Why Roof Overlay Is a Risky Roofing Repair Method: Understanding the Pitfalls and Best Practices

There are a variety of factors which can contribute to roof wear and tear causing the need for shingles or entire sections of a structure to be rebuilt, modified, or repaired. Depending on both the severity of the damage and cause, how the repair needs to be executed will vary in approach but there are considerable negatives to one specific method, though it may correspond to building guidelines and ultimately meet the building code.

Roof overlay is the practice of placing a new roof covering on top of an existing structure. This practice may initially appear to add an extra layer of protection but instead can be detrimental to the overall value of a property and decrease its fortitude. Although this particular method of repair may be legal and appear efficient, potentially saving on labor costs as the need for removing any materials is negated, this method has many factors which actually can hurt the ability to provide a safe and proper covering over the life of a structure.

Instead of electing to cover an already installed roof with new material, even in the event of a small patch, removing all of the material to the decking and instead utilizing a complete installation is the best, safest, and most efficient practice. This method allows for the proper protections to be applied for any home or business situated underneath the roof structure in question.

Each of the following reasons apply to an all-new roofing installation for these purposes.

Factory Warranty

Shingle warranties can differ considerably even within the same brand for different types of shingles. While the materials may differ, some offer coverages only on factory defects while others include different factors and may even cover the labor cost of installation and replacement if needed.

The inclusion of this labor is a distinct positive and something that sets apart many of the shingle brands from their counterparts, especially for a roofing job, but any measure taken to void the potential warranty will be considered extremely detrimental. For many, this includes the addition of new shingles on top of an already established structure.

For the warranty to remain in place, the shingle itself needs to be at fault from a factory defect and while this is a rare occurrence, intentionally putting the warranty into question with obvious malpractice isn’t a good measure.

Weight Addition

Roofing materials and building components provide a protective barrier between the outside elements and the interior of your home or place of business. This protection is warranted and necessary but the material used for construction is under a lot of duress immediately after installation. Having to be exposed to the elements, in addition to being somewhat responsible for heating and cooling, a roof serves many purposes on the building that it protects. The weight of the shingles adds stress to a structure and implementing new construction on top of an existing piece or section can spell disaster.

Especially in areas prone to heavy snow, any additional weight onto a roof is going to be an issue and needs to be given special thought before determining to add anything. For this reason, stripping the needed repair area down to the base decking is critically important, to avoid adding unnecessary weight on top of the specific building in question.

Replacing roof shingles using an overlay method will add unnecessary weight and when coupled with extreme snowfall could give reason for a potentially dangerous collapse.

Heat Measures

Opposite the potential for additional weight, adding new shingles on top of older ones will cause the heat absorption of a roof to double. Roofing materials are designed to absorb heat and while this serves to benefit a home or business in the winter, it can cause the same structure to become overheated during the warmer summer months.

Adding additional shingles, even on top of existing ones, will cause a roof to maintain more heat, and the added layer of material keeps the absorption for longer periods of time. This practice will cause a building to become extremely inefficient in regards to energy efficiency – not to mention being uncomfortable.

By avoiding the method of doubling up on roofing materials and instead electing to strip back any potential area of repair for new installation, a more efficient and effective roof installation can be completed.

In roofing, it all starts with the roof deck as the foundation for the outer layer and protective element on all buildings. Any damage to this material can be cause for concern as potential leaks or collapse could occur with even a minimal deficiency.

For this reason, proper inspections are necessary for ensuring the roof structure is up to par, especially if a severe weather event or other occurrence has happened which could have caused damage to the building.

If the roof deck is inaccessible, as would be the case with an overlay, then spotting any of these potential deficiencies becomes even harder to recognize. Instead, a roof that has been properly installed or stripped to the decking and then repaired, can easily be observed and examined for any potential hazards.

With over a decade of quality service and experience within the Denver area, Arvada Roofing and Construction has been providing roof construction, repair, and a variety of other services for nearly two decades. Their highly trained experts will provide an estimate on a repair project, which will never include an overlay, if needed. Should you find yourself in a situation where you are weighing options between a complete new roof installation or potentially only replacing or patching an area of the current structure, we are here to help. Our certified and extremely knowledgeable staff is here to handle any roofing job in addition to providing a variety of other services such as seamless guttering systems, or any potential damage analysis thought to be caused by severe weather for the purposes of insurance reporting. Contact us today online or call 303-432-2753 for your free estimate on any of the above mentioned projects!

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