How Roofers Install Roofing Materials

Roofers Harrisburg PA installs various roofing materials, including shingles, tiles, and metal panels. They also inspect, repair, and maintain existing roofs.

Before installing new shingles, a roofer will check the sheathing (the wooden material that supports the rafters). If needed, this will be replaced.


Before beginning work, a good roofer should notify homeowners of any preparations they should make, like removing outdoor furnishings and covering plants with tarps. They should also cut the grass around the house to make it easier to find nails that may have fallen.

When a roof is in need of repair or replacement, the first thing that should be installed is a layer of underlayment. This material goes directly beneath the primary roofing materials, and it acts as a barrier that keeps moisture from reaching the underlying wood. This protects the joists and other elements of the home’s structure from moisture damage that can be costly to fix.

Typically, a roofing contractor will begin work by removing any existing roof-covering materials and examining the bare roof deck to determine whether or not underlayment is needed. The type of underlayment that is required depends on the climate zone and the specific roof-covering materials being used. For example, a type of underlayment that works well with metal roofing may not work as well with wood shakes.

The underlayment can be made of either soft or hard materials. A soft underlayment is typically constructed from cork, while a hard underlayment is often created from foam, cement board or fiberglass. In some cases, a roofer may also use felt underlayment to provide a waterproof layer.

It is essential to ensure that the underlayment is completely dry before the shingles are installed. If any moisture remains, it can seep through the shingles and damage the wood beneath. Additionally, wet wood can rot and lead to mold growth.

Underlayment can be sealed using a butyl rubber roofing tape or roofing cement, and it must be properly integrated around roof penetrations such as vents and skylights. The underlayment must also be nailed securely to the roof deck with 1-inch plastic nails, and it should be fastened over any lap seams. Ideally, the underlayment should be nailed in a pattern that will prevent water from gathering under the shingles.

Shingles are the final piece of the roof puzzle and add a beautiful, finished look to the house. They are available in a variety of colors and patterns. To get a feel for what is possible, visit a home improvement center or lumberyard and check out the selection of samples. The first step in the shingle installation process is to lay a layer of felt paper or other waterproof underlayment. This protects the roof from windblown rain, which can force water up under lower shingles and cause leaks into the house. It also helps prevent ice dams, which are frozen snow and water that build up along the roof edges. The best underlayment is a self-healing membrane that adheres tightly to the roof sheathing and seals around nails driven through it. It can be purchased at roofing supply companies or home centers and is required in some severe climate areas.

When the underlayment is in place, start with the first row of shingles, known as the starter course. This is cut from full-size shingles and applied with the self-sealing adhesive strip facing up toward the eave. This row will cover the drip edge and set a precedent for the rest of the shingles. Use a chalk line to snap a grid of six-inch horizontal and five-inch vertical spacing for nailing the rest of the shingles.

Continue installing field shingles up to the roof ridge, overlapping each subsequent row by about half. At the peak, install vented cap shingles or continuous ridge vent. If the roof is a hip roof, allow a tab width of shingle overhang on each side to help strengthen the joint at the hip.

The panels process is a lot faster and easier than the shingles, but it does require some heavy lifting. It’s a good idea to have an extra pair of hands available for this task. Start at one end of the rails and use a framing square to ensure the panel is square with the rails. Once you’re satisfied, fasten down the first panel. It’s a good idea to place a bead of sealant around each panel to keep the weather out.

The next panel should be set so that it’s a bit longer than the previous panel and overhangs the eave by a half inch. It’s a good idea to mark this line with a chalk line snapper. This will serve as the reference line for the other panels.

Make sure that the panel is positioned so the last rib overhangs the ridge and is lined up with the inside foam closure strip. This will prevent bugs and water from getting under the panels. Continue to fasten each panel, working from the ridge toward the eave. Be sure to screw in each rib, and don’t forget to screw in the gable trim to keep rainwater from flowing under the panels.

Flashing is a strip of water-resistant metal bent into shape to cover the joints where two roof surfaces meet or intersect. It prevents moisture from seeping into a house and helps guide water that’s already in walls back outside. Flashing is made of aluminum, copper or galvanized steel and can be used on shingle roofs as well as metal ones.

A lot of roof leaks are caused by flashing failure. That’s because the freeze-thaw cycle every winter causes any ice to expand, leaving tiny gaps in flashing that can eventually lead to major water damage and rot in your home. That’s why it’s important to use high-quality flashing and ensure it’s properly installed.

There are several different types of flashing, but the most common is base flashing. This is an L-shaped piece of metal that sits at the intersection of a chimney and a roof and directs rainwater down to the gutters. A counter-flashing piece is then placed opposite the base flashing to complete the two-part team.

Other types of flashing include wall flashing, which is concealed under windows and doors to prevent water intrusion; sill flashing, which is used at the bottom of a window or door threshold; through-wall flashing, which spans the thickness of a wall and directs water to weep holes; and cap flashing, which is used above windows and doors.

Most re-roofing jobs involve replacing the old flashing, as it tends to fail before your new roof’s lifespan is over. But in some cases, it’s possible to re-use existing flashing, especially if it’s still in good condition and hasn’t been damaged by water or rot. You’ll need to have any old flashing inspected by a professional before you decide to reuse it.

The cleanup process is a crucial part of any roofing job. It prevents debris from damaging nearby plants, furniture, or structures and helps ensure that any stray nails don’t end up in your yard. A reputable roofer should have an established process for cleaning up your property during and after the installation process. They will put out tarps to catch small bits of debris and make sure that all materials are discarded appropriately and according to local laws.

Before starting work, your roofing professionals should cover any plant life you want to protect with tarps and move any outdoor furnishings or items, such as grills, out of the way. It’s also a good idea to clear the area of any obstacles that could get in the way, such as fences or cars in the garage. You should also clear your gutters of leaves and branches to avoid blockages.

During the tear-off and repair process, the crew will toss old shingles and other materials down onto tarps. This will help keep your landscaping and other items from being damaged and makes it easier for the crew to dispose of the old materials. Many professional contractors will place a dumpster trailer close by to speed up the removal and disposal process.

In addition to laying out tarps, the crew will also sweep the roof and surrounding areas, picking up debris as they go along. They will also use their hand magnet to collect any nails they find in the grass and other areas of the property. It’s a good idea to cut your lawn the day before the roofers arrive, as this will make it much easier for them to spot stray nails and other debris.