If you live in your home long enough, you’re inevitably going to need a new roof. When you do, you will have a choice of either tearing your current roof off and starting from scratch or recovering your current roof. Learn the difference between a reroof vs. tear off and the advantages and disadvantages to help you narrow down your decision.

Most of the time, the decision is pretty clear-cut. If a major storm has blown off half the shingles of your home or if a massive tree limb has obliterated a good chunk of the roof, there’s only one way to go. At that point, you’ll also probably need to replace the underlayment or even roof decking.

Or maybe the roof was poorly installed in the first place. As much as we like to think our homes were all built with the same attention to detail, certain contractors may not take the time and effort they should–especially if they’re out to make a quick buck. They don’t usually last very long, but their mistakes remain.

If the roof was installed poorly and there are leaks throughout the roof, you may need to replace all of the components of the roofing system. If the leaks were allowed to linger, there may even be structural damage to the attic as well. At that point, the reroof vs. tear-off debate is moot.

In fact, there’s usually only one reason you’d choose a reroof (sometimes called an overlay): You want to make a major change to the look of your home. An updated roof can add value immediately, improving the curb appeal of your home and becoming a selling point. But the conditions need to be right.

Tear the Roof Off

As the name implies, tearing off your roof means you will be starting from scratch when it comes to the roofing material. One of the nice things about this approach is that you will be able to see trouble spots, such as areas that have started to rot or have become damaged.

Another great thing about completely tearing your roof off is you can increase the overall value of your home should you ever decide to sell your property. Most roofing materials today come with 20 or 30-year warranties, so a brand new roofing replacement is like hitting the refresh button on its lifespan.

As for disadvantages, tearing your roof off is more expensive than a recovery or roof overlay. There is much more labor when you tear off the old roof, not to mention the disposal of the old roofing. The roof replacement method could also add another day to the installation.

The Reroof Process

Basically, you put a new layer of shingles over an existing roof. The existing roofing material must be in good shape because you don’t want to just cover up trouble spots. When you put a new roof on top of the existing roof, issues will be much harder to find and address.

Although this process may save you money, you should familiarize yourself with the disadvantages. While recovering your roof is often a viable option, at some point you will eventually have no choice but to tear your roof off. When that happens, you’ll need to remove an extra layer of roof, which makes getting a new roof more labor-intensive and expensive.

Just be sure county codes and manufacturers say a 2nd layer can be installed, this may not be the case in some situations. It depends on the type of roofing and the condition of the roof and structure. Another roofing layer could exceed weight limits.

Reroof vs. Tear-Off: Making a Decision

Before you base your decision solely on finances or if it will help the home’s resale value, it’s better that you talk about the pros and cons with a roofing professional. Some of the factors that help determine your decision include how much longer your roof is expected to last, how many leaks you’ve had in the past that originated from your roof, and the overall condition of your roof.

Another thing to consider is what kind of roofing material you want to use. In most cases, a reroof vs. tear-off could come down to what the new roof will consist of. For example, if you currently have a shingle roof, and want to install a metal roof, a reroof isn’t an option because of the installation process.

The experts of Warner Roofing are here to help, whether you decide to recover your roof or tear it off. To learn more, give us a call at 360-694-0249.


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