Installing A Roof and Doing It Right - Hamilton Roofing Company
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Installing A Roof and Doing It Right

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Installing A Roof and Doing It Right

(NOTE: This post is somewhat long so if you are short on time or just want an abbreviated explanation of what to do when you’re installing a roof, I have included a step-by-step summary at the end of this post. Enjoy!)


    Everybody has heard the horror stories of unsuspecting homeowners who have hired contractors in the hopes of installing a roof, only to find out too late that the contractor they had hired in good faith had turned out to be a fraud (for tips on how to avoid fly by night contractors CLICK HERE). Often, the reason for this stems partially from the fact that homeowners haven’t been educated on what to look for to ensure a quality installation. Let’s see if we can dispel some of the ambiguity surrounding what installing a roof properly looks like.


Step #1: Right off the bat, let’s set the record straight on one all-too-common myth. Do not, I repeat do NOT allow a contractor to talk you into installing a roof OVER your existing shingles. Some companies will trumpet the savings for the homeowner  (which are marginal) by not having to tear off the old shingles. This is a shortcut for contractors to avoid the cost of labour and disposal while still pocketing most of the profits. Do not be deceived. Any money you may “save” up front will cost you twice as much on the back end when your roof needs done again. Furthermore, the average single layer roof weighs approximately 4,500 pounds (75 lbs per bundle x 60 bundles). Homeowners need to ask themselves whether they really want the weight of a particularly large Great White Shark added to their roof unneccessarily (kidding but not kidding)! On top of all that, roof-overs do not allow you to inspect the roof deck for any rotten plywood that may exist. And if that wasn’t enough, several manufacturer’s immediately void the warranties on roof-overs. For a good look at some further pro’s and con’s click here.


Step #2: With that rant out of the way, let’s keep this knowledge train moving! Once the roof is torn off, swept and cleaned, the first step in the installation process is drip edge. Drip edge has several important benefits. First of all, thanks to the support lip, drip edge eliminates curling at the trough line as seen here. It also protects your vulnerable attic space from wind driven rain and animals that can take advantage of the space between your fascia and deck sheathing. Cole’s Notes version: don’t forget drip edge!!!


Step #3: The next step is making sure you have Ice and Water shield all along the eaves. Not only is Ice and Water required in places where average temperatures fall below 5 Celsius, it also protects homeowners from ice dams backing up under the shingles and allowing water to find it’s way into your house. On to step #4!


Step #4: Step #4 is quick and easy! Contractor’s always need to make sure they install a starter row. This increases wind resistance by giving the first row of shingles something to adhere to, as well as filling in the tiny gaps that would otherwise be left between the shingles.


Step #5: The next step when installing a roof is Deck Armour (essentially the new and vastly improved felt paper). Admittedly, Deck Armour isn’t always necessary, but it is always a good idea. Why? Deck Armour provides an extra layer of protection underneath your shingles in case of failure while also offering your roof and attic greater breathability than ever before. Deck Armour is more than six times stronger than felt paper as well and allows any trapped moisture in the attic or deck sheathing a much needed opportunity to evaporate. For a look at more of the benefits offered by Deck Armour click here.


Step #6: Take note of the fact that it isn’t until now at Step #6 that we’re finally talking about the shingles! There is so much that goes into a proper roof installation before you even get to this point. At Peak Roofing, we are always willing to work with clients to meet their needs, but after years of research our top recommendation is GAF Timberline. They are very cost competitive and simply a superior product to most of the asphalt options out there. Just take a look at this nightmare  from commonly used manufacturer IKO!


Step #7: The last step is the capping. We generally use GAF Seal-A-Ridge as it provides a more aesthetically pleasing finish than the historical method of simply cutting up three tab shingles.


Miscellaneous: Other elements that occur to varying degrees depending on the house are roof valley and vents.



STEP #1: Make sure you tear off old shingles. Don’t do roof-overs.

STEP #2: Make sure you have drip edge!

STEP #3: Install Ice and Water shield along all eaves areas.

STEP #4: Starter strips to increase wind resistance and seal gaps in first layer of shingles.

STEP #5: Deck Armour for added protection and breathability.

STEP #6: Selecting a quality shingle. (We recommend GAF Timberline HD)

STEP #7: And finally your capping! (Again, we recommend GAF Seal-A-Ridge)


    Congratulations on making it to the end! My hope is that you as a homeowner are now better equipped to guard yourself against contractors looking to come in and cut corners in order to put more money in their own pockets. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our friendly experts by phone at 905-746-5792 or by e-mail at

  • Can i install architecural shingles over 3 tab on a 3in12 pich roof - RooferPress
    Posted at 04:59h, 18 January Reply

    […] Listen to the good advice given here. It might be “allowed” in the building code, but it is NOT a good idea. It shortens the life of your roof and ends up costing you MORE in the long run. For a more in depth look at proper installation take a look here: […]

  • - The Eavestrough Company
    Posted at 18:11h, 07 February Reply

    […] Our friends over at Peak Roofing published this great article about how to properly install a roof to help educate homeowners how to make an informed decision when it comes time to hire on which contractors really know their stuff. Click here to learn more! […]

  • Rochell Smith
    Posted at 12:03h, 22 August Reply

    I don’t know anything about roof installation before reading this post but now I am able to hire perfect contractors.

    • peakroofing
      Posted at 09:35h, 09 March Reply

      Awesome! Glad the post gave you confidence with the process 🙂

  • Joshua Davidson
    Posted at 12:54h, 22 August Reply

    Interesting that you have such a hard stance against overlaying existing roofs. Personally, we do offer this option to our clients, but we always warn them of the negatives of this and advise that they re-roof instead as this also gives us the chance to check any issues there may be under the roof. Thanks for sharing.

    • peakroofing
      Posted at 09:35h, 09 March Reply

      Thanks for your comment Joshua! I know some companies do it and I know it’s not “wrong” per se since your roof will still function. But I think it’s lazy, inefficient and cheap. In my opinion, it’s better to do the job right than have all that extra weight up there combined with the point you brought up that you can’t even check to see the condition of the roof deck. Good luck to you this season!

  • Joel Hodgson
    Posted at 18:44h, 07 January Reply

    Awesome read! Really enjoyed the amount of detail you have show into choosing Installing A Roof and Doing It the Right way. Well done 🙂

  • Southern Plasticlad Ltd
    Posted at 08:08h, 08 October Reply

    Excellent post. you provided nice information here. There are few highlight points here.

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