Tear off vs. Overlay

Sometimes, you can put an overlay on a roof to fix problems. In other cases, however, you may have to have the whole thing torn off and redone. This is sometimes a code issue. There are instances where the damage to a roof is just too bad to make an overlay a good option.

An overlay can be done when there is only one layer of roofing and when the damage isn’t that bad. The advantagesof doing an overlay include:

Lower cost
Less time to complete
Less waste to dispose of

A good overlay job can last a very long time and, provided the decking underneath the roof is in good condition, your roof should be perfectly serviceable and attractive. When the damage is too far-gone you will want to go ahead and have a tear off done.

Tear Off

A tear off involves removing the entire roof and laying down a new one. There are many reasons that this may need to be done and why an overlay may not be a realistic option for you.

Layers: most of the time, the building codes allow a maximum of two layers on a roof. If an overlay has already been done, you’ll have to have a tear off done to repair any damage.

Other reasons that you’ll need a tear off include

Sagging between the rafters or trusses
Dry rot
Damage from water and storms
Roofing materials that are not up to code
Severe damage

No matter how skilled a roofer may be, there are some cases when a roof is so deteriorated that there is no way to fix it. This means that you’re looking at a tear off. The costs will be higher and the job will take longer than an overlay, but the roof you end up with will be as good as new. It will be new, in fact! It’s a good idea to ventilate your attic when you do this work, as well, if it hasn’t been done already.

Call an Expert

Roof Replacement Services can provide you with roof repairs and new roofs, when needed. If your roof has been badly damaged by a storm, or if it’s just been around so long that it is no longer providing you with the protection and energy efficiency you need, be sure to give us a call. Arthur Wells is a Certified CertainTeed Master Shingler, so the work is always top notch!


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