Roof replacements are one of the most expensive maintenance items homeowners can face. Understandably, some homeowners may explore less costly alternatives.

A roof replacement is a complete tear-off (down to the decking) of a roof and installing new underlayment, deck protection, and roofing material (shingles, metal, tile, slate, etc.). An overlay is when new shingles are installed on top of the existing roof – old shingles are not removed.

We strongly recommend total roof replacements and do not even work on roofs with multiple layers. Here are the pros and cons of a tear-off roof replacement vs. a roof overlay so you can make the best choice for your home and situation.

The Pros of a Roof Overlay

  • Less Expensive: Overlays are typically 25% less expensive than a standard roof replacement. However, they do not last as long, and repairs cost more due to the multiple layers.
  • Shingle Warranty: Most shingle manufacturers offer the same material defect warranty on shingles, whether used in a complete roof replacement or an overlay.

The Cons of a Roof Overlay

  • Shorter Lifespan: Overlay’s cut the lifespan of your roof in half (at least). This is due to the immense amount of heat an additional layer adds. In the summertime, attic temperatures can reach 150+ degrees Fahrenheit. If your attic space and roof get too hot, it can cause dry wood rot and negatively impact the look and performance of your roof.
  • Challenging to Make Simple Repairs: Many roofing contractors (AIC Roofing included) will not perform repairs on roofs with multiple layers due to the inability to accurately diagnose all of the potential issues. If we give you a price and tell you we can fix your roof, we want to be confident that our recommended solution will resolve the leak. Multiple roof layers make it challenging to find every issue causing a leak or other problems. Due to the uncertainty this causes, it’s complicated to quote a price for the repair with the highest likelihood of success.
  • Structural Concerns: The decking of your roof is basically the foundation of your roof. Adding multiple layers to your roof causes a weight issue. This can damage your roof’s decking and cause your roof to have a wavy appearance.

The Pros of a Roof Replacement

  • Warranty: With a traditional roof replacement, you get a shingle manufacturer’s warranty and a workmanship warranty. This will ensure you are protected against any mistakes during installation, including defective materials.
  • Durability: A standard roof replacement lasts twice as long – twenty to thirty years on average compared to ten to fifteen with an overlay.
  • Property Value: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry reports homeowners recoup an average of 70% of their roof replacement cost when selling. Roof replacements are preferred to overlays when selling, and home insurance companies will usually inquire about roof specifics before closing on the house.

The Cons of a Roof Replacement

  • More Expensive: Roof replacements may cost more than an overlay, but there will be fewer headaches as it ages. 
  • Longer Timeframe: Total roof replacements typically take a few hours longer than an overlay. This is due to the increased time it takes to tear off the old roof, replace rotten wood, install underlayment, and install the new shingles.

Wrapping Up

It can be tempting to take shortcuts to save money during a roof replacement. In our experience, those shortcuts can cost the homeowner more in damage and repairs. A new roof is an investment in your home.

Get multiple bids from top-rated roofing companies in Lexington and the surrounding area to ensure you’re getting a great price on your roof replacement. AIC Roofing has replaced over 10,000 roofs in Central Kentucky. We don’t cut corners on your roof replacement and pride ourselves on our hundreds of five-star customer reviews. Call us to receive a free quote on your roof replacement.

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