Why You Shouldn’t Re-Shingle Over Old Shingles

Shingles are a necessary repair of any home. It is only inevitable that old shingles will begin to deteriorate and lose their value. If you ignore the problem for too long it could lead to serious water damage and other issues inside the home.

If you are tired of doing around-the-clock repairs to your shingles then you may have finally determined it is time for a complete overhaul.

Naturally, you may wonder: ‘Can I re-shingle over the existing shingles?’ It is a question that’s posed to roofing experts on a near-daily basis. The bottom line is it may seem like you are doing yourself a favor and saving time and money. But it’s actually a bad idea. Here is why re-shingling over old shingles is not a smart move. 

Saving Money Now vs. Saving Money Later

Replacing a roof is one of the most costly investments you will make with a home. However, it’s also one of the most important. There are countless sayings about how important having a ‘good roof over your head’ means both literally and figuratively.

In order to cut corners, you may assume that you can bypass tearing off the existing shingles and simply re-shingle over the old material. Though it will save you time and money now, it’s actually a costly decision that will eventually cost you more in the long run.

Why? For starters, manufacturers of new roof shingles are not kind to homeowners that opt to bypass a step in the installation phase they consider critical. Let’s say you have a 5-year warranty on expensive new shingles you just bought with a great company. You figure you can skip out on removing the old shingles since the new product is considered so reliable.

However, a hail storm hits a couple of years after the new roofing is installed over the existing shingles. You need the warranty to cover the damages from the storm. Now, the manufacturer refuses to honor the warranty because you layered the shingles and it consequently voided the warranty.

Believe it or not, this situation does happen with homeowners. The manufacturer will claim you added unnecessary and excessive weight to the structure, which therefore diminished the lifespan of the shingles and thus leaves you high and dry with repair costs.

Cheap Shingles Do NOT Fix Water Leak by Layering

Another common misconception about shingles is some people think that layering new shingles over an existing source will add “an extra layer of protection”. Unfortunately, the theory is not practical.

The problem is one source will not completely correct the existing problems of the original source of shingles. Furthermore, in 10 to 15 years when you or the next homeowner has to replace the shingles for good they will pay twice for having to remove not one, but two layers of shingles.

Home inspectors that are wise will check to see if shingles are layered. So if you go to a sale and get busted in the appraisal you can expect your home value to take a significant cut. So it’s best just to do things the right way, the first time!

Layered Shingles Actually Make Water Damage Worse

As previously mentioned, layering shingles doesn’t solve the dilemma of water leaks and damage. The theory seems to make sense – more layers of protection make it twice or three times as hard for water to get in, right?

Old roof with hail damage, chalk circles mark the damage. Shallow depth of field

False. The thicker the roof, the less hold the roofing nails have on the sheathing. Roofing nails serve an incredibly important role in blocking water leaks because it keeps the shingles firmed to the sheathing of the structure.

So when high winds or other serious storms assault your home it’s able to prevent shingles from ripping off. However, layered roofs don’t have the same protection since the roofing nails are obstructed and not rooted all the way down in the sheathing. You are ultimately bound to lose more of the top layer which just exposes the problem back to square one.

Other Problems with Re-Shingling Over Old Shingles

In addition to layering shingles being unproductive for the new roofing material, you also must consider the rest of your house.

Did you know that most building codes only allow two layers of any type of roofing on your home? So if you relayer shingles and realize it’s already been doubled then your home no longer passes code if you follow through with the re-shingling. You should avoid dancing around building codes at all costs. It could come back to haunt you.

Additionally, you must consider how much the entire structure can support the roof. Unfortunately, a lot of naive homeowners that make new roofing a DIY project fail to understand that even though one shingle doesn’t feel heavy, adding hundreds or thousands of them actually adds up.

Did you know that shingles needed to cover a typical 2,000 square foot roof weighs approximately 5,000 pounds? That is more than the average weight of an SUV. When you double up you just put 10,000 pounds on the roof and now must rely on the rest of the structure to support the extreme weight. Worse case scenarios could lead to the roof collapsing on the rest of the structure or severe water damage problems.

You also need to consider replacing the sheathing if the roof has become soft and spongy. Often this is a result of bad sheathing and not the actual shingles. Simply putting a new layer over them will not resolve the issue.

Always Remove Existing Shingles

There are several reasons why you should not re-shingle over old, existing shingles. It can potentially void a warranty on the new product, lower the home value at the time of the appraisal, and lead to even more water damage. Though it will cost more upfront to remove the old shingles, you’ll actually save time, money, and headaches later on down the road.

At Feldco Roofing, we simply remove your old shingles and replace them with brand new ones. To keep your home protected year-round, the best material for your roof is asphalt. Our asphalt shingles are the new standard for protecting your home from rain, snow, and wind. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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