Do You Always Have to Remove the Old Roof for a New Roof?

When homeowners are in the market for a new roof, one of the first questions they often ask is “Do I have to remove the old roof, or can I just roof over it?” This is a difficult question to answer because while it may be possible to roof over an existing layer of shingles, it’s usually always a better choice to remove the old roofing material and install a new roof.

To help you make the best decision for your home, let’s take a closer look at your two options: a tear off versus an overlay.

Historical houses on a residential street taken in a suburban neighborhood.

What is a Tear-Off?

As the name implies, a tear-off is a full roof replacement which involves completely tearing off your existing roof and installing a brand new roof.

Advantages of a Tear-Off

All New Material

With a roof tear-off, every single part of your roofing will be replaced with all new material. For roofs with deteriorating decking or underlayment, a new roof replacement solves your problems. With a tear-off, your roofer can also locate and repair any developing leaks which protects your home from dangerous mold and rot issues.

Option to Upgrade

If you purchased an older home, chances are the materials on your existing roof weren’t the highest quality. A tear-off gives you a perfect opportunity to select upgraded materials of your choice for your new roof.

Greater Durability

A new roof containing all new materials will last longer than a roof with parts that have been exposed to the elements for many years. During a tear-off, your roofer is able to thoroughly examine all of the parts of your roof and make any necessary repairs to stop further problems before they cause major damage.

Longer Lifespan

A new and properly installed shingle roof can last 20 to 30 years, so it’s an investment that will last for many years.

Increased Property Value

A new roof can add more than $10,000 to your home’s resale value and is a strong selling point. This is the ideal choice if you are thinking of selling in the next few years.

Disadvantages of a Tear-Off

More Expensive

On average, a tear-off roofing project costs around 25 percent more than an overlay. It requires more labor to completely remove and dispose of the old roofing material which adds to the total cost.

What is an Overlay?

An overlay is where new shingles are installed on top of an existing layer of shingles. This option is only for roofs that haven’t previously been overlaid.

Advantages of an Overlay

Lower Cost

There’s less labor involved with an overlay and there’s no need to dispose of old roofing material, so it’s less expensive than a tear-off.

Shorter Work Timeline

An overlay is usually completed in less time than a complete roof replacement.

Disadvantages of an Overlay

  • An overlay is not as reliable and durable as a new roof.
  • Adds weight which can affect the structural integrity of your home.
  • More difficult to check the decking underneath the shingles.
  • Inability to track leaks or see possible damage.
  • Shorter lifespan with an overlay versus a tear-off.
  • Negative resale value.

Ready for a New Roof?

By replacing your worn-out roof with a new roof, you’re giving your home better protection from the elements, as well as increasing the property value. However, whatever roofing option you decide is best for your home, it’s important to hire a trusted, local professional roofing company with a solid reputation and years of experience. Contact Armorvue Home Exteriors for any roofing related questions or needs. We’re setting up virtual appointments and we’d love to talk with you about a new roof for your home.


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