Should you tear off your old roof or shingle over it?

Your roof has been a trusty protector of your castle for many years, shielding you and your loved ones from rain, wind, hail and all that mother nature has in her bag of tricks, but the time has come to get a new roof; or has it? What many people don’t realize is that when it’s time to get your roof redone, you can choose to either shingle over your existing roof, or tear-off the old roof, and start over. It’s important to know there are pros and cons to each and so we’ve outlined them for you below – then you can decide which option is best for your home and budget.

First let’s define each method:

New Roof or Tear Off (as it’s also referred to): This method is exactly what it sounds like: American Dream Home Improvement will tear off your existing roof and then install a completely new roof in its place.

Overlay: With an overlay, you keep your current shingle roof, and then shingle on top of it instead. It is important to know that this option can only be used if your roof has not been previously overlaid.

New Roof

PROS:

  • It provides an opportunity for the roofing team to get a clear look at your roof to potentially spot and repair any deeper-rooted structural problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • You have the option to choose a different material – if you wanted to go for a more custom look like shake or ceramic tile, tearing off your old roof is the time to make that type of transition.
  • Because everything is brand new, from the foundation of the roof and up, your roof will age evenly, considering you might get localized areas of roof damage as the roof ages. 
  • A new roof is going to increase your home’s resale value and is a major selling point. A nice new roof adds curb appeal!
  • A new roof is typically going to last longer than a re-roof. So, if you’re planning to stay in your house for a while, getting a new roof could be the way to go.

CONS:

  • Probably the biggest con is that getting a new roof is significantly more costly than an overlay.
  • Higher labor, material fees, plus fees for disposing of the old materials results in higher costs.
  • Installing a new roof versus an overlay takes longer, which means a longer period living through a construction zone and possibly have to pay for alternate lodging for the same time period.

Roof Overlay

PROS:

  • Because you’re just adding another layer of shingles on top of the existing roof, your labor costs will be considerably less.
  • Your home will be under construction for a shorter length of time—great if you need a new roof very quickly, or if you don’t have the budget for alternate lodging while your roof is under construction.
  • All shingle manufacturers honor the warranty, whether used for a reroof or a new roof. If the job is done correctly, with the new layer of shingles laid flat over the existing shingles, the old roof will cushion the new one and act as a secondary barrier against wind or water breaking through the new shingles.
  • Done correctly, a reroof job will look as good and should last for as long as a “new” roof, for a lot less money and a lot less hassle.

CONS:

  • By overlaying, you’re essentially adding another roof to the top of your home. Another roof adds weight to the top of your home, which can put the structural integrity of your roof into question.
  • Depending on the age of the existing roof, it could be uneven due to years of wear and tear. By placing shingles on top of a weathered roof, there is the risk it won’t look as good as a brand-new roof would. American Dream Home Improvement will advise openly and honestly on whether your roof is a good candidate for a reroof.
  • Shingles that installed over the existing shingle roof may not last their full life expectancy, due to extra heat trapped by the extra layers which can cause shingles to curl and break down.
  • When you tear-off an old roof, you can see what’s underneath, but with a roof overlay, you don’t get that opportunity. A roof inspector might notice an issue during the initial inspection or just by walking on the roof, but outside of that you won’t know what kind of condition the decking of your roof is in, potentially leading to bigger problems later.
  • Sooner or later, your roof will need replacing. When that happens instead of just one layer of roof to replace, you’ll have two. That means double the labor and debris to dispose of.

Whether you decide to go with a less costly roof overlay or bite the bullet and tear off the old roof and replace with a new roof, American Dream Home Improvement’s team of highly trained roofing technicians can help you make the best decision. We offer a free, no-obligation inspection to make things easier. Give us a call today: 630-381-0782 or contact us online.