Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail: How to Prepare for a New Roof

So, the time has come, and you are replacing your roof. You’ve hired a trusted roofing contractor and selected your new shingles. Now you just sit back and let the professionals do their thing, right?

Not quite. Here’s a list of nine things to do to help you prepare for your new roof installation.

1. Take Cover

Tearing off your old roof and putting on a new one is a huge undertaking. A surprising amount of dust and other debris can find its way into your house. You’ll want to make sure all doors and windows are shut, but that won’t keep all the mess out. This is especially true for the attic, which will get the worst of the falling dirt and small debris.

Cover what you can with tarps or sheets. Consider taping plastic over your air vents. That will catch much of the dirt shaken loose and keep it off your furnishings. More preparation now means less cleaning later.

2. Home Away from Home

Can you be home for your roof replacement? Probably. Do you want to be? Almost certainly not.

We’ve already talked about the mess, but that may be the least of your concerns. Staying home while the work is performed could be a massive headache—literally. Roofing is a loud operation. They are tearing the top off your house. That is not a delicate process. If you are home, you will be subjected to hours and hours of hammering, pounding and screaming. (Okay, the only screaming will probably be yours, when the constant racket overhead gets to be too much.) Why deal with that chaos when you can be somewhere else?

Save yourself the frustration and the headache. Plan to head to a coffee shop, a friend’s house, the library, or somewhere else quiet for a while.

3. In the Dog House

Your animals won’t like all the noise any more than you do. Since you have probably decided to vacate the house, you probably don’t want to leave your furry friends behind. Boarding them at a kennel or taking them with you when you is probably best for everyone. Even if you need to stay home, your pets don’t.

If your critters are prone to anxiety, this process will be extra challenging for them. Even if they are usually pretty relaxed, they will be aware that something out of the ordinary is happening and may be on high alert as a result. In addition to the noise, you will have workers all around your property, which can upset your animals. Bark Twain and Pawdrey Hepburn will thank you for not subjecting them to the stress of the roofing process.

4. Driving You to Distraction

The night before roof work begins, move your cars. You don’t want them in the driveway where whatever comes off the roof could come through the windshield. If they are in the garage, they will be safe from dust and falling debris. But, they may also be blocked in by ladders or roofing materials, meaning you will be stuck. Also, the workers may need access to the driveway as they load shingles and carry out debris.

Park your vehicles a safe distance away from your home for the duration of the work.

5. As Clear as Day

Clear any yard décor, grills, or outdoor furniture from the work zone. Store these things inside, in a garage, off-site, or on a part of your property furthest from the chaos.

6. Off the Wall

Roof work involves hammering and machinery that can send vibrations through your entire home. How bad this gets can depend on how extensive the work is, but there is sure to be some rattling. Consider removing wall hangings, especially on the level directly below the roof. If you have fragile knick-knacks perched precariously, you might also move those. Better safe than staring at great-grandma’s prized ceramic chicken smashed on your floor.

7. I Have the Power

Your roofing crew will likely need access to electrical outlets. Check with your contractor to see what they need and locate the outdoor outlets they can use. You can run an extension cord through a window if you don’t have outdoor power. In that case, seal around the cord as best you can to keep out the dust, and choose a location that doesn’t present a tripping hazard to you or the workers.

8. Hidey-ho, Neighbor

As a courtesy, reach out to your neighbors. Make them aware that there may be some noise and dust. Also, alert them that there will be work vehicles and perhaps even a dumpster parked on the street. If street parking is limited, you may even ask them if they can leave the area near your home clear for your roofing contractor’s trucks and equipment. Lastly, if you will be away for the day, consider giving your contact information to the neighbors, so they can reach you if there is an issue.

9. On Your Toes

If you decide to stay home during the roof work, or if you must be home for some part of it, stay alert.

There may be ladders or extension cords in places you wouldn’t think to look. Confirming the location of safe egress paths with the workers is a great idea. If you need to, tape notes to doors or put something over the handles to prevent someone from walking out without checking for safety. You don’t want to exit under a ladder or scaffolding.

If you must go outside during the work, do so with caution and announce yourself to the workers.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your roofing contractor, but this list should help ensure that getting a new roof is as safe, clean, and stress-free as possible. Spending a little time preparing can prevent you from spending a lot of time recovering.