Choosing The Right Roof Installation Option For Your Home

Posted on: 7 April 2023

If you're in the market for a new roof, you have two options to consider: a tear-off or a roof-over. Each has its own list of pros and cons. Understanding the differences between these two roof installation methods can help you make an informed decision when it comes time to replace your roof. Here's what you need to know.


A tear-off requires that all existing material, including shingles, felt underlayment, nails, and flashing, be stripped from the roof before the new roof is installed. In other words, the roofing contractors start with a fresh slate. This method is generally the better option for older roofs or if there has been extensive damage due to a storm, pest infestation, or other factors. It gives contractors a chance to check for any underlying issues that could affect the quality of your new roof. In addition, any damaged plywood can be replaced if needed.

The downside to a tear-off is that it usually costs more than a simple roof-over because of the additional labor involved in removing existing material and preparing the structure for a new roof. In addition, removing everything, placing it in a dumpster, and taking it to the dump are labor-intensive.


A roof-over, sometimes called a roof overlay, involves installing new shingles directly on top of your existing layer without removing them first. This option is usually recommended if your existing shingles are still in good condition and properly sealed against moisture penetration. They need to be securely attached to the roof and still supple. Shingles get brittle with age, and trying to overlay a new roof on brittle shingles would result in failure.

While less expensive due to the decreased number of person-hours, a roof-over is not always an option. Most municipalities will only allow a roof-over as a second or third layer before you will be required to do a complete tear-off. In other words, you will not be allowed to install a fourth layer. If you decide to go with a roof-over, it's important to hire an experienced contractor who knows how to properly prepare the existing surface so that it will last for years.

When deciding whether to opt for a tear-off or a roof-over during your next home improvement project, there are several factors to consider. Ultimately, only you can decide which option makes sense for your home and budget. 

For more info about roof installation, contact a local professional.