Roof Overlay Vs. Tear Off – Which Is Right For Your Home?

Home renovations can be expensive, especially when roofs are part of the areas that need improvement. You may wonder whether to keep your old roof and add a new roof layer or get rid of it to make space for brand-new materials. If you want to find the best solution for your home, we're here to help!

The decision to tear off the existing roof in your home and install a new one or to overlay it with new materials depends on your preference.

Keeping the old roof and reinforcing it with new materials will reduce the project's labor costs since the renovations take a shorter time. In contrast, tear-off, although more costly than the overlay, will increase your roof's lifespan and your home's value.

Other than the timeframe and budget, there are several factors to consider to know which option is best for your home. We will tackle each consideration in detail to equip you with the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision. So, please keep reading!

gray roof tiles with windows square slate template. square grid pattern. the lower edge of the roof is formed by a metal strip for framing better tearing off layer of snow heat transfer through. - Roof Overlay Vs. Tear Off - Which Is Right For Your Home?

Roof Overlay Vs. Tear Off - Which Is Right For Your Home?

Proper roofing is an integral part of a renovation. In addition to being expensive, it can cause future problems if not correctly executed. For this reason, choosing what's best for your old roof is crucial.

construction site roofing black tiles

If you've worked with contractors, you've probably already heard them mention two important terms; roof overlay and roof tear-off.

Although these terms may sound mind-boggling, the concepts are not as complicated. To better understand the difference between the two, let's look at each and discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Roof Overlay

Detail of overlapping roofing tiles on a new build wooden house with dormer windows

You can renovate your house's roof using roof overlay - this entails keeping the old roof and placing new materials on top of it.

The exercise's result is such that your home looks like it has a new roof, even though you haven't replaced the old one.

Advantages Of A Roof Overlay

Before you call your contractor to tell them you would like to do a roof overlay, let's first look at some of the benefits of using this method.

Faster Installation

Homeowners who only have a short time to renovate the roof often resort to a roof overlay. The contractors save time because they don't handle the old roof.

Instead, they use it as the base for the brand new roofing materials, finishing the project quickly.


Although renovating your roof by overlaying it is still expensive since you still purchase the new materials needed for your roof, this option is more budget-friendly than a roof tear-off.

Because the renovation takes less time to complete, you save a lot of money by spending less on labor fees. So, an overlay is ideal if you have a tight budget but still want a new roof.

Disadvantages Of Roof Overlay

There is always a downside to everything, and roof overlay has several cons. Before choosing to do a roof overlay, you might want to consider the following.

Affects The Value

If you are in the real estate business or intend to sell your house someday, roof overlays can compromise the chances of selling it at a fair value.

This problem arises because possible buyers may not find this a smart choice for their future home, considering the challenges they will have to deal with someday.

Not Structure Friendly

Unlike a complete roof tear-off, roof overlay can cause structural damage in the future due to the added weight.

The house's foundations are proportionally built to hold the roof's weight. When you add another roof layer over the original one, your home's structure may be insufficient to support the weight of the roof after the overlay.

Can Only Be Done Once

Another downside of a roof overlay is that you can only do it once, unlike a roof tear-off. Aside from the structural stress, it can create if you do it multiple times, adding more roof layers can ruin how the roof area of your house appears.

In addition, although roof overlay can save you time and money during the installation, should you decide to remove the roof, you will have to deal with more cost-related problems since your contractors need to get rid of two roof layers.

Prone To Moisture-Related Structural Damage

Moisture can cause a lot of damage to your home's structure when not taken care of immediately. When there are two roof layers, you may have difficulty tracking where leaks are coming from, thus resulting in extensive structural damage over time.

Unpleasantly Finished Project

When doing a roof overlay, it is less likely that the new roof layer will look as good and even as a single layer. This is because the old roof probably has stubborn parts that can hinder the new materials from laying nice and flat on top of it.

Why You Might Want To Tear Off Your Current Roof

gray roof tiles with windows square slate template. square grid pattern. the lower edge of the roof is formed by a metal strip for framing better tearing off layer of snow heat transfer through

Don't want to stress yourself out in the future due to problems caused by having multiple layers of roofs? Then a complete roof tear-off is the best option for you. In this method, you replace the old roof with a new one.

This option offers more benefits than a roof overlay if you do not have a budget constraint.

Advantages Of A Roof Tear Off

We've already discussed the advantages of a roof overlay. To help you decide better, let's now discuss the benefits of choosing a roof tear-off.

Helps Fix Existing Roof Problems

You eliminate the existing issues by completely tearing off the entire roof since your contractor will install new materials. When tearing it off, you can also make a few changes to your roof's structure, design, and style.

Increases Your Home's Value

Unlike a roof overlay, replacing the old roof with brand-new materials increases your home's resell value. So, a tear-off is a better choice if you're into real estate and want to sell your house at a higher price.

Prolonged Lifespan

Using new materials for your roof is a great way to increase its lifespan while lessening the maintenance it needs. In addition, since it doesn't cause structural stress to your home's foundation, the structure can last longer.

Disadvantages Of A Roof Tear Off

Clay roof tile deterioration. Loose ridge capping mortar.

Like a roof overlay, a roof tear-off has its fair share of disadvantages. Consider the following cons of tearing off the roof before deciding.

Extended Period Of Project Completion

Since a roof tear-off entails completely replacing the roof instead of using the old roof as a base, it will take relatively longer to complete than a roof overlay.

Choosing roof tear-off is not smart if you're in a rush and want to finish the project in a shorter time.

More Expensive Than A Roof Overlay

If you have a tight budget but want to renovate your roof, a roof tear-off will cost you more money than a roof overlay would.

Aside from buying everything needed for the complete roof replacement, your contractor will require more labor. The longer it takes to complete the project, the more you will spend on labor fees.

Furthermore, since your contractor tears everything down, other issues that need fixing may surface, thus causing additional expenses on your end.

To Wrap Up

Roof renovation is an essential part of maintaining your house. So, before choosing between a roof tear-off and a roof overlay, make sure that you've weighed the implications of each choice to make sure that you pick the best option for your home.

Before you go, don't forget to check out these posts, too:

Roof Decking Vs. Sheathing: What Are The Differences?

11 Roof Shingles Color Ideas And Options

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *