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Federal Way Roofing: Article About Applying New Shingles Over Old

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After deciding it's time to replace a roof, the next decision homeowners face is whether to actually replace the roof by removing all of the old shingles and apply a new layer or simply lay down new shingles over the old. Applying new shingles over old ones sounds like a lazy shortcut that can only lead to problems. However, it's a common, acceptable practice that even reputable roofers from Federal Way Roofing engage in. It has many advantages over a complete tear-off and very few disadvantages.

One disadvantage to applying multiple layers of shingles is that they can get quite heavy. Laying down three or even four layers of shingles can occasionally cause the roof deck to collapse under the weight. However, any roof deck should be able to support two or even three layers of shingles.

A new layer of shingles can't be laid down over a seriously damaged surface, but a roof in decent shape can easily be re-shingled with a second layer of shingles. If it's done right, the re-laid roof will look as good and last just as long as roof laid down after a complete tear-off.

The major advantages of laying new shingles over old are time and money.

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There's no need to spend any time ripping off the old shingles. They don't have to be hauled away and disposed of. There's no need to lay down expensive felt paper, and the house doesn't need to be protected from the weather during the re-roofing job. Trying to keep rain out of a house during a complete tear-off job can be an expensive undertaking, particularly in the rainy Northwest.

Another advantage to the homeowner is a greatly reduced mess. Ripping off a roof is a messy undertaking. A dumpster needs to be brought in and placed somewhere. Nails end up all over the place and can get into car tires. Pieces of shingle can lodge in trees and even make their way into the house. A good roofer tries to reduce the mess, but ripping off a roof is just inherently messy.

Before deciding if a tear-off is necessary or if a overlaying will suffice, the roofer needs to inspect the roof. Determining the number of layers of shingles currently in place is an important factor in the decision. The state of the roofing that is currently in place is also important to assess. If the current roof doesn't have a smooth, flat surface, intact flashing and sound sheathing, it likely needs to be torn off, not re-shingled.

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