If you need a new roof, and you currently have an asphalt shingle roof, you may not need to take off the old roof before you install a new shingle or metal roof. Instead, your roof can stack the new roof on top, in what’s called a roof overlay.

But is a roof overlay really the best option for you?

Many roofers have a strong preference when it comes to roof overlays vs. roof tear-offs, and that includes us. Here’s why it’s not even a contest.

The Benefits of Roof Overlays

Keeping the first layer of the roof on is mostly about saving money. It’s a significant amount of work for a roofing crew to tear off an old roof. Roofers will charge less if they don’t have to do that part of the job.

Also, if you’re installing a metal roof and are concerned about the noise it may make during a storm, keeping that first layer of roofing may help. The first layer insulates you from the sound of the metal roof.

The Drawbacks of Roof Overlays

Unfortunately, leaving the first layer of the roof on can also create some problems. If there is an issue with the first roof, such as lack of ventilation or moisture intrusion, leaving it on can give it time to damage your home and pass its problems onto the second layer of roof.

If the first roof is problem-free, it still presents the challenge of an uneven surface. It’s hard to correctly install underlayment, especially the ice and water protector, on an uneven shingle surface. For this reason, most shingle manufacturers recommend you take off the original roof before you install the new. You may even void some warranties by installing a new roof on top of an old one.

The Benefits of Roof Tears Offs

When you tear off the old roof before you install the new, you get better installation and better performance. No problems from the first roof can be passed onto the new, and you have a clean slate which makes installing the new roof simpler.

Additionally, you can only have two layers of roof on a home at a time. So, if you tear off now, you can always opt to stack shingle layers next time. As this is the proper way to install a roof, you should have full warranty coverage from your manufacturer and no concerns about performance.

The Drawbacks of Roof Tear Offs

The only drawback of getting a roof tear off is that it takes more time and thus costs more money. Your roofers need to gently pry of every shingle, tear off the underlayment and any other materials, and then properly dispose of them.

Which is Best for Your Home?

At Kelly Roofing, we only offer full tear-offs.

Roof overlays might save you money in the short run, but not in the long run. Overlays can make it harder to diagnose issues with your roofing system, giving small problems the opportunity to turn into big ones.

One of the biggest benefits of our CertainTeed roofing systems is the generous warranty coverage, but that coverage doesn’t include overlayed shingles.

If you’re interested in a metal roof but you’re worried about the additional noise, don’t be. Our metal roofing systems are designed to insulate and significantly reduce noise, so all you’ll get is a gorgeous, durable metal roof.

And if you’re worried about the cost of a new roof, the other good news is that we offer free estimates. Call or contact us online to get yours.