For many homeowners, a new roof is something that only happens once or twice in a lifetime. It is one of the biggest and costliest upgrades you can do for your home, and when it comes to roofing materials, styles, colors, and the experts to team up with, the possibilities may seem endless. That said, investing in a new roofing system may save you money initially, but it could prove more expensive (and stressful) if you don’t get the right answers to your questions first.

Roofing

One of the most frequent questions homeowners ask when getting a roof upgrade is whether they should remove the old shingles completely before installing new ones or simply apply a new layer of shingles over the old shingle set. Of course, there is no one-word answer for this — there are lots of factors to consider when identifying which option is better specifically for each of the homeowners’ unique needs. 

Re-roofing, or roof overlay, is a popular choice among homeowners because it is much faster to complete and definitely cheaper than doing a complete roof replacement. However, there are certain situations where it makes more sense to invest in a completely new system.

Is re-roofing the right option for you? To help you navigate your way through it, International Construction Services, Inc. provides answers to some of the most common questions about re-roofing.

What Does Re-Roofing Involve?

To put it simply, re-roofing is the act of overlaying a roof. It involves putting a second layer of shingles directly on top of your existing roof. While this approach is less used compared with a complete roof replacement, it does happen, particularly when homeowners are hoping to save a bit of money on the overall project cost. Getting rid of all the existing shingles isn’t only time-consuming;  it also involves a good chunk of money for disposal. If you’re considering re-roofing your home, you have to make sure that it is the first time you’ll do it. Generally speaking, a roof’s structure can only support two layers of shingles at most. If your home’s roof has already been overlayed before, re-roofing may not be the best option for you.

How Does Re-Roofing Differ From Roof Replacement? 

Unlike re-roofing which simply requires placing a new set of shingles over the existing roof, a complete roof replacement involves tearing off all the old parts of your roofing system — from the deck and underlayment to the shingles and nails — and replacing them with entirely new components. Many homeowners choose this approach because it thoroughly fixes any damage or leaks present in the roof. It will also last much longer than an overlay and add significant value to your home’s resale value. With all the work involved in it, though, roof replacement tends to be more expensive than re-roofing.

What Is the Re-Roofing Process Like?

First and foremost, every homeowner must have a professional inspection of their roof to determine if re-roofing is a good idea.

Re-roofing

If your roof is a good candidate for an overlay work, the first thing your roofer will do is to install a layer of roofing felt over the roof before installing the new shingles, keeping the original shingles safe from moisture. Your crew will then carefully trim and lay the new shingles over the old set, row by row until they reach the ridges of the roof.

Will It Last Long?

On average, asphalt shingle roofs have a service life of anywhere between 20 to 30 years. When you re-roof an asphalt shingle system with another layer of the same material, though, that second set of shingles tend to have a shorter lifespan than the first layer, but its ability to protect your home from damaging winds, storms, and other elements will remain reliable for many years.

When Is Re-Roofing a Good Idea and When Is It Not?

While re-roofing isn’t for everyone, there are certain situations where it makes much more sense to choose this option. For instance, if you’re looking to upgrade your roof with a new color, and the existing one is in great shape, there’s no structural damage and no major leaks, then re-roofing may get the job done for you. This is particularly an ideal option if you’re on a budget and don’t plan to spend a hefty amount replacing your entire roofing system.

Roofing System

However, if your existing roof is old, there are plenty of missing shingles, and leaks are all over, then your best bet is to invest in completely new roofing in North Augusta, SC. Placing another layer of shingles on top of your existing roof won’t magically fix all the damage on your current system. It is best to just remove all the components of your roof and replace them with new ones to restore its condition.

Can I Save Money When I Choose to Re-Roof?

The short answer is: yes. In fact, this might be the primary reason a lot of homeowners take this route. Because re-roofing simply involves putting new layers of shingles on top of the existing roof, your roofers won’t have to remove your entire shingles and deck and won’t have to perform much cleanup later on. As a result, the job can be completed in a significantly shorter time, saving you money on labor.

Is Re-Roofing Lawful?

It depends on where you are. Local building codes generally dictate whether or not installing a new layer of shingles over an old roof is allowed in your area. Before having this done, be sure to do your research to make sure re-roofing is permitted in your local community. Otherwise, you may be forced to have it redone at your own expense.

How Much Weight Can My Roof Handle?

In general, roofs can hold up to 20 pounds of load per square foot. However, be sure to check with your municipality if there are changes or important notes about your managing loads on your roof. A professional roofing contractor like International Construction Services, Inc. can help you make sure that the re-roofing shingles are safe to install on your existing roof.

Can I Overlay a Metal Roof?

