In the roofing world, there’s a debate as old as time itself (or at least as old as asphalt shingles): Should you shingle over existing shingles, or is it a one-way ticket to Roofing Disasterville? As a roofing aficionado and proud owner of a successful exterior remodeling company, Green Collar Roofing & Exteriors, in Middletown, New York, I’m here to sprinkle some wisdom—and maybe a few laughs—on this age-old question.

Can You Shingle Over Shingles?


Understanding Re-Roofing

Re-roofing, also known as “overlaying,” is essentially giving your roof a makeover without the messy tear-off. Think of it as putting on a stylish new coat over your old one. But is this fashionable layering a brilliant hack or a fashion faux pas? Let’s dive in.

Pros of Re-Roofing

Short Term Cost Savings

Imagine skipping the grueling task of cleaning your garage by simply shoving everything into a corner and calling it a day. That’s what re-roofing feels like for your wallet. You dodge the labor costs and skip the dumpster fees, saving money faster than you can say, “I’ll take the risk.”


Time Efficiency

Re-roofing is like the fast-food drive-thru of the roofing world. No need for a full teardown; just slap on those new shingles and voilà! This speedy solution is perfect for those racing against an ominous weather forecast. After all, no one wants to be mid-roofing when Mother Nature decides to throw a tantrum.

Less Disruption

For homeowners, re-roofing is a bit like having houseguests who don’t rummage through your fridge. The process is less invasive, generates less debris, and keeps the noise levels to a minimum. Your neighbors might even thank you for the peaceful afternoons.

Cons of Re-Roofing


Potential for Hidden Damage

 Re-roofing can be like putting a band-aid on a zombie bite—covering up the problem without addressing the real issue. If there’s rot, leaks, or other damage lurking beneath those old shingles, you might be setting yourself up for a horror show when the underlying issues eventually resurface.

Added Weight

Roofs aren’t bodybuilders; they’re not designed to handle a lot of extra weight. Adding another layer of shingles is like asking your roof to wear a heavy winter coat in July. Older homes or those with less robust structures might groan under the pressure, leading to structural woes.

Limited Lifespan

Just as wearing two pairs of socks doesn’t make your feet last longer, re-roofing doesn’t necessarily extend the life of your roof. The old shingles can trap heat, making the new layer age faster. Plus, uneven surfaces can lead to wear and tear, turning your shiny new shingles into shabby old ones before their time.

Conditions for Re-Roofing

Re-roofing isn’t for everyone or every roof. Here are the golden rules:
  • Roof Deck Condition
Your roof deck needs to be in tip-top shape—think of it as the runway for your shingles. If it’s sagging, rotting, or otherwise compromised, it’s a no-go. Inspect, inspect, inspect!
  • Existing Shingle Type & Condition
If the old shingles look like they’ve been through a tornado and back, re-roofing is probably not your best bet. They need to be in reasonably good condition to provide a flat, stable base for the new layer. 3-tab shingles are typically the only ones we go over whereas architectural shingles are not a viable option due to their uneven surface.
  • Number of Existing Layers
Most building codes, including those in NY and NJ will not allow more than two layers of shingles. More layers equal more weight, and that’s a no-no. So, check those codes and avoid the trifold shingle sandwich.
  • Roof Slope
Low slope roofs and re-roofing go together like oil and water. A moderate to steep slope is your friend here, ensuring proper drainage and preventing water from overstaying its welcome.

Implications for Your Roofing Project

For a company like ours, making the right call between re-roofing and a complete tear-off is crucial. Here’s what we need to consider:

Project Assessment

Every roofing job starts with a detective-level investigation. We look for clues of damage, evaluate the deck’s strength, and chat with homeowners about their budget and timeline. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.
  • Customer Education
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to roofing. We make sure our clients understand the pros and cons of each option. An informed customer is a happy customer, and transparency is our secret sauce.
  • Quality Assurance
Whether we’re overlaying or starting from scratch, our standards are sky-high. Proper installation, top-notch materials, and a keen eye for detail ensure our roofs are built to last. We’re not just covering houses; we’re creating havens.
  • Regulatory Compliance
Adhering to local codes is like following a recipe—you can’t skip steps without risking a disaster. We stay updated on Middletown’s building codes to keep everything legal, safe, and insurance-friendly. 
  • Sustainability Considerations
In the roofing world, we have to balance efficiency with sustainability. Re-roofing can reduce waste, but we also consider the long-term impact. Our goal is to be practical and to consider all perspectives. 
The question of whether to shingle over existing shingles is a bit like deciding whether to double-dip your chips at a party. Sure, it might save time and effort, but is it worth the potential fallout? While re-roofing can offer cost savings, time efficiency, and less disruption, it also comes with risks like hidden damage, added weight, and a shorter lifespan for the new shingles.
For our roofing and exterior remodeling company in Middletown, New York, the key to success lies in thorough assessments, clear communication with clients, and unwavering commitment to quality and compliance. By weighing the pros and cons of re-roofing and making informed decisions, we can continue to deliver outstanding results and build strong, trusting relationships with our clients.
Whether we’re re-roofing or starting fresh with a tear-off, our mission remains the same: to provide top-notch roofing solutions that stand the test of time and weather.
So, next time you ponder the question of shingling over shingles, remember: It’s not just about saving a buck or two. It’s about making a choice that ensures your home stays safe, sound, and stylish for years to come. And if you need a little help making that decision, you know who to call—your friendly neighborhood roofing experts, Green Collar Roofing & Exteriors, ready to turn your roofing dilemmas into dreams come true.