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What to fix first in an old house? A good question. Short answer is its roof, gutters and attic ventilation (its roof system). This is to primarily eliminate any water from entering the home, and any water damage being caused to any of the home’s vital systems (electrical, plumbing, framing, foundation and HVAC) and home’s interior.

If left alone, a simple roof leak could damage any renovations the homeowners have chosen to do to the home’s interior; as are the risks of not replacing an old roof. Which is more likely to happen with an old roof due to its;

When each part is working as it should in the anatomy of a roof, this ensures the longevity of your roof and home, while saving the homeowner from many rising utility and repair bills to come; As explained in how to extend the life of your roof shingles; As a roof does protect all of the home’s vital systems at the end of the day; electrical, plumbing, framing, foundation and HVAC system.

As a general rule of thumb, renovate/repair the home’s exterior first to provide yourself with a controlled environment, free of surprises. Followed by the home’s interior, otherwise you're risking damage to new renovations inside of the home.

At roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”), a homeowner can choose to make frequent repairs and maintenance on their old roof or replace their roof and reduce this altogether. From experience, forgoing a roof replacement will only mean more leaks and water damage is allowed to happen, which will make replacing the roof more expensive in the long-run. Further detailed in risks of putting off repairs on a leaky roof.

Here’s our recommended order of fixes to an old home:

Fixes to a Home’s Exterior

These fixes to a home’s exterior are meant to ensure a home’s protection from the outside elements, more importantly water damage is eliminated. Ensuring the longevity of the home while creating a controlled environment to safely renovate the home’s interior.

  1. Roof - A one layer roof to allow water to run-off to the gutter easily, offering the most protection, insulation and longevity of the roof. There are many reasons to not put shingles on top of shingles, highlighting that it will reduce insurance premiums, add manufacturer’s warranty and increase resale value.   
  2. Gutters - Functional gutters will catch water run-off and carry it at least 10 feet away from the home/home’s foundation. Preventing flooded basements, damaged landscaping, home’s siding, water going through the fascia into the home and damaging/sinking the foundation.    
  3. Attic Ventilation -  Proper airflow in and out of the attic will help moisture and excess heat/cold to escape, instead of getting trapped to cause water damage to the home’s interior. Saving homes in colder climates where improper ventilation will cause ice dams that will create holes under the shingles for water to enter, and extreme heat being trapped in the attic which will deteriorate the shingles quickly. Most importantly, prevent mold growth from causing toxic spores from spreading across the home and causing respiratory issues, among the other risks of poor attic ventilation.
  4. Attic Insulation - Insulation helps moderate the attic and roof’s temperature while saving the homeowner on rising utility bills, asbestos poisoning and repairs/replacing their HVAC systems sooner. Moderating the attic’s temperature will prevent excessive condensation and frost in the winter, and it will help keep the attic cool in the summer (moisture and heat shorten the lifespan of a roof). Installing insulation will easily outlast the roof, lasting up to 40 years or more, and make up for the investment over a few years of utility bill savings.     
  5. Flashing - Includes the roof (and any air vents, chimney, etc.), windows, doors and porch. Flashing is a metal strip that protects sensitive joints where a roof plane meets a wall or another roof plane, window/door meets a wall, etc. which are the most likely areas to leak directly into the home’s interior. Depending on the area, an ice and water barrier can be installed behind flashing to provide double protection against a leak.
  6. Foundation - Seismic activity or constant water draining into the foundation will cause it to crack and fall out of alignment; Causing floors to sag or become unleveled, doors and windows will not close and/or seal fully, etc. Filling the cracks and re-leveling the foundation will ensure the home’s longevity. If this is an issue for the windows and doors, address this before replacing the windows and doors to avoid having to do it twice.    
  7. Replace Windows and Doors - Windows and doors should be replaced to prevent water/air leaks, increase energy efficiency of the home and cold winters ahead; New windows will provide additional UV protection, preventing the home’s interior (furniture, decor, flooring, etc.) from fading, and rot behind the window compromising the home’s framing; New doors will provide additional security, prevent water/air leaks from rotting the home’s framing and more durable against thermal expansion (hot/cold warping, cracking and peeling the door).    
  8. Replace Any Damaged Siding and Fascia - Prevents wind-driven rain and debris from forcing its way into the home’s interior. Water damage to the fascia behind the gutters will misalign the gutters and allow water to enter directly into the home, under the drip edge which is a serious issue. Upon replacement, ice and water barriers can be installed behind the siding to ensure water doesn’t enter the next time around, like a leak where the porch meets the roof.     

