The Ultimate Guide to Getting a New Roof in 2021 – Homeowner’s Guide

A new roof is a costly investment with practical and aesthetic implications – the roof is your home’s most important protection against rain, snow, and nature’s elements. The roof can also significantly impact the appeal of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

GAF Timberline HD Shingles Roof

This guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to re-roofing, whether it’s adding a new layer of roofing to the existing roof, or tearing off and replacing the old roof.

Seven Signs You Need a New Roof

Here are the indicators that your roof should be re-shingled or replaced to maintain your home’s defense against the elements:

  • Shingles are visibly worn: Are there so many of the colored granules gone that your roof looks like it has bald spots? While the shingles might still be keeping moisture out, a lack of reflective granules allows excess heat into your home, raising the temperature inside your house and increasing your air conditioning costs. Furthermore, once exposed, the underlying asphalt will soon dry out and crack, and then your roof will be susceptible to leaks.

  • Shingles are cupped and curled:

    Curled-up old shingles

    This issue looks bad, but more importantly, it means wind-driven water and moisture can easily get under the shingles and into your roof deck where it might cause leaks and rot.

  • Shingles are cracked: The cracked areas aren’t keeping moisture off the deck, and the risk of leaks goes way up.

    Cracks or thermal splitting in asphalt shingles
    via Structure Tech

  • Your neighbors are getting new roofs: This is more than “keeping up with the Joneses.” When homes built about the same time as yours are being re-roofed, your roof is probably about due.

  • You’ve experienced multiple leaks: Your roof is an entire structure, not just the shingles. Deck paper, flashing, moisture barrier in valleys, starter shingles, vent stack boots and other components are part of an entire roofing system. As the roof ages and several of its components or locations fail, the roof should be replaced.

  • The roof has experienced major damage:

    hail damaged roof shingles

    If more than about 35% of the roof is going to need a repair due to wind or hail damage, then the most cost-effective decision might be to replace it altogether.

    Repair is costlier on a per square foot basis because it is more time-consuming to integrate new shingles into the existing roof “here and there” than to install them over the entire roof. Plus, a mix of old shingles and new just won’t look very good.

  • Your roof looks bad: Cosmetics and aesthetics do matter to homeowners and potential buyers. If your roof is worn, has algae staining that won’t clean up or has patches of moss on it, boosting its appearance with a new layer of shingles will make a very nice difference.

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If none of these reasons to get a new roof apply, then you’re probably done here! If you’re not sure about your roof’s condition, hiring a home inspector or roofing contractor to inspect it can be a preventative measure before a roof failure and the extensive and expensive damage it can cause.

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Asphalt Shingles Prices at Lowe’s & Home Depot: GAF, OC, Onduvilla 3D

How to Select the Best Type of Asphalt Shingles for your DIY Project when shopping at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s home improvement store, or Online:

OC TruDefinition Duration Driftwood shingle bundles for sale at Lowe’s

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We’ll save you the trip to each store (and gas) by providing the following details: Retail Cost per bundle and square (100 sq.ft.) of shingles, Best options for DIY roofing projects, and overview of each product/brand

Before we get into the details of how to select the best type of roofing shingles, let’s first discuss the general roofing shingle options that home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have to offer.

Both chains offer roofing products from the most popular roofing brand and the number one seller of asphalt shingles in America, GAF.

With Home Depot, GAF products represent about 80% of all asphalt shingle products available through the stores and online. Home Depot’s other roofing shingle option is the Onduvilla brand, which is available for online purchasing.

With Lowe’s, GAF shingles are roughly 50% of their overall offerings for asphalt shingles. Lowe’s also carries Owens Corning roofing products, which is another popular brand comprising another half of roofing shingles available for sale in Lowe’s stores and online.

The Onduvilla shingles are not the typical kind of shingles. Onduvilla specializes in what is known as 3D shingles, which have a wavy pattern and can be used as a stand-alone type shingle (like the popular types) but is more or less geared toward building owners with a metal roof that might benefit from this as an additional layer of roofing.

Because of how atypical this product is, we won’t be including it as part of the selection process, but we did want to mention it as a high-end and a fairly unique roofing option. The Onduvilla shingles cost about $50 per bundle (20 sq.ft.) or $250 per square, with 10 pieces in each bundle.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Both Lowe’s and Home Depot stores provide all the roofing accessories including underlayments and Ice-and-Water shields, ridge caps, and vents, to make for a complete roofing system.

Below, we list the costs for each option, along with the required components. We won’t provide costs for flashing as that varies in purpose, and it’s therefore best to discuss with either a professional contractor or store specialist to make sure you are obtaining the most suitable product for the job.

Note: in many cases, prices on the products are almost exactly the same between the two stores. However, when this is not the case, we are providing the lowest cost from either store, and if there is significant difference, we’ll let you know.

Leak barrier / Underlayment material

  • GAF WeatherWatch Leak Barrier (aka Underlayment) = $49.50 for 150 sq.ft. roll
  • Grace Roll Roofing Underlayment = $138.00 for 225 sq.ft. roll

Starter Shingles

  • GAF Pro-Start Black Starter Shingles = $36.90 for 120 linear feet
  • Owens Corning Starter Shingles Black = $22.60 for 100 linear feet (through Lowe’s)

Ridge Vent

  • GAF Cobra Ridge Low Profile Exhaust Vent = $49.00 for 20 ft. roll
  • GAF Cobra 3 (Plastic) Ridge Exhaust Vent = $82.30 for 4 ft. piece
  • Owens Corning VentSure Plastic Roll Ridge Vent = $60.10 for 20 ft. roll

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Pros & Cons of GAF Shingles – Costs – Unbiased GAF Roofing Reviews

GAF is at or near the top of the best-selling asphalt shingles list. Is GAF’s enviable market share the result of consistent quality and performance, or is it driven by a large marketing budget that helps cover its flaws? Let’s explore.

GAF Woodland_Shingles Roof
via GAF

There are obvious things to like about GAF – the wide selection of asphalt shingle styles and colors are sold nationally, and if you need more of the same shingles five or ten years later, they will likely be available.

On the downside, it is well documented that GAF, like most other shingle manufacturers, sometimes denies warranty claims that seem legitimate. The company settled a major class action lawsuit over warranty claims on defective shingles manufactured from 1998 to 2009, primarily at one plant. Let’s dig deeper.

Are GAF Shingles the Right Choice for Your Home?

This investigative look at GAF shingles is for homeowners who are considering GAF products and want to do their due diligence before making the roofing material decision.

This gives you the perspective of contractors that have installed GAF shingles for decades, home inspectors that have inspected hundreds of GAF-covered homes, and homeowners that live with GAF shingles on their roof every day.

Pros

Let’s look at the GAF shingle pros from the three perspectives mentioned: Installers, inspectors and homeowners.

Why roofing contractors like GAF shingles: There are a couple reasons that most roofers are happy to install GAF products, and some swear by them.

  • The GAF complete roofing system: When you purchase mechanical systems, an HVAC system for example, it’s important that the components such as the condensing unit, indoor coil, gas furnace and the thermostat control are designed to work together. The result is optimized performance.
Components of GAF asphalt roofing system
GAF – The Lifetime Roofing System

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