5 Steps To a Successful Roof Restoration

Even though there are 253,044 roofing contractors in the US, it can still be hard to find a reliable roof restoration contractor. If you are one of these people who has decided to give your roof the TLC it deserves, and you don’t make a habit of sprucing up your roof regularly, we’re here to help.

Giving your roof a makeover is like hitting the refresh button on your home’s armor. The efficiency of your roof is critical, and to keep that guardian in tip-top shape, we’ve got five nifty steps to guide you through the art of roof restoration. The more you know about the process, the better prepared you are when discussing it with potential contractors.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, and San Diego with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about how to have a successful project. Read on for the main five steps to a successful roof restoration.

Step #1: Finding the problems

Ceiling joists and beams during roof restoration

We have to say it: roof restorations aren’t easy, but you can still get a good deal when hiring a roof repair contractor. There are a lot of cost-effective ways to have your roof restored professionally, like, believe it or not, using Amish Roofers, which are often cheaper than the competition.

Whether you have bought a house that needs remodeling, or you are just giving your roof some TLC, you need to get a little Sherlock Holmes on this rooftop mystery. Cracks, leaks, and rot might be playing hide-and-seek up there. Map out the crime scene, locate those problems like a pro, and avoid fumbling around when up high.

Here are a few common signs that it’s time to restore your roof:

  1. Visible Damage: Keep an eye out for missing or cracked shingles, warping or curling, and a general loss of granules. Any significant breaks in the shingle armor could be inviting leaks.
  2. Unwelcome Guests: Water leaks inside your home, from ceilings to walls, are a telltale sign your roof needs some TLC. It’s time to patch those leaky holes.
  3. Uneven Terrain: If your roof is starting to resemble a roller coaster rather than a smooth surface, consider it a red flag. Sagging or uneven areas could point to structural issues.
  4. Green Thumb on the Wrong Roof: While moss and algae might look charming on other surfaces, they’re unwelcome guests on your roof. Their presence can damage the shingles and shorten your roof’s lifespan.
  5. Unexpected Bills: A sudden jump in your energy bills could be a sneaky sign your roof’s insulation isn’t doing its job as well as it used to. Consider a restoration to regain that lost energy efficiency.
  6. Inside Scoop: Don’t forget to investigate inside your home too. Signs of moisture damage like mold, mildew, or even rot could be whispers from your roof needing attention.
  7. Age & Wisdom: Like most things, roofs have a lifespan. If yours has exceeded 20 years, it might be time to consider restoration or even replacement as a preventative measure.

Related: How To Find The Best Roofing Contractor in Los Angeles

Step #2: Determine if you need a roof restoration or a replacement

New roof install malibu home

If your roof is hitting the half-century mark and has been living the wild, maintenance-free life, it might be time to consider the grand gesture – a roof replacement. If you have a tiled roof, you may want to consider a switch-up as the weight drop is like going from lifting an elephant to a feather. Less strain on your home’s bones, less creaking, and potentially fewer cracks in the walls.

New roofing can also improve insulation and keep the noise down and the energy bills in check. It’s like giving your house a modern-day upgrade without losing its charm. If, on the other hand, your roof has been around less than half a century, a much simpler and cheaper restoration may be all well and good.

Still not sure whether you should replace your roof or just restore the existing roof? Take a look at the table below to compare your options:

Feature Roof Restoration Roof Replacement
Cost Typically less expensive (30-50% lower) More expensive, due to complete material and labor overhaul
Lifespan extension Adds 10-15 years to existing roof life Provides 20-25 years of new roof life
Suitability Ideal for roofs under 20 years old with minor to moderate damage Necessary for severely damaged roofs, aged roofs past lifespan, or roofs with leaks and underlying structural issues
Disruption Less disruptive, often completed within a week More disruptive, full tear-off and install can take several days
Environmental impact Sustainable option, as it reuses existing materials and reduces landfill waste More waste generated, with removal and disposal of old materials
Energy efficiency May offer modest energy savings depending on chosen restoration materials Can offer significant energy savings through improved insulation and reflective coatings
Appearance Refreshes and improves the roof’s look with new sealant and coatings Provides a completely new and updated aesthetic for the entire roof
Warranties Varies, but typically shorter warranties on restored roofs compared to new installations Longer warranties typically offered on new roof installations

Step #3: Understanding and planning for the roof restoration process

It’s important to know how long this roof fiesta is going to last if you can keep living your best life under it while it is taking place. We’re looking at about a week for your average homestead, but weather plays a big part in this. In the warmer, dryer months, it could be a swift 3-day turnaround, but you can expect most teams to be working on your roof for about a week.

Some more good news: you don’t need to pack your bags or find refuge with the in-laws. Your humble abode is still your fortress. There might be a bit of rooftop ruckus, but it’s nothing a good set of earplugs or some quality headphones can’t handle. The key is making sure you don’t have too many exposed areas for too long, because even in good weather, you have a structural vulnerability on your hands.

Related: 15 Crucial Remodeling Facts You Don’t Know

Aerial view of home roof restoration

A Peek into the Timeline: Your Roof Restoration Journey

So, you’ve decided to give your roof some TLC with a restoration project. While timelines can vary depending on the size and complexity of your roof, weather conditions, and unforeseen hiccups, here’s a general roadmap to give you an idea of what to expect:

Pre-Restoration (1-2 weeks):

  • Contracting and Planning: This involves finalizing contracts with your chosen contractor, securing permits if necessary, and finalizing material selections. Consider this the brainstorming and logistics phase.
  • Material Delivery: Get ready for some deliveries! Roofing materials like shingles, sealants, and paints will arrive at your doorstep. Make sure you have adequate storage space for them.

