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Is It Okay to Put a New Roof Over an Old One on a Boston Area Home?

April 12, 2019

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Investing in a new roof in Boston is costly for most homeowners, which is why many people try to save as much money on this expense as possible. Since pulling up existing shingles or a full roof tear-off means added work and therefore added cost, you might wonder if it’s okay to put new shingles over old ones.

A roofing contractor can usually install a new roof over an old one, as long as the home has asphalt shingles currently, the home’s framework can support the weight of new shingles, and local building codes allow another layer of roofing.

Only a roofing contractor near the Boston area can note if your home is a good candidate for a layer of shingles over the existing roof, but in the meantime, consider some important factors about reroofing and new roofing shingles so you know what to expect with a roof inspection and quote for this work.

Does a Home Need a Roofing Inspection?

While it might be tempting to add new shingles over old ones to save money, note that your home’s roof is comprised of several layers of materials, all of which need inspection regularly. The plywood deck sheathing at the base of the roof is prone to rot and decay over time; if not replaced as needed, cracks and holes form and get larger throughout the years.

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Without removing the current shingles on a home’s roof, it’s easy to overlook damaged shingles, torn flashing, mold, algae, and other problems that require roof repair and potential replacement. Unless you’re certain of the condition of your home’s roof, exercise caution about having new shingles installed over old ones without a needed roofing inspection for a Boston home.

Can You Put Metal Roofing Over Shingles?

Metal roofs have advantages and disadvantages, just like any other roofing material! Note some important features about adding a new metal roof over an old so you can decide if this is the best option for your home:

  • Metal roofs are often more expensive to install than asphalt shingles but they also last far longer; a metal roof can even outlast your home itself!
  • Long metal pieces are less likely to blow away in high winds than individual shingles, making metal a preferred roofing option for tropical areas and places with frequent storms.
  • A metal roof is more lightweight than a new layer of asphalt shingles. For older homes or those that cannot support the weight of a new layer of shingles for any reason, metal might offer the option of a new roofing layer versus a full tear-off.
  • Metal roofs offer more interior insulation than asphalt shingles, potentially reducing your energy costs throughout the year.
  • Moisture trapped between a new metal roof and existing asphalt can increase the risk of mold, algae, and other damage. A vented metal roof reduces this risk.

How Much Can You Save By Putting New Shingles Over Old Ones?

Avoiding a roof tear-off by putting new shingles over old ones can save many Boston area homeowners $1000 on average; this cost will be more or less depending on the overall size of your home. A reroofing job is also much faster when you avoid a full tear-off and simply apply new shingles over the old.

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However, note that adding a new layer of shingles doesn’t necessarily eliminate the cost of a tear-off completely. Eventually your home will need a new roof installation and you might then need to pay extra for a two-layer tear-off rather than just one. Ask your Boston roofing contractor about the cost of a two-layer tear-off versus one layer and be sure to consider those future costs when deciding on a roofing option for your home.

Why Not Add New Shingles Over Old?

As tempting as it might be to avoid the cost, mess, and time involved in a roof tear-off, you might note some additional reasons to invest in a new roof installation when needed for your home:

  • Shingles are designed for flat surfaces; installing new shingles over old shingles can result in curled edges, buckling, or other misshapen areas. Even if they’re new, curled shingles provide less protection against water damage and create a very unsightly surface.
  • Many brands of shingles weigh some 400 pounds per 100 square feet of roofing. Older homes often cannot support that added weight and the roof sheathing or areas between rafters and trusses can eventually sag and crack.
  • Applying new shingles over old ones might affect the warranty of your new shingles. If those new shingles should curl, tear, or show signs of early wear, you might then be stuck with replacement costs that would otherwise be covered with a new roof installation!
  • A home inspector might note a reroofing or new layer of shingles over an old when inspecting your house before a sale. Home inspectors know the challenges of a heavy roof and the expense of eventually having that added layer of shingles removed, and might note that in their inspection, reducing the chance of a home sale.
  • Local building codes might not allow for added layers of shingles. It’s vital that a homeowner find out if their home already has a second or third layer of shingles and if an added layer is allowed in their area before planning on a reroofing rather than a full roof installation.

The Benefits of Putting New Shingles Over Old Ones on a Boston Home

The most obvious benefit of installing new shingles without a roof tear-off is the cost. For homeowners who desperately need a new roof but simply cannot afford a full roof replacement, a new layer of shingles can provide needed protection at a much cheaper price.

A new layer of shingles can also be an option if you’ve recently purchased a home knowing that it needed a new roof Boston, but you’ve depleted your budget with the house purchase itself. A new layer of shingles can protect your new home for the next few years while you recover your finances and are then ready to invest in a new roof for your new home!

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