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Tear Off vs Overlay – Which is Better?

A beautiful new replacement roof

Replacing your roof is a project that nobody looks forward to doing. Usually, you know it’s necessary because of the age and condition of your roof. So you start getting estimates from reputable companies and eventually one of these companies prices is much lower than everybody else. What happened? How are they able to be so much lower? Many times, they are quoting you an overlay roof.

What is an overlay?

An overlay is the act of adding new shingles over top of the layer you have now. They are typically only done on single layers and roofs with no obvious or visible damage.

Why would I choose an overlay?

In short, cost. Avoiding the complete tear-off of your existing shingles saves a ton of time and effort and therefore, the company can charge much less. That is about the end of the benefits of the overlay, however, because there are many drawbacks.

What are the drawbacks of an overlay?

To begin with, an overlay roof is like a giant bandaid over your already aged roof. If you have damaged shingles, you will just be hiding them under a new layer.

If you have sagging boards, trusses or dry rot, that will not be addressed during an overlay, but would be during a tear-off.

If you have leaks or damage from a storm, that will not be visible during an overlay, but would be during a tear-off. Finding the source of a leak is impossible without taking up all of the layers of the existing roof.

If you have materials or installation that are not up to code, an overlay will not address that problem, but a tear-off would.

If your attic has bad or non-existent ventilation, an overlay would not help you fix that, but a tear-off would.

If flashing is coming apart around your chimney or vents, an overlay would not address those problems, but a tear-off would.

If you were missing ice and water shield, that’s not something an overlay would fix, but would be fixed during a tear-off.

If you had missing or broken underlayment, an overlay would not add in new underlayment, but a complete roof tear-off would install new underlayment, protecting your roof boards.

A new roof installed as a tear off
Overlay roofs may save money in the short term but they can cost you in the long term.

Is an overlay ever a good idea?

We don’t think so, which is why we don’t do it. Pro Home Improvement guarantees the work that we do, because we take a holistic approach, fixing all ventilation, replacing soft boards, addressing all flashing, installing the ice and water shield and selecting the best possible underlayment and shingle that are available on the market. You get a new roof that is installed and guaranteed by professionals. With an overlay, you have to accept a compromise, and we don’t like to compromise on quality.

If you’d like to get a quote on a completely new roof and be assured that you would get the absolute best materials and workmanship available, call us at 888-776-1998 or get an estimate online.