Absolutely. In fact, metal is one of the best materials to overlay due to its lightweight. Because it doesn’t weigh heavier than other materials such as slate and tiles, you don’t run as much risk of placing additional load on your roofing system. If the local building codes permit re-roofing, then you may contact your trusted roofer to overlay your existing metal roof.

How Should I Prepare For My Re-Roofing Project?

Re-roofing your home can be an exciting experience. However, once the roofing crew arrives, your house will suddenly become a work zone. Work zones, as you may expect, come with unexpected hazards. But no worries — with the right preparation, you can minimize the work’s impact on you and your property. Here are some things you can do to prepare for a re-roofing job:

  • Consider accessibility. It takes a handful of materials, tools, and some heavy equipment to re-roof a house, so it’s very crucial that vehicles, trash cans, gardening tools, and everything else are out of the way so the crew can move trucks in close and maneuver without hassle. At the same time, you should also make sure that the roofers can get onto your roof easily.
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Try to find several spots where they can access the roof, and make sure these areas are also clear of items or debris. Providing easy access through your driveway and backyard will make the process much smoother.

  • Keep your interior safe. Keep in mind that big projects such as re-roofing will cause dust, noise, and vibrations. If you have vulnerable items stored in your attic, consider moving or covering them up. Likewise, if you have any hanging décor that can easily be knocked down, be sure to move it to a safer location until the re-roofing job is done.
  • Mind your kids and pets. It’s important to keep pets and kids away from all re-roofing work to avoid both serious injury and any interference with the process. Keep in mind that a lot of dangerous materials are used and stored at construction sites. Since young children and pets may not understand these dangers, you may be more comfortable sending them to family or friends while your home is being re-roofed.
  • Trim tree branches and grass around your property.  Any tree branches that hang near your roof and grass in your landscape might need to be trimmed before the job begins. Non-obstructive trees and short grass will prevent fallen debris from hiding in your yard, making cleanup for a nail sweep faster and more thorough.

What About My Roof Deck?

For a re-roofing project to work, your roof needs to be in relatively good shape. Particularly, your roof deck needs to be strong enough to support the weight of a new layer of shingles. The roof deck is the surface that all other roofing materials go on top of, with plywood being the most commonly used for residential structures. If the roof deck is in poor condition, the new shingles may fail to do their job. For instance, a decaying roof deck won’t be able to support the weight of an overlay, resulting in the roof collapsing down the line.

Can I Overlay Multiple Times?

The majority of roofs can only support a few layers of shingles. Shingles are undoubtedly heavy, and your roof deck is only designed to carry so much load. When your roof gets too heavy, the decking and support under your roof could be compromised and damaged. Furthermore, building codes in most regions only permit two layers of shingles on your roof, although some allow three layers of shingles.

If you already have two layers of shingles, it may be better to invest in a complete tear-off instead of putting an additional layer of shingles on your roof. Otherwise, if you only have one layer of shingles on your roof, a secondary layer must comply with local building codes.

Can I DIY This Project?

While DIY works great for some home projects, it’s a disaster for others — and anything that involves roofing tops the list of home improvement jobs you should leave to the experts. The main reason is that it’s too risky. According to the National Safety Council, 6,000 Americans die every year from falls, mostly from ladders while cleaning or fixing roofs. That fact alone should warn you of the hazards that involve re-roofing projects.

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Additionally, re-roofing your home isn’t as easy as it looks. Even just installing a few shingles can result in mismatched, patchwork effects that can drag down your home’s curb appeal. Poorly aligned or crooked shingles are not pleasing to the eyes and won’t make your guests happy. That said, it’s always best to hire a team of experts who can provide professional roofing services to make the most out of your investment.

Do I Need to Move Out of My Home While My Roof Is Being Re-Roofed?

It is not totally required to vacate your home while a re-roofing project is taking place. Usually, a professional roofing contractor will use tarps and other high-quality barriers to keep your home and landscape safe from damage. Depending on the size and extent of the project, the time it takes to complete a re-roofing varies, but on average, it will take one to two days to finish installing new shingles on top of existing ones. During this time, you will need to take note of the areas of danger that you should avoid while the work is taking place, and steer clear of these areas.

In the end, re-roofing can be of great help to homeowners, especially to those who are looking to upgrade their roofs while saving money. Before tackling this project, though, you need to consider a lot of factors, such as the condition of your existing roof and your local building codes. It’s highly important to consult a professional roofing contractor so you will know the best course of action to take when considering a roof upgrade.

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If you need help with re-roofing or any other roofing project, you can always turn to the experts at International Construction Services, Inc. Get free roofing estimates by calling us at (803) 699-5106 or by  filling out our form. We look forward to working with you!