Can You Put New Asphalt Shingles Over Old Ones?

May 6, 2024

When it comes to roofing upgrades or repairs, homeowners and property managers often look for the most cost-effective and least disruptive options. One common question we hear at Tri-County Roofing in Maryland is: “Can you put new asphalt shingles over old ones?” The answer isn’t just a simple yes or no; it involves understanding the condition of your current roof and local building codes and weighing the pros and cons of overlaying versus complete replacement.

Understanding the Basics of Overlaying Asphalt Shingles

Overlaying, or re-roofing, involves installing a new layer of asphalt shingles over an existing layer. This technique can be appealing because it eliminates the need for a tear-off of the old roof, potentially reducing the cost and time involved in the roofing project. However, before deciding if this is the right approach for your home, it’s crucial to consider several factors.

Advantages of Overlaying Asphalt Shingles

  • Cost Efficiency: Since the old shingles don’t need to be removed, you save on labor and disposal costs. This can make overlaying a budget-friendly option for many homeowners.
  • Time-Saving: Installing a new layer of shingles over the old ones is typically quicker than a complete roof replacement. This means less disruption for you and faster protection against the elements.
  • Environmental Impact: By not tearing off the old shingles, you’re reducing landfill waste, which is an environmentally friendly choice.

Disadvantages of Overlaying Asphalt Shingles

  • Shorter Lifespan: Overlay roofs may have a shorter lifespan than complete replacements. The second layer of shingles can retain more heat, which may accelerate the asphalt’s aging process.
  • Potential for Hidden Damage: Skipping the tear-off phase means you might not catch underlying issues such as rotted decking or moisture damage. This can lead to more significant repairs in the future.
  • Weight Issues: Additional layers add weight to your roof’s structure. Not all homes are built to support this extra load, which could compromise structural integrity.
  • Appearance: An overlay might not look as smooth and uniform as a new roof. Bumps and irregularities in the old layer can show through, affecting curb appeal.
  • Resale Value: Potential buyers may view an overlay as a shortcut and could be wary of the underlying older roofing’s condition, possibly affecting resale value.

What Maryland Homeowners Need to Know

Maryland’s building codes generally allow for up to two layers of roofing. Before considering an overlay, it’s crucial to check with your local building department to confirm that your plans comply with current regulations. Tri-County Roofing can assist with this, ensuring that any work performed is up to code.

Assessing Your Roof’s Suitability for Overlaying

Before deciding on overlaying, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection of your existing roof. This should include assessing the general condition of the shingles to see if they are lying flat, checking for any missing or damaged shingles, and evaluating whether there is significant granule loss. Additionally, the condition of the roof deck should be examined for any signs of water damage or rot, particularly in the attic or on the roof deck itself. The presence of moss or mold growth is another critical factor to consider, as these can indicate underlying moisture problems that need to be resolved before adding new shingles.

Finally, the gutter system should be inspected to ensure it is in good condition or to determine if it requires repair or replacement. If your roof shows signs of severe wear or underlying damage, a complete replacement may be the more prudent choice. Overlaying on a compromised structure can lead to more severe issues, potentially costing more in the long run.

Making the Decision

Choosing between a new roof and overlaying existing shingles is a significant decision. At Tri-County Roofing, we recommend consulting with one of our professional roofing contractors who can provide a detailed inspection and analysis of your roof’s condition. This expert assessment will help you make an informed decision based on the specific needs and conditions of your property.

Overlaying new asphalt shingles over old ones can be a viable option for some homeowners in Maryland, but it’s not right for everyone. Understanding the advantages and potential drawbacks, considering the structural condition of your roof, and adhering to local building codes are all critical steps in making the best choice for your home’s roofing needs.

At Tri-County Roofing, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible service and roofing solutions tailored to their specific needs. Whether you decide to go with an overlay or opt for a complete roof replacement, our team is here to ensure that your roof is sound, attractive, and long-lasting. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our roofing services!

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