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Residential Roofing

Roofing Materials List: Key Things You Need for a Roofing Job

By Mark Soto

May 05, 2022

Close up of a hammer, nails, shingles, and roof sheathing.

First and foremost, a roofing job requires two things: workmanship and materials. You can't oversee a successful roofing project without both. If you want to impress your customers with a job well done, it's essential to have all the right materials, make sure you have enough of them- and to ensure that they are installed properly.

This roofing materials list can help you ensure you have everything you need to complete your next project.

Sheathing

Roof sheathing or decking is the wood foundation layer that contractors use to attach shingles and other roof coverings to the home. Sheathing is a critical component of an overall roofing system. This part is commonly made from plywood or OSB and is crucial to provide a structural substrate for the installation of your roofing system. Sheathing is necessary for a roof replacement or repair project if there is a damaged area of the wood deck that needs to be replaced.

Roof Underlayment/Deck Protection

Roof underlayment helps to prevent wind-driven rain from infiltrating the roof system. For example, GAF Tiger PawTM Premium roof deck protection is a protective underlayment added above the sheathing and below the roofing shingles to help keep the roof system dry and strong. You'll need enough underlayment to cover the entire roof surface. It is sold in rolls, so check how much surface area each roll covers and double-check the roof's measurements before buying. To properly install the roof deck protection, you'll want to make sure to purchase enough plastic cap nails or plastic cap staples.

Roof Leak Barrier

Roof Leak Barrier helps protect the vulnerable areas of the roof like the eaves and valleys. This roofing product, like GAF WeatherWatch® mineral-surfaced leak barrier, is crucial to install in areas with cold weather at the eave, valley, around penetrations and other vulnerable areas. This will help prevent damaging leaks caused by ice dams or wind-driven rain.

Shingles

Shingles are what cover the roof to help protect the entire structure underneath it. It goes without saying you'll need enough shingles to cover the entire roof surface. While it may seem overwhelming to ensure you order the proper amount of shingles, there are tools available to help you with this process. For example, GAF QuickMeasure provides for quick and accurate measurements that help you to better meet the needs of your clients. You should also account for a waste of approxmately 10%, since you may need to cut shingles to accommodate roofs with a lot of valleys and hips. Extra shingles are good to have on hand in case any future repairs are needed.

Starter Strip Shingles

Starter strip shingles are the first set of long rectangular shingles that get installed around roof edges at the eave and rake edges of the roof to help prevent shingle blow-off. Be sure to check with your roofing manufacturer, as some shingles may require a specific starter strip product to be used with the specific shingle you're installing.

Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles

The hip and ridges of a roof can be vulnerable to wind and wind-driven rain due to the intersection of roof planes. This is where hip and ridge cap shingles come into play. These shingles are installed along these areas to help protect and provide an elegant finishing touch.

Flashing

Flashing is an essential roof component that helps redirect water away from areas like the chimneys, pipes, valleys, edges, and walls so make sure you have sufficient roof flashing to cover all vulnerable areas. Products such as GAF's Master Flow® Roof Flashing can help protect the area around roof pipes. If you've seen the roof in person, you may have an idea of how much you need to install, but you can also utilize tools such as an estimating app to ensure you're providing the homeowner with an accurate estimate.

Roof Ventilation

Roof vents are a vital piece of a roof's ventilation system. To function, an attic ventilation system must be balanced, with equal amounts of air coming in and going out. This continuous, balanced flow of air helps to reduce overheating and moisture build-up, which can result in ice damming and damage to your roofing system.

Fascia Board

The fascia board is another helpful component of the roof frame. It's placed at the end of the rafters or trusses and helps protect them against water damage. Gutters get hung from the fascia board, which is commonly made of wood or composite boards. If there is damage to existing fascia boards, they should be added to your roofing materials list in order to be replaced.

Roofing Nail Gun and Nails

You can't install shingles without a nailer or nails. While you could arguably use a hammer, a roofing nailer speeds up the process tenfold. There are specific code requirements for the roofing nails used, so be sure you are aware of these requirements before making your list. Once you know what the requirements are, you may want to consider buying in bulk. You can never have too many nails as a roofer!

