To Re-Roof or Not to Re-Roof: Is an Overlay Really Your Best Option?

If you have a home for any decent length of time, there’s a good chance that you will need to have some work done on your roof at some point. Whether your roof gets damaged from wind and rain or it just needs a new look, there are a few options at your disposal for replacing your existing roof.

There are two main ways you can fix a roof. You can totally replace the shingles that are already on your roof, or you can shingle over them with what’s known as an “overlay.” As with most things, both ways of fixing a roof have their pros and cons. Here’s a quick guide to the two different options so you can determine which one’s right for you and your home.

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Installing New Shingles

Replacing the damaged areas of your roof or the entire roof completely is the overall best things you can do if you don’t want problems in the future. In this scenario, professionals will remove the existing roofing and replace it with new shingles or roofing material of your choice.

The immediate problem that most people have with this method is the cost. It is the most expensive option, but, again, it’s also the best option. Sure, you may pay a little more upfront, but you’ll be able to avoid problems in the future that can cost you even more.

When your roof is replaced entirely, it gives the professionals a chance to look for leaks and other structural damage and repair it before it becomes a major problem. This also gives you the opportunity to completely reinvent your roof with the latest technology so that you have the best possible roofing available at the time. It may be the most expensive option, but you may be kicking yourself down the road if any problems arise from having not chosen this option.

Overlaying Your Roof

As you can probably guess, overlaying your roof is the inferior option, but it’s not unheard of and may make more sense to you depending on your situation.

The best thing about overlaying a roof is the cost and the time you will save. When professionals overlay a roof, they literally just lay the new roofing on top of the old, which allows them to work quickly and cleanly. This can lower the costs dramatically, saving you money up front

The downsides to overlay can be a problem, though. First, you now basically have two roofs, one on top of the other, which adds more weight to your house. This can cause structural problems down the road. Also, there’s no opportunity to look for leaks or structural damage because the old roof won’t be removed, and if you aren’t lucky, you can bet that there will be problems in the future.

Of course, the options are up to you.

More Problems With Overlay

Another possible issue with overlaying your roof rather than replacing it is that your local government may not allow such a practice.

Because of the possible drawbacks of overlay — structural problems, mainly — local building codes may not allow for the overlaying of a roof. This means that you need to spend time researching whether or not you’re allowed to overlay and then possibly having to petition the government to do so if they frown upon the practice. This will take time and money and it may even make the offset savings of overlaying in the first place disappear.

So What Should You Do?

As with any big project, you need to evaluate your needs and financial health in order to make the best decision.

Sure, replacing your roof entirely is the best long-term option, but it does cost more, If you are strapped for cash, your only option may be to go with an overlay, especially for a just a small portion of a damaged roof. On the other hand, if you have the money, then you should probably go for the new roof because it will last longer and prevent future problems.

In the end, it’s up to you which option you decide to go with. They each have their pros and cons, but total replacement seems like the way to go if you can manage it.

You should check in on the condition of your roof every so often to make sure it doesn’t need to be repaired. For more roofing concerns, you can visit www.wildwoodroof.com/residential-roof-repair/.

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Nathan Holden is a construction worker who is always looking for the latest industry trends. When he finds them, he loves to share them by posting on homeowner and DIY blogs.

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  • You are right, installing a new roof, though expensive, is always a best and a long term effective solution, but to avoid going into a situation where you need to replace the roof before its life time is to get your roof inspected atleast twice an year by a qualified professional and carry out preventive maintenance when damages are small, otherwise these damages may grow to become bigger.
    Adam Sharpley recently posted…Is Roofing Warranty Going to Cover the Roof’s Lifespan?My Profile

  • I think this decision mus be based on the fact that whether you want to live in the house for a longer period of time or just want to stay for a while and then sell it off. If are in for a longer haul then it is always better to get the existing roof completely replaced otherwise you will do find with overlay because it is a cheaper option.
    Ron Pickle recently posted…Things to Consider in the Cost of Roof RepairMy Profile

  • Rebecca, I like your point about how replacing the entire roof is the best solution if you’re looking to avoid any problems in the future. I also like how a professional roofer can then look for any issues or structural damages when doing the replacement. I have a straight gabled roof with a 5/12 walk-able pitch. I’d love to replace my old 3-tab shingles with a newer architectural shingle. It might be time to have a licensed professional come out to assess my roof. I suppose if I need to replace my entire roof, I’d want to see if using a synthetic felt with three feet of ice and water shield going along the side of the eves would be recommended.

  • It’s not a good idea to overlay a roof than a complete tear off and replacement for the very reason, is that you can’t examine the decking to determine if there is ant damage that need to be repaired.As you pointed out overlay will give you problems in future which we don’t like as and extra spending.Great blog to tackle!

    Cheers,
    Jerry

  • Hi Rebecca. You’re right. You always have to do with what makes sense financially. However, if your roof is in bad condition I would get the overlay with the intention of saving up for a new roof in the future. You can also ask your roofer if they over any financing or if they are willing to barter. If you’re a plumber, hair dresser, baker, etc, you may be able to work a deal. It’s OK to think outside of the box when it comes to paying for a new roof and it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Just ask:
    “Can you space the payments out?”
    “Do you offer financing?”
    “Do you barter?”
    “How can we make this work?”
    “Do you offer discounts for xyz?”