Fixes to a Home’s Interior

Fixes to a home’s interior should start after the exterior is taken care of for a homeowner’s peace of mind. These fixes are to ensure the homeowner’s safety from older materials and prevent water/mold damage from making an older home uncomfortable to live in. Once completed, rooms can be renovated as the homeowner pleases because it will be free from unexpected damage due to an old home’s hidden problems. 

  1. Replacing Home’s Insulation - Older homes (40 years plus) come installed with asbestos insulation which is a health risk, will cause utility bills to rise, and make the home generally uncomfortable to live in; Being at the end of its lifespan. New insulation is an inexpensive renovation that increases energy efficiency, and will prevent moisture buildup that leads to mold growth.
  2. HVAC (Heating and AC) Ventilation System - Upgrading to a propane, natural gas or electrical ventilation system will allow it to efficiently heat/cool every room in the home; Improving air filtration from harmful spores in the air, while improving airflow to remove excess moisture/heat from the air more efficiently than opening a window; Most importantly this will prevent mold, rot and organic growth from occurring inside the home, resulting in respiratory issues for all occupants.   
  3. Electrical System - An old home will most likely have losses of power to the home, malfunctioning appliances, rising utility bill savings and not be as safe; A relatively inexpensive investment any homeowner should do is to replace the electrical panel, allowing consistent energy flow to prevent losses of power and appliances from malfunctioning, while increasing a home’s electrical safety and resale value.
  4. Plumbing System - An older home with copper or metal piping will be at risk of thermal expansion causing cracks and leaks in the system, and be able to provide limited water pressure to the home resulting in clogged pipes more often. Investing in re-piping a home with PVC pipes will help to improve water quality by preventing smells, rust and other unhealthy materials from traveling through the pipes; Increase water pressure so hot water reaches all of the taps; Prevent insurance claims on leaks due reduced future plumbing issues.
  5. Restructure (Framing) Walls - When repurposing a home, its load bearing walls can be moved at the cost of rerouting electrical, plumbing and air ducts, except it is more efficient to do after the previous fixes have been completed. Additionally, drains from upper levels and air ducts need to be re-routed. An engineer and framer can assess this to ensure the home’s structural integrity is not compromised.  
  6. Room Renovations - Design and renovate rooms in your home as you please from this point forward, as it will give contractors less trouble and less unexpected costs to the homeowner; Kitchen, living room, master bedroom, bathrooms and suites, etc. are all fair game for decorating and designing as the homeowner chooses.

The risks of poor attic ventilation mainly relate to the attic’s inability to create enough airflow to move moisture and heat from inside to outside of the attic. Preventing the attic from staying dry and free of moisture as it should be. Causing damage to the roof that shortens its lifespan, as it's meant to stay dry too, and can’t prevent the growth of mold, algae, rot, etc. within the home. That’s quite a problem.

How it works is that heat rises from inside the home when its occupants are cooking, running the dishwasher, dryer, taking a shower, etc. Assuming all exhaust pipes from appliances are routing outside of the home already, residual heat should be rising into the attic. With enough active and passive ventilation in the attic it should be able to release all of this without a problem as detailed in the anatomy of a roof.

