What are the Pros and Cons of Layering Roof Shingles?

As the roofs on our houses age and near the end of their life-cycle, many homeowners are faced with a tough question when it comes time to fix, repair, or replace their roof:

– Tear the entire roof off and add a new one.

– Add new shingles and overlay the current roof.

Roof repair and re-roofing a house can cost a lot of money so many homeowners naturally wonder if they can get away with adding another layer of shingles on top of their current roof shingles.

We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons between complete tear off and compare it to an overlay roofing job.

Tear Off or Overlay?

Before we answer that question, we need to define precisely what a tear off and overlay is when it pertains to roofing:

Tear off – Roofers will remove every single roof shingle and then put on a brand-new layer of shingles.

Overlay – Roofers will add another layer of shingles on top of your current layer.

So, which one is better?

As it turns out there are many benefits to removing the current layer of shingles and replacing them with a new one. Most homeowners find that money saved by getting an overlay is not worth it in the long run.


There are many benefits to having your old roof completely torn off, and a new one added. For starters, you will have a brand-new roof. As the old roof is being torn off, the workers will discover any areas of damage or rotting wood and replace it entirely, giving you total peace of mind.

A new roof will also last longer and be much cooler than an overlay. This is due to the multiple layers of shingles trapping in heat which can cause the top layer to wear and curl prematurely. Did you know that a new roof is also a significant selling point when it comes time to sell your home?

A complete tear-off is also going to add curb appeal to the house. A new roof will make a great impression on all who view it, including potential home buyers. When viewed from the street level, a new roof will completely transform the look and feel of a house – this is why it’s so important to carefully consider roofing tile options.

The experts at ACME Roofing can not only give you a new roof, but also provide valuable advice on how to select the right roofing products that will give your residence that “new home” look and feel.


Many homeowners will opt for a roof overlay, which is adding another layer of shingles on top of the current layer. Compared to a total re-roof, this results in less time to install the new shingles and a slightly lowered cost.

However, there are many potential downsides to getting an overlay. For starters, it’s not going to last as long as a total re-roof would. A new layer of roof shingles can add several hundred pounds of extra weight to your roof. This, in turn, can cause structural issues to roofs that are already compromised.

The new roof may not look level because of the layering effect that occurs when you start layering shingles one on top of each other. Some older shingles may be curling, and it will cause the newer layer to bulge upwards.

You can’t track down leaks very well with a layered roof. A professional roof inspection will take a lot longer to perform, and the actual source of the leak may be hidden under multiple layers of tiles.

When roofs have leaks, water tends to run downwards and this means that a leak on top of your roof may not manifest itself until the water reaches the very bottom. At this point, it becomes a game of finding a proverbial needle in a haystack.

Roofing Contractors in Tacoma

A roof is the only thing that stands between us and outside elements. As such, many homeowners in the Tacoma area have relied upon the expert advice given to them from ACME Roofing to ensure proper roof repair. Give us a call at (253) 564-2292 or contact us via our website.

We’ve been in business for over 20 years and have the knowledge and experience to help protect you and your loved ones from the wet and wild climate of the Pacific Northwest.