Kearns Brothers have been in the roofing industry for nearly 40 years and we occasionally get questions about roof overlay. In our post today, we’ll discuss  

  • What a roof overlay is 

  • Why it may be problematic for your home 

  • Why Kearns Brothers recommend complete tear-off instead 

What Exactly Is A Roof Overlay? 

A roof overlay is the placing of roof shingles over your existing roof. The old shingles are not removed. An inspection of your roof decking is not conducted. Simply put, it’s the practice of putting new shingles on top of old ones.  

What To Keep In Mind With A Roof Overlay 

First, covering your old roof with new shingles and not removing/ addressing potential problems is a temporary fix, at best. At worst, it’s an environment to harbors larger, costlier problems. 

An overlay may do more damage than good. They don’t last as long as complete tear-off roofs. Overlays are costlier to remove because it’s two roofs. The additional weight to two roofs can be as much as 5,000 pounds which open the door to structural failure if your roof isn’t 100% up to speed.  

Furthermore, selling a home with an overlay may be trickier than a home with a brand new roof. Here’s why; your potential new buyers see a roof that had a problem at some point and the solution was temporary. The potential new buyers don’t know the condition of the decking. The homeowners don’t know the condition of the decking. All the potential buyers know is they will ultimately have to pay to remove two roofs from their homes and they are unsure of the condition of the roof. 

Cons of a Roof Overlay 

  • They are a temporary solution 

Kearns Brothers view an overlay as a temporary solution because it’s not addressing the issues occurring within your roof system. We aren’t removing and replacing shingles, decking, felt, or ice/ water guard. 

  • What happens between the old shingles and new shingles isn’t good 

If your old roof has moss and algae growing on it, it may continue to grow. Algae do not like direct sunlight. It likes warm and humid air to thrive. An overlay may create the proper conditions to rot your roof from the inside out. 

  • Extra shingles trap more heat 

Extra layers of shingles retain more heat causing your HVAC to work harder and you to spend more to keep the house cooler. 

  • It’s not easy to get new shingles to lay flat on curled shingles  

If your existing shingles have warped or curled, you will not get a flush mount on the shingles. Without your new shingles laying flat, you are opening the door to increased wind damage and the new shingles may not qualify for a warranty. 

  • Two roofs weigh twice as much 

A second roof can add up to 5,000 pounds to the weight of your home. Can your roof hold that weight?  

  • Removing an overlay 

Two roofs mean twice the price of removal. 

  • Resale value 

If you are buying a home or vehicle, do you want to be certain that a problem was properly fixed? Peace of mind means a lot when it comes to having a job done correctly. An overlay has a negative connotation with many home buyers. 

  • Warranty 

What Is A Complete Roof Tear-Off? 

A complete roof-tear-off removes all the layers of your roofing and then builds it back up with new layers. By removing all the layers of your roof, your roofing company can assess the damage to the sheathing beneath the shingles and then replace it with new parts for your roof system. Removing it all, also allows homeowners to upgrade parts of their system; such as ventilation, or add a product like a drip edge. 

Why Kearns Brothers Recommend Complete Roof Tear-Offs Instead of Overlay 

There are numerous reasons that we do complete roof tear-offs. 

  • Your roof system gets an overhaul 

From the street, your roof may look fine but underneath there may be larger problems. By removing all the layers of your roof, we can assess and provide a roof that is built to last.  

  • Upgrades to your roof 

Shingles haven’t changed but some of the efficiencies of a new roof system or local requirements likely have changed since you last replaced your roof. As technology advances, so do things like durability. A total roof tear-off lets you upgrade your home. 

  • Heating and cooling efficiencies 

Your roof takes on a lot of weather elements. And the elements weathers your roof. Replacing your roof improves your home’s ventilation which allows your HVAC to not work as hard. That means that you may see less expensive heating and cooling bills.  

  • New roof, a new warranty 

Having a new roof installed by a GAF Master Elite Roofer provides you with a great warranty to ensure that your new roof is built to last. Also, some roofing companies offer transferable warranties. Meaning if you sell your home, you can transfer that warranty to the new owners. 

  • Return on Investment 

Good roofs aren’t cheap but they count mightily on return on investment. According to Zillow, the average tear-off and replacement have an average ROI of 68.2%. 

  • Variables 

Overlays don’t answer the question of the condition of your roof under the shingles. A complete roof tear-off takes the variables out. We know it’s an all-new product that is built to last and protect you and your home. 

  • Financing 

A good roof isn’t cheap but financing can make it a manageable monthly bill. Home equity lines of credit may work for financing as well.  

Kearns Brothers, Serving Michigan For Nearly 40 Years, Provides Full-Roof Replacement 

Kearns Brothers have been replacing roofs all over southeast Michigan for nearly 40 years. We’ve won numerous awards for our craftsmanship and our commitment to customer service. If your roof needs some TLC, contact us for a free estimate