deck dries.

05 Nov 2002, Tuesday: Another lazy (less than full speed) day. Did get all the replacement decking to the roof (even 1/2 a 4x8 sheet is heavy and cumbersome) and replaced the small pieces. Left the large pieces over a tarp in preparation for rain tonight. Replaced (sistered) one rotted 2x4 at eave -- glued and screwed 4' treated piece with complement of a 5/12 slope on the end -- did part of the replacement from the attic, but all in all a pain -- difficult getting there, working in cramped quarters, etc. (Fortunately, only the top 1 1/2" was rotted (and only about 1 foot in length), so there were lots of anchor points for screws.

06 Nov 2002, Wednesday: Rained last night -- leakage into the house at one of the vents and (I believe) at the ladder "anchor" -- will come up with a new scheme for that. (This was basically with the uncovered plywood deck, except for one tarp at the very warped 4x8 (and over the ridge line). Will work on getting underlayment to the roof, replacing the warped 4x8, and renailing all the decking today until the deck dries, then start putting underlayment down. Reporting 11 Nov: IIRC, got the deck pieces replaced.

07 Nov 2002, Thursday: ?? Did it rain, or did I start thinking about replacing additional deck pieces? More renailing and clean up.

08 Nov 2002, Friday: Eye doctor and other chores -- thinking about replacing additional deck pieces -- very warm (but rain expected??) -- didn't do much (??) started to use tarpaper and staples or roof cement to fix uneven joints in deck

09 Nov 2002, Saturday: Thorough inspection to decide whether to replace additional deck pieces -- some deflection, some springiness, only one short crack (1") -- decided not to -- started laying waterproof underlayment, then finished miscellaneous shingles (except for ridge) on lower deck prior to moving air hose, etc. to upper deck. (Extremely warm weather (68)

10 Nov 2002, Sunday: AM -- finished underlayment (weighted with shingles, removed one more row of shingles from north side of ridge, nailed down some old plywood for walkway across tarpaper) to protect from showers -- showers, thunderstorms, and rain predicted almost every day this week. PM - class Still very warm -- Precut some shingles, decided to lay in a 6" pyramid pattern which means I can work in a more concentrated area

11 Nov 2002, Monday: Damp this AM, will decide after first class if dry enough to shingle -- still extremely warm -- would like to get a lot done today and tomorrow as it sounds like heavier rain is expected on Wednesday

12 Nov 2002, Tuesday: Boy it's easy to lose track if I don't record this every day. (Recording 14 Nov 2002). (I'm almost certain it rained today and I did know shingling -- I remember that I was thinking about writing something like "Rain frown :-)" but then forgot.)

13 Nov 2002, Wednesday: Between Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (did it rain one day?) I got most of the south 2nd floor shingled -- I left an unshingled area for a walkway as I work on the north 2nd floor (from the ladder) and a few rows at the ridge line until I cut the new vent.

14 Nov 2002, Thursday: Trying to decide whether to tear off the last 1/4 -- two fairly nice days then a bad storm this weekend and colder -- should I pack up until spring (finishing some things and with some rework that will have to be done), or should I storm forward? We'll all know soon. -- OK, I started -- finishihed one more row of diagonal shingles on south roof and then ripped off the old shingles on the north deck. May have dropped a piece of shingle down the 3" vent pipe which may have caused a toilet backup.

For the record: On the south upper deck, I replaced one 4x8 sheet of plywood (hauling it up in two 2x8 sections), 1 5"x72", 1 12"x72" (both at the eave), and two 13 1/2" x 48" sections along the east rake. On the north deck (on Friday, below), I replaced only 1 12"x76" section at the west end of the eave. In general, the north decks were in better condition than the south decks.

15 Nov 2002, Friday: Replaced one piece of decking, put the waterproof membrane in place (2 3' sections at bottom, partial 1 1/2' and 1' sections along rakes), one row of ordinary tarpaper. Then covered remainder of deck with tarps and shingles for expected rain and snow the next two days. (Cleaned up staples and renailed bottom 9' of deck, cut ventilation slot at ridge.)

16 Nov 2002, Saturday: Rain smile (I hope the tarps can deal with it.)

17 Nov 2002, Sunday: Rain and wind. The tarps and tarpaper weighted with shingles (2 on ~2' centers did fine -- the waterproof membrane with adhesive did not.

18 Nov 2002, Monday: Windy and dry -- letting things dry.

19 Nov 2002, Tuesday: Back on the roof -- replaced the two (of four) pieces of waterproof membrane (reused the ones that blew off) and started shingling. Knees get sore quickly now. (Sore after one day following three days of rest.)

