How a roof is installed?

new shingle roof on a house with white vinyl

What is the difference between re roof and new roof?

Is it time for your home to have a new roof installation? Maybe it has taken a beating from the weather, or it has reached its full age of usefulness. Does it really need a new roof installation, or will a re-roofing be sufficient? 

When your asphalt roof has gotten to the point that it needs to be replaced, the roof installation company you choose to work with may recommend re-roofing instead. What is the difference, and which is the better option? 

Re-roofing is recovering or replacing the existing roofing material. This is the less expensive way to go because the contractor is only dealing with the new roofing, leaving the existing roof in place. 

Replacement is where the contractor will totally remove the existing roofing, make any repairs needed to the substrate, then do the roof installation with your new roofing material. This is the more expensive of the two because the contractor is doing two roof. They tear off one roof and replace with a new roof.

Before you decide on which way to go, you or your contractor need to verify the local building codes. Some jurisdictions do not allow more than one roof to a structure. Or they may allow two roof coverings, but you’ll need the contractor to verify how many old roofs are still on your home, because the last homeowner may have had a re-roof done already. A new roof installation may be your only option by way of local building codes. 

Is it OK to put new shingles over old?

The decision on re-roof and new roof installation replacement can be a difficult and tricky one to make for most homeowners. Most professional roofing contractors will recommend a full replacement roof installation; however, a re-roof job can be a better choice in certain circumstances, meaning, installing new shingles over existing shingles. Factors that are considered when making this decision are: 

  • Age of the existing roof
  • Overall quality of the roof structure
  • Condition of the house and its foundation

If re-roofing is possible, then why do roofing contractors advise against it? To a homeowner on a budget, and who isn’t these days, re-roof is the better way to go if the three factors listed are good, right? No, and here are seven reasons why a professional roofer with experience will advise any homeowner against taking that option and stay with a new roof installation every time: 

  1. Bumpy Surface Difficulties: Asphalt shingles need to be installed on flat, even surfaces. When they are forced instead onto a bumpy or gap-filled foundation, the old flaps will transmit through to the new layer of shingles and make it harder to secure them. As new roof installation progresses, this can lead to problems as the shingles become harder to install accurately and properly.
  2. Inadequate Inspections: Leaving the old shingles on will make future roof inspections more difficult. This can leave problems with the decking and underlayment unknown and lead to leaking, mildew, mold, and more. If the homeowner were to file a roofing claim later, the insurance adjuster will see the previous roofing is still in place and the claim could be denied. 
  3. Expensive: Re-roofing will cost more than a new roof installation eventually. While you’ll save a thousand dollars or so with re-roof and installing new shingles over old, this puts more weight on the structure of your house which puts more weight on the foundation. 
  4. Lack of Leak Prevention or Repair: When new shingles are overlaid on the existing shingles, the roofing contractor is unable to install ice dam barriers. Without these barriers, you’re leaving your roof prone for leaks in the future when the ice melts and that water has nowhere to go but under the newest layer of shingles. 
  5. Foundation and Structure Strain: A roof is designed to protect the structure is installed on and nothing more. When a layer of new shingles is installed over existing shingles, it adds weight to the structure, which adds weight to the foundation. When it ices or snows in the winter, even more weight is added.  Roofing problems will begin, foundation problems will begin, and the walls in between the roof and foundation are slowly pressurized. 
  6. Warranty Voided: Re-roofing can affect the shingle manufacturer’s warranty on the new asphalt shingles. 
  7. Future Plans: If you decide to sell your home in the future, the buyer’s inspector will discover the additional layer of roofing shingles and this could lower the value of your home and make it difficult for the new buyer to get the home insured.  It can also affect your own homeowner’s insurance. 

Is re roofing a good idea?

If there is only a minor issue or leak,  re-roofing with one or two shingle size area is understandable and acceptable. However, when the entire roof, or most of the roof has reached the end of its life, new roof installation in place of trying to save some money is the best option.

shingle roof brown on red house

Will homeowners cover a new roof?

There are several factors that will affect how your homeowner’s insurance handles new roof installation issues.  If the adjuster sees that the roof had been maintained properly before the issue causing you to file a claim, then yes, your homeowner’s policy will likely cover a new roof installation 

If the insurance adjuster determines the roof was at or near the end of life stage, but maintenance was kept up by the owner, they likely will pay a prorated amount of the claim. If there is any indication that the homeowner has neglected the roof, letting algae and moss spread, or tree branches and limbs lay on the roof and a leak was in that area, the claim will likely be denied. 

You’ve read this piece, you’ve had a few estimates done on your home’s roof, and you’re still trying to find a way to save money. So, you’re asking, “Can I install a roof myself?” and the answer is, maybe. You need to realize the height of even the smallest house before you attempt this. It is higher up than you may realize from the ground. You’ll need a tall ladder, a safety belt, roofing nails, and hammer, and a roof scraper to get the old roofing shingles off. 

One thing you won’t need is a fear of heights!  You can find roof installation steps online, with and without videos. You can visit your local big box home improvement store for assistance too. You do need to keep in mind that a DIY roof installation may void the warranty on the new shingles – most manufacturers require a certified, licensed, and insured roofing contractor to install their product. Contact the professionals at (214) 612-6696 today.