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Uncovering the Roof: Why a Tear-Off is Recommended Above an Overlay

If you want to change the color of your bedroom walls, you don’t knock down them and start over with a clean slate of drywall — you paint over the old color with the new. If your otherwise functional car has dents on its exterior, you don’t go out and buy a new vehicle — you call on a body shop to make the repairs.

When it comes to some things, it’s acceptable to hang on to the core item and make changes or improvements throughout its life, which is a cost-beneficial alternative in the long run. However, when it comes to reroofing your home, simply patching over problems as a means of repair is not necessarily the best way to go.

Whether you’re fixing defective shingles or upgrading to an architectural shingle, there are two methods of reroofing your home: overlay or tear-off. While both roofing practices are effective at providing shelter, the differences between an overlay and a tear-off are like night and day.

The overlay approach to reroofing involves nailing fresh shingles on top of the existing shingles. This technique saves on labor, materials, time, waste disposal and, ultimately, money. Yet, while an overlay seems like a judicious choice, it won’t reveal flaws that may lie beneath the roof. If indeed there are obvious issues that require repairs, overlay reroofing will not make those problems apparent. Moreover, by not knowing what’s going on underneath your roof, you’ll be caught off guard when a devastating circumstance occurs.

Tear-off reroofing is a procedure that entails a complete overhaul of the roof: the old roof is removed and a new one is installed in its place. A tear-off project is better than an overlay for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • One advantage to a tear-off is that once the old roofing is stripped, defects in the roof deck, or other deficiencies, are readily exposed and then able to be repaired. Sagging between rafters, dry rot and other signs of deterioration constitute a bad roof deck.
  • When the roof is torn off, it can be determined if there is proper attic ventilation. Incorrect ventilation in the attic results in condensation that can destroy the structure of the roof — and possibly cause it to cave in! Establishing the right airflow in the attic will prevent an eventual hole in the roof, as well was your pocket.
  • Waterproofing shingle underlayment can be installed before the new roof is laid. This tactic will repel leaks that may occur in the event of water freezing-melting cycles and pounding rains.
  • Installing a new underlayment provides a clean surface for new shingles, resulting in a sleek, professional finish. Overlaying shingles can cause the roof to look bumpy — an undesirable aesthetic that any discerning homeowner would not like.
  • A roof is allowed only two layers, depending on code requirements. If too many layers of shingles already exist, a tear-off is in order. A salesman at Cross Timber Roofing will know the appropriate building codes.

It is recommended that homes undergo tear-off reroofing so that hidden issues are brought to light and adjustments can be made. In turn, your roof will perform better and last longer. Plus, the investment of a tear-off is an added value if you plan on putting your house for up sale on the real estate market.

Cross Timbers Roofing performs tear-off reroofing to guarantee that your home is up to specifications and properly outfitted to protect your family from the elements for years to come. Call or fill out our online form to request a free estimate in the Richmond, Charlottesville and Hampton Roads areas.