Should You Tear off vs. Shingle Over? Read This First

tear off vs. shingle over roof

A reliable roof protects your entire household and is arguably the most important component of your house. It should always be in top condition, as a degrading roof can lead to many other structural problems. When the moment comes to redo your roof, should you tear off vs. shingle over?

Both choices come with certain pros and cons that you should be aware of. We’ve outlined the critical info on tear-off vs. shingle so you can decide which method is best for your home.


Tearing off your roof involves removing the entire existing roof and then installing a completely new one. It’s a more thorough method that costs more initially but guarantees better long-term results. So what are the biggest pros and cons of tearing off your roof and installing a new one?

Biggest Advantages to Tear Off vs. Shingle Over

Tearing off vs. shingling over your old roof comes with several significant advantages:

  • Longer lifespan — A tear-off roof will last much longer than one that has been overlaid on an existing shingle roof.
  • Increased resale value A brand new roof is a good investment if you plan on selling your home soon.
  • Better structural condition — In this method, your roofing contractor will be replacing the entire roof. He’ll be able to access the decking, assess and fix any high risk or leak-prone areas, and make sure your roof is watertight.

Biggest Disadvantages of Tear Off vs. Shingle Over

Tearing off your roof is always the better option. Still, it does come with some significant disadvantages that impact many homeowner’s decision-making:

  • It takes longer — Tearing off your existing roof and installing a new one will last longer than an overlay project. This article can help you get a closer understanding of how much time your contractor will need to replace your roof.
  • It’s pricier — The tear-off job itself will make a dent in your budget. You can expect to pay upwards of $1000, depending on the size of your roof. It involves extra labor, although there are ways you can save money on paying for a new roof.

Shingle Over

If you choose to shingle over your existing roof, your roofing contractor will leave your old roof as-is and put a new layer of shingles on top of it. This can only be done once, so if you’ve already overlaid your roof before, you’ll have to tear off the shingles and install a new roof. However, if you can overlay your roof, here are the biggest pros and cons to keep in mind. 

Biggest Advantages in Shingle Over vs. Tear Off

While roofing over existing shingles isn’t the best long-term solution, homeowners choose to do so mainly because of two considerable reasons:

  • The less expensive option — When laying new shingles over your existing roof, the labor costs will be considerably lower than a tear-off. If you’re working on a tight budget, the overlay method is an excellent option for getting a new roof at a more affordable price tag. 
  • It’s faster — Since overlaying requires less work, your roofing contractor will complete the project in a much shorter time frame. The project will be less messy, and you’ll be able to move in immediately.

Biggest Disadvantages for Tear Off vs. Shingle Over Methods

Choosing to shingle over seems like a practical and convenient way to save money on your next roofing project. But, in our professional opinion, the disadvantages heavily outweigh the benefits. Here are some of the most significant reasons why overlaying your existing roof isn’t a good idea:

  • Increases stress on the roofing structure — When overlaying an existing roof, you’re adding an entire layer of shingles, effectively doubling the weight on top of your home. If you have an older home or a deteriorating roofing structure, the integrity of your house can be at risk.
  • Harder to maintain — Having two layers of shingles will make it substantially more difficult to track any leaks or roof problems. This means that you won’t know the condition of your decking and roofing structure until more serious issues manifest.
  • Shorter lifespan — The second layer of shingles won’t last as long as they’re generally expected because the heat and moisture will get trapped between the layers. In the long run, this makes the investment more expensive.
  • May affect the resale value — If you plan on selling your home in the next few years, overlaying might not be the best choice. It can hurt the resale value of your property.

Another issue to consider if you choose to shingle over is you’ll have to remove two layers when the time comes to replace your roof.

Consult a Roofing Professional First

There’s no denying that installing a new roof can be strenuous on every homeowner’s budget. If you’re worried about the financial side of your roof replacement project, there are creative ways to help pay for it

Since you’re making such a significant investment for your household, you want to make sure that the job gets done right. Regardless of whether you decide to tear off or shingle over, you should always consult a professional roofing company to inspect and assess your roof first. 

As the premier roofing company in Florida, we provide commercial and residential roofing services for all areas of the Florida Panhandle and Tampa. Contact us today to get a free estimate for your next roofing project. Call 813-373-9088 or fill out our quick online form.

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