Tear Off Vs. Overlay | Which Is The Best Option For Your New Roof?

A new roof is one of the most significant investments a homeowner can make. However, there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to a roof. When replacing a roof, your roofing contractor can choose to tear off all the old roofing materials and start from scratch or opt for an overlay, where the new shingles are placed directly on top of the old. Which is better? And why? Here's what you need to know.

Tear Off | Pros and Cons

A tear-off roof installation involves stripping away the old shingles, roofing paper, and ice membrane and then scraping the surface to remove every last nail. It's hard, tedious work. You have to pay the crew for the long hours it takes to get a fresh surface to work on, and you'll need to order a dumpster to haul away all the waste. Of course, these expenses add to your overall cost.

However, a tear-off has a few advantages over an overlay installation that can make it a better option, including:

  • Allows the roofing contractor to inspect the roof deck's structural integrity. If there are any issues with the roof deck, they can be addressed before the new shingles are installed.
  • Tearing off the old roof allows you to start with a clean slate for the new roof, meaning the new shingles could have a sturdier foundation and may last longer.

Overlay | Pros and Cons

An overlay installation involves installing new shingles directly over the existing ones without removing anything. Overlays are faster, cleaner, and less disruptive than tear-offs.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider, including:

  • Old shingles can create a lumpy base onto which new shingles are installed, leading to an uneven appearance
  • Adhering new shingles to old can lead to less overall stability
  • A new layer on an old roof adds extra weight, which can cause roof deck sagging and other structural problems

No Clear Winner?

As you can see, there are benefits to each method. The deciding factor may be where you live. Your roofing contractor must comply with state and local building codes when installing a new roof. Some areas may prohibit an overlay in certain situations. For example, many municipalities require the existing shingles to be securely fastened to the roof before you can overlay new shingles. In other words, you cannot do an overlay if your shingles are loose, brittle, or breaking apart.

For more info, contact a local company like Commercial Solutions, Inc.