Restoration Day 1-3:

  • Tear-off and Cleanup: If minor repairs are needed, this might involve removing damaged shingles or sections. For more extensive restorations, a complete tear-off of the existing roof might be necessary. The crew will then clear away debris and prepare the surface for the new work.
  • Underlayment & Flashing: A fresh layer of underlayment acts as a waterproof barrier beneath the shingles. Flashing around critical areas like chimneys and vents is also installed to prevent leaks.

Restoration Days 4-7:

  • Shingle Installation: The stars of the show – the new shingles! This phase involves meticulously laying and securing the shingles according to the chosen pattern and design.
  • Finishing Touches: Once the shingles are in place, crews will seal any remaining gaps, clean up the work area, and perform a final inspection to ensure everything is up to code and to your satisfaction.


  • Final Walk-through and Warranty: Your contractor will walk you through the finished work, answering any questions you might have. This is also when you’ll receive your warranty documentation for the materials and workmanship.

Remember, this is just a general timeline, and your specific project might differ slightly. Weather delays, unforeseen repairs, or material availability can add a few days to the process. However, having a rough idea of the timeframe will help you plan accordingly and prepare for the exciting transformation of your roof!

Roof restoration for adu and home

Step #4: Always use high-quality sealant and paint

Cheap sealants are like one-ply toilet paper – they might get the job done, but you’re in for a mess sooner rather than later. Make sure your contractor invests in the good stuff, and you’ll find that the efforts will go much further. If your home has a chimney, it’s a prime location for leaks. Ensure this area is resealed with the good stuff, even if it doesn’t appear to be showing an issue.

Next up on the rooftop makeover checklist: long-lasting paint. A good coat of paint is like armor against the elements. Go for the kind of paint that can brave the wildest weather tantrums without losing its cool. With high-quality materials all around, you extend the amount of time before you’ll need to jump back up and do all of this again. Work smarter, not harder, and try to get longevity out of the work you do.

The success of your roof restoration hinges on using the right materials, especially when it comes to sealants and paints. These act as your roof’s first line of defense against the elements, so choosing wisely is crucial. Here’s a quick rundown of some popular options to consider:

Common Sealants For Roofing:

  • Silicone Sealants: These are champions of flexibility and weather resistance, ideal for sealing around flashings, vents, and other roof penetrations. They come in various forms, from caulk to liquid rubber, catering to different needs.
  • Asphalt Sealants: A classic choice for flat roofs, asphalt sealants offer excellent waterproofing and can be applied cold or hot, depending on the type. They’re affordable, but less flexible than silicone options.
  • Elastomeric Sealants: Combining the best of both worlds, elastomeric sealants provide the waterproofing of asphalt with the flexibility of silicone. They’re perfect for complex roof shapes and offer excellent durability.

Common Roof Restoration Paints:

  • Acrylic Roof Coatings: A versatile option, acrylic paints offer good reflectivity, crack resistance, and affordability. They come in various colors and can even be formulated with cooling pigments to reduce energy costs.
  • Silicone Roof Coatings: For ultimate weatherproofing and durability, silicone paints reign supreme. They offer exceptional resistance to UV rays, heat, and ponding water, making them ideal for harsh climates. However, they come at a higher price point.
  • Metal Roof Coatings: Specifically designed for metal roofs, these paints prevent rusting, fading, and heat gain. They come in various metallic and non-metallic colors to enhance the aesthetics of your roof.

Remember, choosing the right sealants and paints depends on your specific roof type, climate, and budget. Consulting a qualified roofing professional is always recommended for a tailored recommendation based on your needs. They can also suggest specific brands and formulations within each category for optimal performance.

With the right sealants and paints, your roof restoration will be a success, providing years of protection and beauty to your home.

white historic home

Step #5: The importance of re-bedding

Re-bedding is vital. If your tiles are celebrities, the ridge caps are their entourage. If those caps are loose, it’s time for a makeover. Make sure your roof repair contractor gets rid of the broken caps and lays down a new bed of concrete. It’s like giving your tiles a new mattress to rest on. Once the concrete is in place, it needs a bit of time to dry.

Ensure any gaps are sealed between tiles to stop water from sneakily seeping into the roof. Your contractor can apply a primer or a sealer after this to help make the roof even more waterproof and prevent moisture from entering the lower structures (a big problem for the entire house). The older the roof, the more coats should be applied, and the thicker the primer should be. 

Get Matched With The Right Roof Restoration Team

At GreatBuildz, we know roof restoration can be daunting. That’s why we go beyond simply connecting you with reliable, screened contractors. We offer ongoing project support, acting as your advocate and guide throughout the journey.

  • Personalized Matching: We carefully match you with contractors who specialize in your specific roof type and project needs, ensuring expertise and a tailored approach.
  • Clear Communication: We bridge the gap between you and your contractor, simplifying communication and ensuring everyone is on the same page every step of the way.
  • Project Progress Updates: Stay informed and in control with regular project updates. We keep you in the loop, so you can rest assured your roof is in good hands.
  • Support Beyond the Finish Line: Our support doesn’t end with the final installation. We’re here to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have even after the project is complete.

With GreatBuildz, roof restoration becomes a seamless, stress-free experience. Let us help you turn your vision of a protected and rejuvenated home into a reality. Contact us today and embark on your journey to a restored roof and newfound peace of mind.

Remember, a successful roof restoration is a journey, not just a destination. Embrace the process, prioritize communication and quality, and let GreatBuildz pave the way to a brighter, leak-free future for your home.

Title image credit: Joss Woodhead

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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