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Everything You Need to Know About A Roof Overlay (And Why A Complete Tear-Off Is The Better Choice)

Occasionally, the team at Shanco gets asked about a roof overlay for a home. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a roof overlay is. Why we, at Shanco, do not recommend an overlay. And, why we suggest a complete tear-off and replacement instead of an overlay. 

First Things First, What Is A Roof Overlay? 

A roof overlay is a process where your entire roof has an additional layer of shingles placed on top of the existing shingles. The process of overlaying does not include any removal of old roofing materials, it strictly goes overtop of the existing shingles. 

Things To Consider With A Roof Overlay

The idea of covering your existing roof is that if your old roof has problems, covering it with new shingles isn’t fixing the problem. Overlaying is a band-aid, at best. 

In fact, in the long term, an overlay may do more damage than good. Overlays do not last as long as total roof replacement. And when it comes time to do a complete tear-off, your roofing company will be removing two roofs instead of one. Two roofs add weight to your home. An overlay can add up to 5,000 lbs. This additional weight can introduce structural problems to your home. 

If you are thinking of selling your home in the future, think of the potential buyers’ perspective. What sounds better, a new roof with a transferable warranty or a roof overlay where the original problems were never addressed and not warranted? 

Cons of a Roof Overlay

  • Roof overlays are a temporary fix

We consider roof overlays to be temporary because we aren’t replacing the structure of your roof system. We aren’t removing shingles and inspecting the condition of your roof deck, which could need replacing. 

  • What goes on between the layers of your roof

If your old shingles have mold or mildew growth, what’s stopping that from continuing to grow with an extra roof on top of it? Mildew doesn’t like direct sunlight and it also likes warmth so those two conditions can set up an environment where, over time, your roof could rot from the inside out and then will require a complete tear-off sooner than later. 

  • Uneven or curled shingles

If your old shingles are curling or are uneven, mounting a new shingle on top isn’t going to do much for you. The new shingles will be raised in spots, susceptible to wind damage, and may not qualify for a warranty.

  • Weight concerns

Adding an entire new roof on top of your existing roof is a substantial amount of weight. It can be up to an additional 5,000 lbs. That extra weight can cause structural problems that didn’t exist before. 

  • Cost of removal of the overlay

Having two roofs will increase the cost of removal in the future. 

  • Heat-trapping

Multiple layers of shingles trap extra heat in your home which will cause strain on your HVAC system.  

  • Resale value

Typically homebuyers do not want to deal with an overlay roof. First, it is a sign that there was a roof problem that was never properly addressed. Second, it will cost home buyers more to remove and have fixed properly because of the extra layer of shingles. 

  • Voided warranty

Shingles that cannot mount flat may lead to your warranty being voided. 

  • Home insurance coverage

Adding a second layer of shingles significantly increases the weight of your roof. Many insurance companies will not write a policy on an overlay.

What Is A Complete Roof Tear-Off?

A complete roof tear-off is where your roofing contractor removes all the layers of your roof in order to complete a total roof replacement. This allows your contractor to inspect the decking to ensure there isn’t mold, mildew, or rot. By tearing off the existing roof, homeowners can update their roofing system to ensure that everything is ventilated properly and have products like drip edge installed where they may not have been previously. Homeowners may decide to upgrade their ventilation as well. 

Why Shanco Recommends Complete Roof Tear-Offs

There are many reasons that Shanco recommends complete roof tear-offs.

  • Full replacement of your roof system

Your roof may look good but who knows what is happening beneath the shingles. Ripping off everything and replacing it is a great way to understand what’s been happening to your roof over the years. 

  • Upgrade your roof

Roofing technology has likely changed since the last time you had a roof replaced. As technology changes, so do durability. Don’t cut corners on the most important piece of your house.

  • HVAC efficiency

Updating your roof can help heat and cool your home easier. 

  • New roof warranty

Getting a new roof will likely come with a new warranty to make sure that your home remains safe and dry. Some warranties are transferable. Passing over a warranty to a new buyer is a great selling tool if you will be selling your home in the future.

  • ROI

A complete tear-off and replacement have an average ROI of 68.2% according to Zillow. 

  • Variables

An overlay has too many hidden variables that are problematic. From mold and mildew growth on the old shingles to sheathing rot and mold, the team at Shanco recommends removing your entire roof and replacing the roof. This way, you can control the variables and know that everything has been completely replaced and the work is warranted. 

  • Financing

We understand that roof replacement can be costly. Many roofing companies offer financing options or a home equity line of credit can help get the roof you deserve. 

Shanco, An Award-Winning Roofing Contractor, Provides Full-Roof Replacement in Washington, NOVA, and Richmond. 

Shanco has been serving our communities for over 20 years. We’ve won numerous industry awards and have added services such as siding, windows, and solar panels to our offerings. If you live in the Washington DC metro areaNorthern Virginia, or Richmond and have questions about your roof, please contact us to schedule a free estimate

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