How To Determine If An Overlay Or Complete Repair Is Right For Your Asphalt Roof

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If you have an asphalt roof that has reached the end of its life, you don't always have to pay for a complete tear-off and replacement. In some cases, the roofer can place new shingles directly over the old ones. However, whether this is a good idea or not depends on many factors.

What's Your Budget?

Budget is often the leading deciding factor when it comes to home repairs. If you're looking to save money, an overlay may be a better option. An overlay could save you $1,000 or more than a tear-off and replacement. The reason an overlay is cheaper is because less materials are used, there is less labor involved, and there is no debris to haul to the dump. On the downside, however, when you eventually do need to have your roof completely replaced, tearing off more than one layer of shingles may cost more.

How Quickly Do You Want the Job Done?

Another advantage of choosing an overlay instead of a tear-off is that overlays are faster. With a tear-off, the roofer needs to remove all the old shingles and then put down new ones. An overlay cuts the job in half. The process is also less complicated. You won't have to worry about having a dumpster in your yard, causing damage to your grass or driveway.

Have You Had an Overlay Before?

Depending on the slope of your roof, building codes allow for two to three layers of asphalt shingles on your roof. Therefore, if building codes only allow you to have two layers of shingles, and you've already had an overlay in the past, you won't even be allowed to choose an overlay over a total tear-off. The roofer will have to abide by the codes and replace the roof.

Is There Damage to the Decking?

This is a tricky one because you may not know the answer. If you have severe leaking, or your roof has large holes in it, you probably have damage to the decking, but there may not be any signs. Even a skilled roofer may not be able to tell if you have damage to the underlying roof structure without tearing off the existing shingles. If you know or think you might have damaged decking, don't choose an overlay. With an overlay, the decking can't be fixed, so you'll just end up wasting money.

Can Your Roof Support Another Layer?

While asphalt is one of the lightest roofing options, it can get pretty heavy when you add layers of it. Make sure you talk with your roofer to determine if your roof structure can support a second or third layer of shingles. As long as the decking is healthy, it should be able to, but if you have additional heavy items on your roof, such as solar panels, a little bit of extra weight may be enough to cause damage.

Are You Thinking About Getting a Metal Roof?

Just because you have an asphalt shingle roof doesn't mean you have to stick with asphalt shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity because of their durability. If you are toying with the idea of a metal roof but are afraid of the cost, talk with a roofer. Metal roofs can often be placed directly on top of asphalt shingle roofs. The money you save by eliminating a tear-off may be enough to cover the cost of a metal roof. As with an overlay, the ability to place a metal roof over an asphalt roof depends on how many layers of shingles there are, whether the decking is damaged and how strong the support structure is.

When it's time to replace your roof, it can be stressful, especially if you don't have the money for a total replacement. Luckily, you may qualify for an overlay, which can save you significant money. For more information on replacing your roof, contact a residential roofing company in your area today. 


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