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Re-Roofing vs. Roof Replacement: Which Is Which?

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

If your roof is at the end of its lifespan or you’re starting to see some frequent, more extensive damages on it, it’s probably time for a new roof. But before you get one, you should know what your options are and which would be the best one for you.

When it comes to roofing and new roofs, there are many different terms out there, some of which you may already know. For example, some of the most frequent ones are roof replacement, tear-off, re-roofing, and overlay. But what do they actually mean? Are all those terms interchangeable and refer to the same roofing process, or are they completely different?

Keep reading to find out! We’ll help you understand the terms and processes better so that next time you talk to a roofer, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about, and you’ll know how to choose the best option for yourself.

What Is Re-Roofing?

Re-roofing is also called an overlay. It refers to the installation of a new roof over the existing one without tearing that existing roof off. This means that a new, additional layer of shingles will be added to your roof, on top of the existing shingles, without removing them first.

Re-roofing can be done on older roofs, those that are reaching the end of their lifespan but are in relatively good condition. These are roofs whose shingles are starting to break down, crack, curl or go completely missing, but whose underlying structures are in good condition, sturdy and undamaged. However, without removing the old shingles, it’s not possible to determine with 100% certainty that the underlying structures actually are in good condition.

Therefore, at Nailed Right Roofing & Construction we will always advise a full roof replacement, as placing a new layer of shingles over your existing ones is rarely a good idea.

Before making any re-roofing decision, it’s important to talk to your roofer, have a thorough inspection to make sure that the structural integrity of the roof is not compromised in any way, and then make the decision based on hard facts and expert advice.

It is true that re-roofing is usually a less expensive option than a complete roof replacement, but considering the potential structural issues that may arise, it might end up costing you more.

Is Re-Roofing a Good Idea?

As we already mentioned, re-roofing or an overlay means installing a new shingle layer over the old one. But the important thing to note here is that Installing a second layer can lead to serious structural damages and other issues to your home.

For your roof to be a potentially good candidate for re-roofing, it would need to be in good overall condition, which means that there shouldn’t be any underlying damages, issues with the decking, or problems with any other part of the roof.

While some homeowners might find re-roofing appealing due to its affordability, it’s important to mention that without removing your old roof first, you’re setting yourself up for potentially serious and costly issues in the future. Why? Because your roofer won’t be able to properly check your deck for damaged plywood that requires immediate attention, leaving it prone to even more damage.

Having your old shingles completely removed and replaced with new ones will, therefore, always prove to be a more sustainable option, and the reason is very simple. You will avoid all the structural and other risks that may come with re-roofing.

Your roofer will be able to determine the condition of your roof after a detailed inspection, and you should only opt for re-roofing if your contractor advises it. And if they advise against it, then roof replacement will be the best and only option.

What Is a Roof Replacement?

Roof replacement essentially means installing a completely new roof, from the deck up, after tearing off the old one. That’s why a roof replacement is sometimes also called a roof tear-off.

The entire existing roof is replaced with a new roof and a new roofing material. And since the entire roof is being changed, this process can be done on any roof, without limitations.

When having a roof replaced, you can choose to stick with the same roofing material you had, i.e., replace your old asphalt shingles with new asphalt shingles, or you could choose a completely different material. For example, if you had wooden shakes or shingles, you can now choose to install asphalt shingles that might provide better insulation and higher weather resistance than the previous material.

You can always discuss all your options with your roofer. They will be able to advise you on the best possible solution for your specific needs and conditions, whether it is choosing a material or deciding between a roof replacement and re-roofing.

Get Professional Advice & Top Service at Nailed Right Roofing & Construction

While re-roofing is an option that some homeowners might consider, at Nailed Right Roofing & Construction, we don’t recommend or conduct re-roofing, but highly encourage full tear-offs. Our team is proud to offer superior roof replacement services that will provide you with long-lasting protection and a beautiful home that is structurally sound and safe.

Our roofers at Nailed Right Roofing & Construction will conduct a free roofing inspection to determine the best and most efficient roof installation option for your home. Get in touch with us anytime and we’ll be more than happy to help you and answer all your questions!

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