Leaks, missing shingles, damage -- these are all signs that it is time for a roof replacement. When you are shopping around for roofs, you will likely come across two main options for asphalt shingle roofs, either the full teardown option or the overlay option. A teardown is the standard option where the old roof is removed down to the decking and a new roof is installed. A roof overlay, also sometimes called re-roofing or re-shingling, is a process where the new shingles are installed directly over the top of the old shingles. The following guide can help you determine if this is the right choice for you.
Is Your Roof Decking In Good Shape?
Since an overlay doesn't allow for a full inspection of the decking, you will need to ask your roofer for a professional assessment. To do such an assessment, the roofer will likely inspect the decking from the underside -- which means accessing your attic. If there are no signs of water damage, holes, or rot, then the decking is likely in good condition and an overlay is a viable option.
Are There Any Major Leaks?
Major leaks may mean that an overlay isn't possible. If your roofer can trace the source of the leak and it can be effectively patched, you may still be able to consider an overlay. Each leak will have to be individually assessed to determine whether it is likely to return regardless of the state of the shingles above. In some cases leaks are caused by an issue with the decking installation or from damage to the waterproofing underlayment beneath the original shingles. Since the underlayment can't be accessed for repair without a complete teardown, a full replacement may be the only option.
Is Your Current Roof an Overlay?
An overlay can only be applied once. If your current roof is an overlay, then a third overlay simply isn't an option and you will need to have a complete teardown replacement.
Are You On a Tight Budget?
An overlay is typically much less expensive than a full teardown and replacement. The savings come from the cost of labor mainly, since tearing off the old shingles and preparing for a new installation is much more time consuming compared to just adding new shingles. Further, there are savings on materials since new underlayment isn't necessary. As a bonus, an overlay also has a shorter total installation time.
Contact a roofing installation service in your area to determine if an overlay is the right option for your home.