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Why Your Roofer In Waterloo May Recommend A Tear-Off


If you’re soliciting bids for a new roof, one of the first things you’ll have to decide is whether to do a tear-off or an overlay. In some cases the choice will be made for you with your roofer in Waterloo making the recommendation based on the existing roof.

A tear-off involves stripping the roof down to the wood sheathing. An overlay is simply covering the existing roof with a new layer of shingles. The old shingles stay in place.Overlays are less expensive and are okay in certain situations, but the situations are very exacting, otherwise you run the risk of leaks or structural damage to the roof.

Tear Offs Vs. Overlays

Tear offs and overlays both have advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantages to overlays are time and cost-savings. Laying new shingles right over the old is a quicker, less expensive choice than tearing everything off and laying a whole new roof. When done correctly, overlays are a perfectly acceptable roofing choice. The key is that the roofer in Waterloo must know what they’re doing and do the job well to avoid causing damage to the roof.

Other than cost and time savings, tear offs are preferred. Tear offs are better for:

  • Finding Damage.Tear-offs are the best way to identify and fix weak or damaged spots on the plywood sheathing. A tear-off allows the roofer to find water damage that might otherwise go undetected and fix it before it becomes a problem that then requires the removal of two layers of shingles.
  • ConcernsAbout Roof Weight.Adding a second layer of shingles will add weight to the roof. Some roofs can’t handle the extra weight and a tear-off is the safest course of action. Other roofs would be perfectly stable with the extra weight and would be fine with an overlay.
  • FlashingAnd Water Protection. One big concern with overlays is keeping the new roof watertight. Installing flashing is more difficult in an overlay situation than a tear-off so you definitely want to hire a roofer in Waterloo who has solid experience with flashing and overlays if you decide to go this route. Overlays require the roofing be torn down to the flashing so the roofer can determine if it can kept in place or should be replaced with the overlay.

Factors That Influence Decision-Making

There are many factors besides cost, time, and obvious signs of damage that can influence your decision to go with a tear off or an overlay. Some factors that our roofer in Waterloo considers are:

  • Roof Pitch.A steeper or more sloped roof will put less weight on the structure, particularly when it is heavy with snow. A roof with at least 4 feet of vertical rise for every 12 feet of horizontal run should be able to handle an overlay if there are no other worrisome conditions.
  • Roof Condition.The current roof should be in good condition without any leaks, weak spots, or other points of damage. Roofs that can be inspected from the attic can provide extra assurance that the condition of the structure is sound.
  • Roof Materials.The existing roof materials must be compatible with re-roofing. Laying asphalt over asphalt shingles is typically okay but other types of roofing materials don’t work well with overlays.
  • Local Codes.Local building codes must allow overlays.
  • Warranties. Always double-check the warranty to make sure overlays are covered.

If your roofer recommends a tear-off there is generally good reason behind it and it is definitely in your best interests to ask why they recommend a tear off versus an overlay before making your decision.

Get Advice On Your Roofing Options From The Roofman Roofer In Waterloo

The Roofman can help you determine whether your roof is a better candidate for a tear off or an overlay. Call 519-744-3830 to arrange a roof inspection and assessment today!