Your Roofing System: Should You Re-roof or Replace Completely?
Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Kravelv
Your roofing system plays a significant role in keeping your exterior beautiful, increasing your home value, regulating interior temperature and, most importantly, protecting you and your family from harsh weather conditions. But when a powerful storm hits your roof and causes extensive damage, how do you know if you should simply cover your existing roof with new shingles or get a completely new system?
DAMAGED ROOFING: Re-roofing and roof replacement are two of your best options when faced with a severely damaged roof.
As a homeowner, you know how important it is to make sure your roofing system is always in prime condition. There are times, however, when the roof’s age or damage caused by intense weather conditions can put a damper on that goal. Unexpectedly, you can be left wondering what your next step should be. This often leads to figuring out if what you need is re-roofing or roof replacement.
Re-roofing is generally considered more affordable than a complete roof replacement. However, some find it the less reliable option. Although we all have our own needs and preferences, understanding the distinctive differences between these two solutions can help you make the right decision as a homeowner.
DIfferences Between Re-roofing and Roof Replacement
Re-roofing and roof replacement are both effective solutions for roofs that have been damaged beyond repair. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider what your needs are and understand specifically what each of these solutions has to offer.
Re-roofing involves layering a new set of shingles over an existing, damaged shingle layer. This process can only be done once in the roof’s lifetime, so if you already have two layers on your roof, re-roofing shouldn’t be considered an option. Generally, re-roofing is an ideal option if you’re satisfied with your existing materials and only need to address isolated issues. Since re-roofing doesn’t require you to tear down all your existing shingles, this solution takes less time and labor, making it less costly.
ROOF REPLACEMENT: Replacing the roof is a more expensive solution than re-roofing, but it offers a wide range of long-term benefits.
Roof replacement, on the other hand, involves removing the entire roofing system and then putting down replacement felt paper, shingles and other components. Simply put, the process requires completely tearing down the old roof and installing a new one in its place. Unlike re-roofing which should only be done once, roof replacement is a good option at any time, regardless of the number of shingle layers on your system. The only downside, though, is that it needs more time and skilled labor to complete, and therefore, it’s more expensive than re-roofing. While this is the case, roof replacement can be a more economical alternative than several repairs, especially if there’s major damage. It’s typically the safest and most effective way to address an aging system while saving on long-term energy and maintenance costs. Additionally, it comes with comprehensive warranties of up to 50 years.
When to and Not to Re-roof
Re-roofing can be a good choice for roofs which are nearing the end of their lifespan but are in a generally healthy condition. There might be small leaks and issues here and there, but no extensive water damage, missing shingles or large amounts of mold and mildew. It’s important to remember, though, that when you decide to re-roof, it’s better to have the entire roof rather than simply a certain area redone.
RE-ROOFING: Although it is known for its effectiveness and affordability, re-roofing isn’t always the best choice for your upgrade needs.
While re-roofing is a simple and affordable choice, it’s not always the best idea. Here are some of the instances when re-roofing should be taken out of the equation:
- If you suspect there are issues that are not noticeable – Since you aren’t necessarily lifting up your shingles, you can’t know for sure what the condition of your roof deck is. Most of the time, rotting and sagging beneath the shingles will remain hidden, which means that when you add a new layer on top of your current one, you’re simply covering over the issues instead of actually fixing them.
- If only a portion of the roof needs to be addressed – Re-roofing can also be problematic if you only need to do a specific part of your system because now you’ll have a section that is thicker than the surrounding parts. This can make the mismatched shingles stand out, particularly at the ridge cap, which can be highly visible.
- If there are multiple layers of shingles already installed – Keep in mind that re-roofing is only possible if there’s only a single layer of shingles in place. While you or a contractor might attempt to re-roof over that, you risk not being able to drive the nails deep enough through the multiple layers, resulting in an overall inefficient system.
The Real Value of Getting Your Roof Replaced
The truth is, roof replacement is probably the most reliable option for fixing roof problems. Whether your roof has one layer of shingles or more, roof replacement is always a solution. Numerous signs will tell you that your roof needs a replacement.
Buckling and curling shingles are some of the most visible signs that indicate a roof replacement is necessary. Damaged flashing, skylights, and valleys, as well as wall stains and missing shingle granules, are also indications that you need a replacement for your system. Instead of covering up the issues, everything will be properly taken care of by fully replacing your roofing.
Getting a new roof is undeniably safer and will last you longer, saving on future project expenses. Furthermore, it offers plenty of long-lasting advantages, including:
- More improved energy efficiency
- Enhanced aesthetic appearance
- A significant increase in property value
- Improved protection against rain, winds, snow, hail, and mold
- More comfortable interior surroundings
GETTING THE BEST VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY: Roof replacement offers plenty of real-world benefits, helping you save money on energy and maintenance costs over time.
The bottom line is that oftentimes it really is not advisable to initially to re-roof your home only to replace the entire roofing system in a few years’ time. Going down this road will turn out to be much more expensive than just replacing the entire roofing system outright, i.e., as soon as any severe damage is incurred.
Whether you need re-roofing or roof replacement, though, it’s important that you turn only to trusted and professional roofers to have the work done. They will be able to assess your home’s condition and needs based on your climate and location. From there, they will recommend the solution that meets your home’s unique requirements and that will give you the best bang for your buck.
A specialist in roof replacement innovations, Carol currently works at Tedrick’s Roofing—a leading Washington-based roofing company owned by her family. She frequently shares her insights on roof replacements through blog posts, guiding customers with her many years’ worth of knowledge and experience.