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  • Writer's pictureDry Tech Team

Roof Overlay: Is It the Best Roof Replacement Option?

The roof is your home’s first line of defense against the local weather. At some point in its lifespan, it will begin to manifest signs of wear and tear. While you can keep it in good condition through yearly maintenance, there will come a time when you’ll have to replace it with a new one. In doing so, you’ll give your home better protection from the elements and improve its curb appeal.

When it comes to roof replacement projects, there’s more than one way to go about it. One of them is a roof overlay. Dry Tech Roofing, one of the leading roofing contractors in the area, discusses everything you need to know about this option.

About Roof Overlay

A roof overlay is a roofing method that involves nailing the new roofing material directly on top of the existing roof. It may not be the most commonly used method among roofers, but it is usually the preferred option for homeowners hoping to save money on roofing costs.

If you are looking to invest in a new roof, a roof overlay is a quicker and cheaper choice. For one, it doesn’t require extensive labor and can take a day or so to complete depending on the size of the roof. Also, the roofer won’t have to bring a dumpster and deal with the debris of the old roof, thus helping you save on costs. Moreover, there are a lot fewer hindrances that can put this roofing project into a temporary halt like property damage caused by falling debris or wrecked landscaping due to hauled dumpsters.

Disadvantages of a Roof Overlay

For many reputable roofing companies, however, a roof overlay isn’t recommended. Unless your existing roof is in good condition with no structural damage, leaks, and other issues, it isn’t the best choice. There are several reasons why this is so, which we highlight below:

  • Low-Quality Roofing System

For the new roof to perform its intended function, the existing roof underneath it should be in near-perfect condition. Since you’re not tearing off the old roof, the roofer can’t perform a thorough inspection and examine its true condition. An experienced roofer might still identify signs of hidden damage or make an intelligent guess based on its age, but that’s just holding on to luck and hoping that things turn out fine after a few years.

  • Shorter Lifespan

A new roof installed over an old one that has damaged shingles and rotting decking may present long-term problems and won’t last long. The additional roofing materials tend to absorb more heat, causing them to deteriorate faster than if they were installed directly on the wood decking.

  • Reduced Visual Appeal

A worn-down roof provides a substandard base for the new one. Thus, an overlaid roof could look uneven and unsightly, especially if there are signs of settling and sagging on the old roof. Architectural shingles, which are designed and engineered to be installed on a flat surface, can’t be properly installed over an old roof. Apart from a flawed appearance, the new roof is likely to lose shingles due to high winds. The homeowner may be left dissatisfied with the result, leaving them with no choice but to pay for a complete tear-off. A roof overlay can indeed negatively affect your home’s curb appeal.

  • Extra Roof Load

An extra layer of shingles adds weight to the roof decking, affecting the home’s structural integrity. A roof overlay isn’t the best option if you have an older home or a home with structural or foundational issues.

  • Difficult to Maintain and Replace

Having two layers of material on your roofing system results in trickier maintenance. If there’s a leak, the water will move through these roof layers, changing directions to the point that you no longer can detect the source. A roof overlay can also increase the cost of your next roof replacement. When that time comes, the roofer will have to tear all of them, costing you more in labor and prolonging your project’s timeline.

  • Impact on Resale Value

Whether or not a roof has more than one layer can also affect the resale value of a home. When a buyer purchases a property, their homeowner’s insurance company will ask about the roof’s age and the number of layers it has. If it has more than one layer, the insurer will only insure the top layer. If that upper layer suffers storm damage, the insurance policy will only cover its replacement. As for the old roof and the decking, these will be shouldered by the homeowner.

Complete Tear-Off: A Better Alternative

A roof overlay can help you save money upfront and can be done more quickly if you are in a hurry. However, it is likely to cost more than the other roof replacement option, which is a complete tear-off. In addition to costing more, it also takes more labor to get rid of the old roofing material and installing the new set of shingles. What drives up the cost even further is the fact that the old roof has to be disposed of properly.

These drawbacks, however, do not outweigh the benefits of a complete tear-off. Everything discussed above is the exact opposite—a brand new roof is more appealing, durable, and long-lasting. The roofer can also check whether the underlayment or decking is in good condition before installing the new roof.

Another advantage involves maintenance. By having it replaced by a trusted residential roofing contractor that offers only the highest-quality materials, you shouldn’t worry about any leaks or any issues for years to come. Of course, you still have to keep it well-maintained to ensure its longevity and performance. If you are looking to put up your home for sale in the future, a new roof can help attract buyers to your property.

For your roofing needs, turn to Dry Tech Roofing. Our team of roofers can assess your roof's condition and recommend the best course of action. Whether your roof needs simple repairs or a complete replacement, expect us to get the job done right the first time. Learn more about our roofing service by giving us a call at (707) 328-5216 or filling out our contact form to request a quote.

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