Heavy-Duty Roofing Knife

A roofing knife is easy to forget, but you won't know how convenient it is until you don't have it with you. When you need to cut through shingles or other tough materials, these tools help maintain your grip, prevent slipping, and help keep your hands safe. Not just any old knife will work—get a specialized knife built for the task.

Roof Ripper

This roofing materials list wouldn't be complete without mentioning a roof ripper. One of the hardest aspects of roofing can be removing the existing roof. A roof ripper can easily tear off shingles, shakes, tiles, and underlayment. When you want to quickly remove shingles that just aren't coming off, it can save you time and effort.

How to Accurately Account For Materials

Large overages, or being short on material, are common among roofers. Roofing materials typically sell by the square, so you may need to buy more shingles than a customer actually needs to account for waste.

Also, factor in the risk for error when making calculations, such as the amount of materials you might need for steep roofs—incorrect estimates are bound to happen at some point.

You can take advantage of digital tools and services to help you get more accurate measurements, and in turn avoid overages or shortfalls. Aerial roof measurement services, like GAF QuickMeasure, are accurate, fast, and provide you with the roof measurements you need. The tool also includes a complete list of materials you'll need for the job.

About the Author

Mark Soto is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has comprehensive knowledge of home improvement projects based on his previous work. Mark comes from a family of DIYers and has worked with landscapers, plumbers, painters and other contractors. He also writes about camping and his enthusiasm for the outdoors.

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GAF Community Contractor Program Celebrates Success in Seattle

When communities come together, incredible things happen. That's exactly the case in the city of Seattle, Washington, where the GAF Community Contractor Program has made lasting impacts on those in need through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and ReBuilding Together. Both nonprofit organizations focus on working with homeowners to build new homes and revitalize communities in need of rebuilding, respectively.GAF's partnership with Habitat for Humanity began in 2011. From the start, it felt like a natural pairing. Habitat for Humanity's vision of "building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing" aligns perfectly with GAF's commitment to building resiliency in communities across the U.S.GAF recently became involved in ReBuilding Together in the Pacific Northwest through GAF Territory Manager Donovan Gladstone, whose involvement with the board of Roofing Contractors Association of Washington created an opportunity for community partnership. ReBuilding Together's mission of "repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives" is an excellent fit with GAF's commitment to helping neighbors.Helping Contractors Support their CommunitiesGAF invests in the areas where it has manufacturing operations, aiming to lift up the communities where team members live and work. This ideal extends to the GAF Community Contractor Program, where GAF certified contractors can partner with GAF and give back through the following initiatives:GAF Habitat for Humanity Program. With over 1,500 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the U.S., GAF-certified contractors can partner with their local chapter to provide the labor to install fully-donated GAF roofing systems. Volunteers don't work alone. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house.GAF Affordable Housing Reroof Program. This initiative encourages contractors to partner with any 501c3 nonprofit organization in their community for a reroof project, for which GAF will donate the shingles.GAF Roofs for Heroes. GAF-certified contractors can partner with a local 501c3 to perform roof repairs or replacements for local heroes. 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"This was Arlene's idea, and it was such a great one," Gladstone notes.Marks shares, "We try to make all of our events meaningful, so what was the best way that we could reach back out to these homeowners that we've already helped? The Welcome Home Kits were the answer."The contractors attending the event assembled toolkits containing basic items like screwdrivers, nut drivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers, hammers, safety glasses, and more. The kits also include a video message of encouragement from the program participants.Most of the individuals who are helped through the roof donations are first-time homeowners. Accordingly, many don't have the basic tools needed to maintain their homes. 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By Authors Karen L Edwards

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When Is the Best Time to Replace a Roof?

