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Buyer Beware: Roof Tear Off vs. Overlay

Learn the Difference Between a Roof Tear Off vs. an Overlay—and Why It Matters

As a homeowner, it’s understandable to assume that all roof replacements are essentially the same. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it’s crucial for homeowners to understand the two different types of roof replacement: a roof tear off vs. an overlay. 

At Dolan Roofing & Construction, we believe in consistent, clear communication and absolute transparency throughout our roofing process. While an overlay can make sense in some situations, unethical roofing companies may not inform the homeowner that their roof replacement will not include a full tear off. To help homeowners better understand why you should always know what’s happening with your roof, we’re breaking down the difference between a tear off vs. an overlay roof replacement. 

Roof Tear Off vs. Overlay: What’s the Difference?

When we refer to a roof tear off vs. overlay, we’re discussing two different methods for replacing a roof. While it may come as a surprise to many homeowners, not all roof replacements follow the same process!

A full roof replacement with a tear off means that your existing roofing system will be completely removed from your home, all the way down to the decking. This ensures your roofer can fully assess the health of your roof and start from the bottom layer, resulting in a more complete roofing system.

An overlay, on the other hand, involves installing a new roof over the top of existing roofing. In some cases, this could even mean installing a layer of shingles directly over your existing ones. While this is legal—up to two layers of shingles are allowed here in Texas and most of the U.S.—it’s not often the best practice for a roof replacement.

Is an Overlay Roof Replacement Always Bad?

While an overlay can be a sign of an unethical roofing company, not all overlay roof replacements are bad. Sometimes an overlay makes sense for the roof in question—for example, maybe the homeowner is looking for a way to save on the overall cost of their roof replacement, and the existing roofing system is fairly sound.

However, we don’t often recommend this route for your roof replacement, as a full tear off will result in a better, longer lasting roofing system most of the time. 

Why a Full Tear Off Is Better

When it comes to building a high-quality roof that you can put full confidence in, a full tear off is typically the best option vs. an overlay. Tearing your roof off down to the decking enables your roofer to more accurately assess the health of your roofing system. Without tearing the roof off, underlying problems could go unnoticed, which may lead to a premature roof replacement in the future if you opt for an overlay.

Buyer Beware: Talk to Your Roofer Before Starting Work

While an overlay is not always bad, the bottom line is this: if your roofer completes a roof replacement without communicating the difference between a tear off vs. an overlay, this is a major red flag. Deciding to install a new layer of roofing over the top of your existing roof is a major decision, and as the homeowner you should be fully informed of the potential advantages and consequences before work begins.

Talking to your roofer before beginning your project is a crucial step to ensure your roof replacement includes everything it should.

We’ll Walk You Through the Whole Process!

At Dolan Roofing, we don’t believe in cutting corners, and we especially don’t believe in hiding things from our customers. When you choose our professional roofers, in San Antonio, for your roof replacement, we’ll talk you through your options and walk you through the full roofing process

We always recommend a full tear off to our customers unless requested otherwise. If you’re interested in an overlay, we’ll first ensure you’re fully informed about the advantages and disadvantages of this method before making a final decision. Our goal is to complete all of the necessary steps that should be included with your roof replacement wherever possible..

Replacing your roof can be stressful—but at Dolan Roofing, our aim is to make everything as headache-free as possible. Schedule an inspection today!


Join the growing list of happy Dolan Roofing Customers.

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