What is a Roof Tear-Off?

Your roof is old. It’s leaking. You see shingles that are cracked or missing. It’s time for an upgrade. Your first thought is “No more leaks!” Your second is “How much?” Reputable roofers are the first to tell it can be expensive, however, they also know it’s an investment in the structural integrity of your home.

The two most popular options for roof repair are an overlay or a roof tear-off. Here’s a closer look at how these impact your roof and your budget.

Roof Overlay

In some cases, an experienced roofer can put a new roof right over an old one. They can install new shingles on top of the roofing material already covering your home. The big advantage of a roof overlay is the savings. It usually costs about 25 percent less than a roof tear-off. The deal breaker is the fact you might be roofing over potential problems that will wipe out any short-term savings.

If your old decking is in good shape, this is an option. Decking is the material that holds everything else, like the roofing and other coatings.

Skilled roofers note three major problems with an overlay:


The big problem is you need to remove the roofing materials in order to make an accurate assessment of the state of the decking. Sheathing rot or moisture damage from ice, snow and rain can lurk underneath serviceable looking shingles and other roofing materials. Adding another layer can cover up a problem.


Have you seen a sagging roofline? Too many roof layers are often the cause. Roofing materials are heavy. With each layer, the weight builds. The standard framing of most homes is made to handle only a certain load. The extra weight from additional layers of roofing can damage your home.

Heat buildup:

Another less obvious problem is the fact that an overlay traps heat. Layers of roofing materials create an environment that speeds up how quickly your roof ages.

Roof Tear-Off

That’s why seasoned roofers usually recommend a complete roof tear-off. With this option, they first pull up the old roofing materials and expose the decking. With a clean decking, the contractor can thoroughly inspect the decking, make repairs as needed, then install a new roof from scratch.

More expensive? Yes, but not outrageously so. You get a new roof built on a sound, sturdy surface. No guessing involved because you know your roof is intact and undamaged. You get peace of mind. Your new roof is solid and dependable. No worries about undetected leaks or rot that can cause future inconvenience, damage and financial nightmares.

Worried about your roof? Call the experts at Warner Roofing today to learn about options and a free estimate.

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