If every day was sunny, mild, and a pleasant 75 degrees, there'd be little reason to wonder about the best time to replace a roof. Of course, not everyone lives in areas with ideal weather conditions, as climates vary greatly across the country.So if a client ever asks, "When is the best time to replace a roof?" your answer will likely vary based on where they live and what each season is like. However, you can share some general pointers in response. Here's what to consider for each season to help answer the question, "when is the best time to replace a roof?"SpringSpringtime is traditionally recognized as the kickoff of roofing season, as outside temperatures begin to warm and activity increases. Thanks to melting ice and snow, it's also the time of year that homeowners may want to have their roofs checked out for damage.While spring offers outdoor temperatures that are more friendly for workers, the season also typically comes with an increased chance of severe thunderstorms (and potentially tornados, depending on the region). Spring is usually a good time to schedule a roof replacement if you just monitor the weather forecast for major events to help reduce the chance of delays.SummerWith spring showers in the rearview, most areas of the country see longer stretches of nice weather during summertime, which lends itself well to working outside. Accordingly, summer tends to be the most ideal time for installing a new roof.But with potentially hot days, when is the best time to replace a roof in the summer? Workers will need to start as early in the day as possible because temperatures are usually cooler in the morning. Depending on the forecast temperatures, the job may need to be spread over a few days, so most of the work can be done in the morning hours before it gets too hot. It's also wise to remind customers that workers will need to have breaks in the shade and access to water to stay hydrated.FallThe autumn months can be an equally good time for a roof replacement as summer, as the hot and hazy days have passed, and severe weather isn't as common. The only exception to this is if you're working in an area prone to hurricanes. Hurricane season runs through the end of November and can cause project delays.In addition to the favorable weather, fall is a popular season for roof replacement because many property owners want to fortify their homes and buildings with a new roof before the winter months.WinterIn some areas of the country, it may be possible to continue roofing installations year-round, including during the winter. In southern regions, for example, roofing replacements can often be completed in the winter, as there's less chance of inclement weather. Temperatures may drop, but not as drastically as in areas that see ice and snow more regularly. Of course, it's still important to reference the relevant local forecast when scheduling upcoming work.Sustained stretches of very cold weather does not constitute suitable weather for the installation of asphalt shingles. All self-sealing shingles must be exposed to warm, sunny conditions for several days before they completely seal. Before sealing occurs, shingles are vulnerable to blow-offs and wind damage. Shingles installed in fall or winter may not seal until the following spring. Shingles that are not exposed to direct sunlight, adequate surface temperatures, or that are not fastened or installed properly may never seal. Failures to seal, blow-offs, and wind damage under these circumstances result from the nature of self-sealing shingles, and are not covered under most manufacturer's warranties. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation. While most provide guidance about cold weather installations, it will ultimately be up to you to exercise discretion about when to move forward with an installation vs. postponing the work until more favorable weather conditions are present.Other Factors That May Affect Project TimingWhile weather is likely the leading factor that can disrupt scheduled roofing work, if you want to best answer your client's question of "when is the best time to replace a roof?" you'll need to take other factors into account when setting timeline expectations for property owners. One such consideration is the lead time needed for materials. If your customer chooses an uncommon color or a specialty product, it may take longer for materials to arrive.Another factor to weigh is your own backlog. If your production calendar is booked weeks out, clearly communicate the timing to your customers with the knowledge that weather events could impact the schedule. Regularly communicating with customers and setting accurate expectations are key to a positive experience.Looking to learn more roofing best practices and further expand your knowledge base? Check out GAF's CARE Contractor Training Center to help build your skill set and receive valuable training.

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In fact, the Latino consumer base currently has unmet needs of more than $100 billion. Empowering Latino roofers to develop and grow as business leaders is one way to help bring change. "If you want to do business with the Latino community, you have to speak their language," says Hugo Saldaña, GAF territory manager in Houston, Texas.Speaking as a Latino professional in the roofing industry, Saldaña explains that people are at the heart of increasing a consumer base and growing contractor opportunities. "My parents preferred to do business with people who also spoke Spanish, their native language," says Saldaña. "Every day, when I go into work with these guys, it's like helping my dad or my mom. I think when you do that, and these guys know there's a caring relationship there, it goes a long way."Moving Towards the FutureLatinas in RoofingWhile the Latinos in Roofing Expo is a huge win, GAF and the roofing industry still have opportunities to grow. 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