Why should you have your old roof torn off before installing your new roof?

new roof

If it’s finally time to replace your roof and you’ve requested a proposal from a professional roofing contractor, you might be surprised to see “old roof tear-off” included as a line item.

This important step lays the foundation for proper roof installation. In this article, we’ll walk you through why this fresh start is necessary and what to expect.

What is a roof tear-off?

The initial phase of a roof replacement requires a tear-off. During this process, your roofing contractor removes old roofing materials from the roof’s decking. As the team moves across your roof, section by section, they’ll carefully tear off old shingles and visually inspect the structure of your roof. This allows roofers to identify any issues so they can properly address them and reduce the potential for further damage or roof problems in the future.

Rotted roof decking

How do I know if I have rotted roof decking? This is a very common question for homeowners, especially those with older homes. For some, a roof leak or water spots on the ceiling or attic are the only indications of potential roof decking issues. However, at this point, homeowners could have widespread water damage from a leaky roof that requires additional attention. That’s why it is important to have a roof inspection on older homes and after major storms. When your roof is damaged or old, it is essential to check for rotted roof decking. Skipping this step could cause a major problem with your new roof and jeopardize the safety of your home.

Chimney flashing replacement

In most cases, old shingles are not the only thing that will be removed during the roof tear-off process. It is also a very common practice to replace the flashing around your chimneys and pipe boots when a contractor is installing your new roof. This step is omitted if you are installing a new roof over top of an old roof. Removing these facets allows roofers to uncover any other potential roofing problems and identify any sources of early water intrusion. After your roofer prys, chisels and scrapes off old metal flashings and roofing cement, they are able to identify and address any issues. The roofer will then take precise measurements and custom craft replacement flashings to ensure a secure fit. While there are tutorials on how to flash a chimney, it is considered to be an advanced DIY project. It is best to avoid potential errors and leverage an expert roofer who knows how to leak-proof your chimney. If you’re not the original owner of the house, it is even more critical to have a professional assess the situation in the event the previous homeowners tackled this project in the past and missed a step.

Is it OK to put a second layer of shingles on a roof?

The short answer is no. While a second layer of roofing could offer a temporary fix for a leaky roof, it will add twice the amount of weight to the structure of your home. This added weight could cause structural damage. If a second layer of shingles was installed in the past, it certainly shouldn’t be done again. In addition to adding too much weight to your roof, dual layers could also trap excess moisture and heat which can cause the new layer to age faster. Once again, if a roofer does not remove the old layer of shingles, it is impossible to fully examine the decking for soft spots and leaks. You deserve peace of mind. A tear-off and full roof replacement makes for a better investment in the long run, especially since a second layer of shingles won’t last as long and could potentially cause issues.

Replacing your roof is an opportunity to identify and address any underlying problems you might have. It is important to find a reputable contractor who will do the job right and give you an up front estimate. If you’re located in Lookout Mountain or in the Chattanooga area, our team at In His Hands Roofing Contractors is more than happy to provide a consultation and estimate. Call (423) 637-4265 today.