  • I agree that a replacing a very old roof is important and the right thing to do. I once hired a contractor to check the old roof that my house had. He said age is a key factor until your roof has battled some crazy weather. He was a skilled man. He also shared that replacement decision must rest upon how old and how much of the roof needs a job. Cost vs benefits is the right approach.

  • This is some really good information about roofing options. It is good to know that overlays will law new roofing materials over the top of the existing. That is a good thing for me to now that it would be smart for me to know as a new homeowner.

  • Keeping your roof safe with regular inspections and repairing for minor leaks can save you from major investments like replacing your roof. But if there is no way out and roof has lived its life for decades then installing new roof would be better choice.

  • I’m guilty. Who would have thought, neglecting to replace the roof won’t save much time and money over the year. Thrifting is good. However, being practical will take the rest to provide the house solution.

  • Hello, I agree that replacing a very old roof is important and the right thing to do. Once I hired a contractor to check the old roof that my house had. He said age is a key factor until your roof has battled some crazy weather. I think he was a skilled man. He also shared that the replacement decision must rest upon how old and how much of the roof needs a job. Cost vs benefits is the right approach. I get much information form the contractor.

  • You differentiate very well, actually, I was confused that what to do but now it is clear from your blog. I come up with a point that it is better if I replace my whole roof, yes it cost more but also live more and gives a new look to my house.
    Overlay goes best if a small portion of your roof is damaged and it has not been overlaid previously. Well, thanks for the sharing.

  • Yeah. You are right. It’s better to have knowledge about roof management and how to take care of it. With my point of view, I did not know whether I need a re-roofing or not until I reached your blog. Thank you for enlightened how to determine one.

  • Homeowners should have regular inspections of the roofing. Overlaying roof is an option to save cost but it cant have good output cause it might harm. We should hire professionals to assess the roofings.

  • Yes, Thank you! actually, I was also thinking the same if our roof need’s a re-roof or not since it been ages and haven’t been replaced since then, it was only maintained by checking the roof and recoating but based on your article it seems I have to call on the roofers to check it if I needed a re-roof, thank you again for blogging this!

  • Nice share. I think all of these five reasons are good enough to convince a home owner why he/she should hire a professional roofing contractor for roof repair. Every home is unique. As a result, only an expert of roof repair could point out the exact roof repair solutions that could properly address your concerns. So, I highly recommend people to hire professionals when they need roofing contractor

  • You are right, installing a new roof, though expensive, is always a best and a long term effective solution, but to avoid going into a situation where you need to replace the roof before its life time is to get your roof inspected atleast twice an year by a qualified professional and carry out preventive maintenance when damages are small, otherwise these damages may grow to become bigger.carry

  • Hello, Nice share. I think all of these five reasons are good enough to convince a home owner why he/she should hire a professional roofing contractor for roof repair. Every home is unique. As a result, only an expert of roof repair could point out the exact roof repair solutions that could properly address your concerns. So, I highly recommend people to hire professionals when they need roofing contractor

  • I’m almost scared to admit this, but this year our kids don’t really have an official math curriculum. They are young-grade 5, grade 2, and K. We use technology, some worksheets, Life of Fred, a lot of manipulative, games, and a whole lot of real life. It has been going really well. And by the way, I am 100% sure that my oldest two hate math-they have told me a lot.roofers

  • Really great information about roofing options. this article is good to know that overlays will law new roofing materials over the top of the existing. That is a good thing for me to now that it would be smart for me to know as a new homemaker……..

  • I like that you have introduced the idea of an overlaying roof to us. We like the idea that it will be a cost-effective remedy for the roof. We will need the roofing repair contractor nearby to help us out on this.

  • When it comes to roofing and h8ring roofing contractors most people baulk at the cost. But guys you have to remember the alternative is allowing damp to seep into the structure of your home which can cost 3 times the price of a roofing contractor to replace or totally re roof your home

  • I’d been planning to have my roof replaced because my current one is damaged due to a huge tree that fell on top of it. I guess you’re right; it’ll be best to have it replaced anyway since the professionals will be able to check any possible leaks, structural damages and repair it before the problem worsens. Speaking of which, it’ll be best if I’ll start looking for a roofing repair service that’ll be able to address this concern.

  • I agree that replacing a very old roof is important and the right thing to do. I once hired a contractor to check the old roof that my house had. He said age is a key factor until your roof has battled some crazy weather. He was a skilled man. He also shared that the replacement decision must rest upon how old and how much of the roof needs a job. Cost vs benefits is the right approach.roof repair raleigh nc

  • I’m planning to have new shingles installed on my roof because my current is starting to wear out, probably due to inclement weather as well. I agree with you that it will be best to have the whole roof replaced so the roofer will have a chance to look for possible issues and leaks. It’s also good to know that through this method, I will have a chance to incorporate the latest roofing technology.

  • I really liked how you explained the exact overlaying situation there. Sometimes it is just the right cost-saving idea but at times it can be a total disaster. In many regions overlaying practice is just not allowed by the authorities as it can cause some serious structural damage to the framework of the house. Replacing the roof at the end of the day is the best solution to save oneself from further complications. All those who are considering a Roof overlay to quickly flip the house, should know that a newly put roof not only increases the home’s curb appeal but also increase the home value significantly!