Getting a new roof installed on your home is a big project that requires proper planning and coordination. If the roofing work extends over several days or weeks, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether it’s safe to continue living in the house during the roof replacement process. There are pros and cons to consider when deciding if you should stay or temporarily move out. The question many homeowners face is, “Is it safe to live in your house while your new roof is being installed?”
Is it safe to live in your house while your new roof is being installed?
The short answer is yes, it is generally safe to live in your home while a new roof is being put on. However, there are some precautions you should take and risks to be aware of. Roof replacements require heavy construction work overhead, generate noise and debris, and often involve structural changes to the home. So while your house may still be habitable, living below an active roofing project is not ideal and requires vigilance. Here are some key factors to consider:
Falling debris and overhead hazards
One of the biggest risks is falling debris as the old roof is torn off and new materials are installed. Nails, shingles, tools, and other objects can inadvertently get dropped. Wearing a hard hat when exiting or entering your home is recommended. Inform the roofing crew that the house is occupied so extra care is taken. Request safety nets or tarps be used to catch stray debris. Park vehicles away from the house to prevent damage.
Noise, vibrations, and distractions
The noise from roof work can be quite loud and disruptive if you work from home or need quiet. Power tools like nail guns and compressors running all day long can make it hard to focus. The vibrations through the structure may also bother some. Be prepared for lack of peace and quiet during business hours.
Parts of the roof structure may be temporarily exposed or unsupported while old roofing is removed. This can potentially impact the structural integrity of the home for a short period. Avoid going in the attic or areas where ceilings are opened up for roof access. Don’t let children play around construction zones.
Fumes and air quality
The odors from roofing materials like hot asphalt or adhesive fumes can permeate the home’s air. Dust and debris tracked inside can also be an irritant. Keep windows closed as much as possible and use air filters and fans to improve indoor air quality. Consider staying with a friend or relative if fumes are too strong.
The moving around of ladders, scaffolding, and heavy equipment will block normal entryways to your home. The crew may also occupy bathroom facilities or set up equipment in the driveway. Be ready to use alternative doors or plan your comings and goings around the roof work. Confirm access routes each day.
Turning off power or water lines may be required at points for roof tear-off or to modify vents, chimneys, etc. This can happen unexpectedly. Be prepared to be flexible if temporary shutdowns occur.
Damage to property
Even with protective tarps and care, some damage may happen to landscaping, outdoor furniture, vehicles, or other exterior property from debris. Document and photograph anything valuable around the house before work begins. Obtain written guarantees from the roofing company about repairing incidental damage.
Contact your homeowners insurance about any policy requirements regarding roof work. See if temporary supplemental coverage is recommended or required while the roof is being replaced and the home is less protected from weather.
Pets and supervision
The hubbub of construction activity can stress pets. Dogs may feel the need to bark at workers on “their” roof. Keeping pets indoors will also prevent them from being injured from debris or nails. Safely contain or supervise young children to protect them too. Post signs or alert the crew if special-needs family members require accommodation.
Safety precautions to take if living in your house during a roof replacement project
If you determine it’s best for your family to stay in your home while the new roof is installed, here are some precautions and preparation steps to take in order to maximize safety:
- Wear protective headgear like hard hats whenever exiting or entering the home.
- Remove vehicles from the driveway and park them a safe distance from the home.
- Install temporary fencing or barriers around yard play areas.
- Relocate patio furniture, barbecue grills, and other movable items away from the house.
- Back up essential computer files and data in case a temporary power loss occurs.
- Ensure roofing crews have access to bathroom facilities and drinking water.
- Run fans and air filters to reduce indoor dust and fumes.
- Keep pets indoors or safely penned up away from work activity.
- Plan alternative entry and exit routes if main doors are blocked.
- Hold a pre-construction meeting with roofers to coordinate schedules and activities.
- Document the condition of landscaping, outdoor structures, and vehicles beforehand.
- Notify neighbors about the project timeline so they are aware.
- Temporarily move vulnerable possessions like cars into offsite storage.
- Take precautions to prevent nail punctures in tires when driving during the project.
- Keep curtains and shades drawn on sides of home where roofers are working.
- Transfer noise-sensitive work like video calls to alternative locations.
- Remind children and family members to stay clear of construction zones.
- Check if roofing company offers repair guarantees for incidental damage.
- Verify insurance coverage is adequate during the roof replacement.
- Designate an offsite evacuation location in case major issues are discovered.
Options for temporarily moving out during your roof replacement project
Although remaining in your home during the roof installation is possible with proper precautions, for some families temporarily relocating makes sense. Here are some options to consider if vacating promises a less disruptive and safer experience:
Stay with nearby family or friends
If you have willing nearby relatives or friends with adequate room, staying with them for the roof project’s duration can be an easy and affordable solution. Offer to pay them for temporary utilities usage or contribute to food costs.
Rent an Airbnb or furnished rental
In many areas, renting a fully furnished apartment, condo, or house short-term via Airbnb or VRBO is available for comparable or less money than a hotel stay. You enjoy normal amenities and often more living space.
Relocate to a hotel, motel, or corporate housing
One of the quickest relocation options is booking extended stay lodging at a local hotel, motel, or corporate housing facility. Comparison shop rates. A suite style room gives more room and is more comfortable.
Take a family vacation
If the timing coincides with summer or holiday breaks, taking a family vacation lets you completely avoid the home construction. Just be certain to make arrangements for clearing deliveries, etc.
Visit relatives out of town
Spending a week or two with family who live out of town can transform a roofing hassle into a fun getaway. The change of scene will be positive for kids too.
Explore local attractions
If budget allows, book a few nights at a nearby family-friendly attraction like a resort, theme park hotel, or national park lodge. Make it an adventure.
Try a campground or RV
For DIY-lovers, pitching tents or parking an RV at a campground or RV park may appeal. Enjoy nature and convenience.
Regardless of whether if its best to hunker down or temporarily relocate during roof work, careful planning is key to minimizing disruption. Weigh all home occupancy risks and nuisance factors before deciding what works best for your family’s safety and sanity!