20 Nov 2002, Wednesday: A very nice day (expected) before two or three days of rain and snow -- will probably shingle until I clear some of the tarps off, then lift the tarps and work on the renailing and tar paper, then replace the tarps and weight down with other shingles. Would like to be in a position that the entire deck is covered with tarpaper and tarps so that I can shingle during brief periods of nice weather. -- Got a fair amount of shingling done and covered the deck with tarpaper as the forecast has changed and the showers tomorrow start in the afternoon -- I should have time to work in the morning.

21 Nov 2002, Thursday: Showers started a little earlier than expected -- initially very light and I kept working, but I kept working all day and got quite wet. Covered the remaining tarpaper with tarps but need to weight them down some more.

22 Nov 2002, Friday: Several forecasts say showers all day (every hour) -- one says in PM -- I'd like to start working and try to finish the shingling and start doing some manual sealing today before the 40 mph gusts tonight and tomorrow.

23 Nov 2002, Saturday: Cut and split wood today -- generally too windy to work on the roof (although there were periods of calm when it might have been OK).

24 Nov 2002, Sunday: Skipped class today to work on the roof. The tarpaper that was not weighted down flipped around and wrinkled, but did not tear very much. I was able to smooth most of it and shingle over it (southwest corner of north upper deck) -- replaced one piece, and patched over one tear. Started on last corner of south upper deck. Almost out of "power" nails, so started doing some hand nailing to stretch -- reserving the power nails for the rake and ridge edges. Hand nailing not bad at all.

25 Nov 2002, Monday: Finished the upper deck except for the ridge, then did the ridge and vent on the lower deck. The neighbors had their roof replaced today by a contractor -- embarrassing comparing my speed to theirs -- they finished the entire job in one day with decks about the same size as mine. Quantity of workers seemed to vary -- I may have seen as many as six working on the roof at the same time. In general, they didn't kneel while laying shingles but bent at the waist -- when I couldn't seem them, I thought they were hand nailing by the rat-a-tat-tat sound, later when I watched, it was all power nailing -- they just do it fast. Wish I had watched closer -- AFAICT, they didn't replace any deck, strip off the old tarpaper except by accident (but they did but new underlayment down -- tarpaper over the majority, something fancier at the eaves). They installed a ridge vent similar to what I'm installing (and everybody seems to be installing these days) -- didn't notice if they used any roof cement on any tabs including on the ridge -- wish I had asked about that.

26 Nov 2002, Tuesday: Ahh, getting close -- yesterday I finished shingling the upper deck, then cut the ridge shingles for the lower deck and installed them with the ridge vent -- nailed by hand and that looks effective. Last night I cut the rest of the ridge shingles (~), and if it's warm enough to today I'll install the ridge and vent on the upper deck. Then start the clean up. frown

OK, I did finish yesterday, except for clean up and some miscellaneous ToDos.

Had trouble nailing the ridge shingles on the upper deck because the highest row of decking was only 4" wide, not nailed to the roof trusses on center, and thus very springy. A few shingles are only glued or held by one nail instead of two. If I hadn't been rushing to finish before the snow, I should have reinforced that row of decking from below or replaced it with something like 19/32". Or, if I had been thinking, I would have driven something like a galvanized or SS "drywall" screw in the places I couldn't drive a nail -- that might be my repair method.

The ridge vents seem like they will do something useful. I noticed quite a bit of warm / moist air moving out under the ridge shingles as I was installing the vent, and noticed some collected moisture under the tarpaper layer when I cut through it. (I had covered the 2" slot with tarpaper during the shingling and left it that way until I was ready for the ridge vent / shingling to avoid a rain entry.)

With that much air moving (as much as I noticed), I wonder if the ridge vents will affect my heating costs? I do want to seal off all holes into the attic (like for pipes or wires) to minimize warm air escaping from the house -- I may also consider adding to the insulation (next year wink ).


  • Clean up old shingles
  • Install vent for 1/2 bath (tarpapered over the hole one day, shingled over it the next day without thinking about it) -- it's a heater / venter vent, so I'm not creating a plumbing hazard, and I use the heater rather than the vent in winter, so it's not urgent to fix before spring.
  • Install the rafter vent styrofoam thingies to improve the attic ventilation where the attic insulation butts against the roof deck -- did this in a few areas as I replaced decking but I think I should do it in all areas, even though a noticable amount of (moist / warm) air is being vented from the ridge vents.
  • Seal all holes from the house into either attic (like for pipes, wires, etc.) to minimize loss of heated air from house.
  • Consider adding more insulation.
  • Rearrange downspouts so water from 2nd floor is not discharged on first floor roof deck
  • Install gutter covers?

27 Nov 2002, Wednesday: It snowed -- not a lot, but possibly 1 1/2" on the ground -- a good day to relax.

28 Nov 2002, Thursday: Thanksgiving!

29 Nov 2002, Friday:

Hmm -- might as well start adding more days -- I could be finished with the main shingling, but I'll still need to do the ridges and clean up (and rake leaves).

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  • () RandyKramer - 19 Oct 2002
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