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roof - add a second layer or rip-off and replace
  • Thinking of installing solar panels on the house, but don't want any issues with the roof once they are in place. Got quotes for removing entire roof, but was also suggested by one of the contractors that I could just add a 2nd layer of shingles, which would be less than half the cost $2500 vs $6000. I know the original roof was not installed correctly, shingle nailed in the wrong place so only 1 nail goes into the shingle not 2. (ie) at the overlap the nail penetrates both the shingle you are putting in and also into the shingle above. Seems like this is a very common error by installers, as this occurs on both my roofs, one only installed 3 years ago. Should I add a 2nd layer or should I redo the whole roof? Can the water and ice shield - bithuthane be installed over the existing shingles and the new shingles nailed over. Also have skylight, which will probably be replaced, so the flashing details need to be correct. I assume the existing shingles around the skylight will need to be removed to install the proper flashing, will this create a low point around the skylights.
  • Daylaborer can probably expound more clearly but ice/water shield needs to be applied to the roof deck.Its usually optimal to rip off the old roof in order to inspect the sheathing,apply ice/water,roof edging,etc but code does allow a re-roof when one layer is present.Skylight issues can be overcome either way.The only thing that I don't believe would work would be to reroof over dimensional shingles with another layer of dimensional shingles, which I think would look lumpy and possibly void the warranty.
  • terminator3 - echoing georgie, ice/water shield membranes are for direct adhesion to the sheathing. if you've got installation deficiencies already as you know of, a completely new roof would be the best course, even given cost 'factors' (obviously a 2nd layer approach will be cheaper). your decision might also be guided by which type of solar photovoltaic system/panel(s) you're looking to use. It might be that the system you select recommends attachment/fastening -if one is undertaking a new roof exercise- to the roof structure & sheathing -when exposed- to best assure the waterproofing/flashing details of those connections.
  • My personal feeling would be to do it right and redo the roof from scratch. Otherwise you will have to remove the PV panels if you ever need to get to the shingles underneath again, and that is a pretty expensive job. Also, the post that hold up the panels need to be properly flashed and I would guess it's a lot easier for the installer to get this right and waterproof with only one layer of shingles, then two. PV panels last 20+ years, so you want the roof underneath to last at least that long.
  • We are facing a similar question...need to get a box gutter totally rebuilt, which would require removing the bottom few feet of a 12 year old 3 layer roof to install moisture block or somesuch.

    So we can either spend $1500 now, to remove and restore the bottom few feet and get another 10 years or so out of this roof, or go ahead and spend the $8000 or so to remove the old layers and redo the roof now, and be good for the next 30 years.

    I hate this kind of decision! Any opinions?
  • Posted By: terminator3Also have skylight, which will probably be replaced, so the flashing details need to be correct. I assume the existing shingles around the skylight will need to be removed to install the proper flashing, will this create a low point around the skylights.


    Skylights only work correctly with one roof. Rip it.

    Posted By: earlsterI hate this kind of decision! Any opinions?


    New roof. Keep those roof boys workin'!

    (Full disclosure; I'm not a roofer, but I played one IRL for 40 years.)
  • Posted By: susan1014We are facing a similar question...need to get a box gutter totally rebuilt, which would require removing the bottom few feet of a 12 year old 3 layer roof to install moisture block or somesuch.

    So we can either spend $1500 now, to remove and restore the bottom few feet and get another 10 years or so out of this roof, or go ahead and spend the $8000 or so to remove the old layers and redo the roof now, and be good for the next 30 years.

    I hate this kind of decision! Any opinions?


    Sounds like a big difference... if you were only going to live in your house another 5-7 years... then I would go with the 10 year repair.



    If we install the PV panels, wouldn't that protect the shingles underneath? The cause of deterioration of roof shingles is from heat and sunlight.... so presumably the roof would last much longer. Has anybody every replaced just 1/2 of the roof. For us it would be the south side where the PV's are going? Since the north side isn't as affected by the sun it is in much better condition.
  • susan1014 - 1st, above all, 3 layers of roofing is 'taxing' to a structure. Not 'endangering', not 'failure', but still overburdening what most structures are [generally] intended to support. Fundamentally, therefore, there is no question you should replace the entire roof. But, can it last another 10yrs? Probably. Should you go to the least cost choice? Maybe.

    Try looking at it this way - will you -if selling the home- redo kitchen, bathrooms, replace hot water heater, boiler/furnace, appliances, etc. to some level to facilitate the sale (and probably expend ~ $10K min. on those things)? So if you'll do that.... I'd say go get the full replacing effort in motion, so that if/when you do sell, the sales brochure can proudly state 'new roof' as done, instead of becoming a negotiating point in the haggling over final sale price. It'll be done, you'll derive a few years from it's use at least, and it'll be one less element to hinder the sale, ultimately. Just IMO.
  • Jeffbryant, terminator3, daylaborer, thanks for your thoughts!

    We have no plans to sell and could be here for decades (although obviously career or other changes could change that), so the issue is less resale related than timing of spend, etc., especially since I'm not currently in the paid workforce, and have a long list of home projects I want to do.

    You could argue that we do the new roof now, and we may never have to deal with it again (unless we are still in this home well into retirement).

    Or, you argue that for about $150/year, we can defer a more expensive spend. After all, even if the new roof lasts 30 years, that is over $250/year for the cost of the new roof. So maybe waiting to do the complete redo is a bargain.

    How real is the "overtaxing" element? I've never heard it mentioned before...are we risking more expensive repairs, increased risk of house structural failure in a natural disaster, etc. due to our two layers of asphalt over shake (I think)? I believe the roofer said that the third layer would no longer be allowed, but would love to understand just what damage/risk it is that we have been tolerating for the last 12 years!
  • susan1014 - again, you can make whatever cost decisions you want to make, but the roof does need complete replacement (whether by you or by eventual others....).

    on overtaxing, didn't intend to put a fear/question in your thoughts,,,,, think of a heavy load (like furniture) in one place over a long period of time. floors eventually tilt due to such (over)loading. any structure, over time will bend/deform in reaction to it's load. maybe a lot, maybe a little, depends on the severity of the load relative to the bearing capacity. any 'damage' is member change incurred by the roof over those 12 years and whatever else it's subjected to further. might be measurable, though not drastic. suffice it to say that the roof (probably) was designed to carry one to two layers of roof at best and a third is 'over' load, though not enough to cause a failure/collapse. are you 'at risk', more than other homes w/ only one or two layers (natural disasters, etc.)? maybe, maybe not.

    but all I can come back to is the roof needs to be replaced, and that's not in in question (imo). it's only a question of when.
  • Posted By: susan1014We have no plans to sell and could be here for decades (although obviously career or other changes could change that), so the issue is less resale related than timing of spend,



    If its only the issue of timing of spend, add the second layer. Caveat: concern about the added weight of the solar panels.

    Anyway, extra money is for the disposal cost of removed roofing. That can be deferred for about 25 years when we hope you will have more money.
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