At roofing mission (a.k.a BulletpRoof), taking preventative measures ahead of time will always save the homeowner a lot of trouble when it comes to maintaining their roof system and protecting their home. A few minor repairs, installing new ventilation or upgrading to an efficient ventilation system will go a long way towards the longevity of a roof.

In this scenario there is a lack of attic ventilation not allowing enough airflow, potentially blocked vents or dysfunctional active vents are in the mix, and leading to the following issues.

Table of Contents

Major Risks of Poor Attic Ventilation

These are major risks of poor attic ventilation as they can potentially cause serious harm to the home and its occupants if not taken care of in a timely manner. As these problems exist beyond the roof system, the repairs will be extensive to bring the home back to being in good condition again.

  1. Extreme Attic Heat in the Summer -  A lack of airflow in the attic will cause air to become trapped in the attic, reaching temperatures of 150 degrees fahrenheit (65 degrees celsius) in the summer. Which will damage the roof’s shingles that are meant to remain cool in order to last long, and will heat up the rest of the home. As opposed to a climate-controlled attic which would remain the same temperature as outside of the home.
  2. Condensation Buildup in Winter - When the roof is cold due to the outside temperature and the attic is trapping heat within it, causing the attic and underside of the roof to create condensation; Similar to a soda being put into room temperature and forming drops of water on its sides. This trapped moisture will prevent the attic and roof from staying dry, damaging the roof deck and its framing in the process.    
  3. Shorten Roof Lifespan - A roof is meant to stay cool and dry to perform its best, with poor ventilation this is not the case so its lifespan will be cut short. Primarily due to the lack of airflow trapping heat in the attic coupled with outside temperatures. 
  4. Ice Dams on the Roof are Likely - Ice dams are when snow melts, freezes and on the next melt, water gets trapped behind it; Major risk to the roof as its ice will make its way under the shingles, through the roof deck too if there’s enough space. Due to attic trapping heat in the winter it will cause ice dams to occur almost daily in the event of snow.   
  5. Frost Forming in the Attic - Condensation that builds up in the winter will freeze overnight on the underside of the roof and the edges of the attic where condensation formed earlier. Causing nails holding the shingles to become frosted which will become rusted over time and drip water every time it heats up again. This will widen the nail holes, allowing leaks to start from the top of the roof. Also, this frosting and melting of frost in the attic will cause water damage to the roof’s framing, electrical wires and plumbing in the attic, while helping cause ceiling leaks in the process.    
  6. Mold, Mildew and Rot Growth - Mold, mildew and rot each grow in damp environments like a poorly ventilated attic, and are a fungus that helps to break down any old materials back into soil. This will cause damage to any surface in the attic from its framing, roof deck, electrical, plumbing, etc. Notably, it will enable mold to grow exponentially faster, release toxic spores into the HVAC system and cause many respiratory issues for occupants.     
  7. Unwanted Pests Inside - A poorly ventilated attic will result in cracks to the exterior of the home allowing insects, rodents and other small pests to access your attic/home. These pests will eat through electrical wires, carry disease, eat through walls, get into the food storage, etc. If there are bats, certain species are under extinction conservation so the homeowners will not be able to evict the bats like other pest species.
  8. Layered Shingles - When multiple layers of shingles are installed on a roof they will trap water and moisture in addition to that trapped in the attic. Causing damage from above the roof and below, drastically shortening the life of the roof while obscuring any leaks within its layers. Meaning there will be water damage that isn’t all too visible to the homeowner; Further details in reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles and are two layers of shingles better than one

Minor Risks of Poor Attic Ventilation

These are minor risks due to poor attic ventilation because these issues are isolated to the roof system for the most part. They are still manageable or early enough to repair without causing too much additional pain.

  1. Leaks from Deteriorating Roof - As the roof deteriorates it will become less waterproof or be less capable of having water run-off it as it should. Causing water to accumulate on areas of the roof, which will lead to leaks.
  2. Roof Deck is Sagging - Where the moisture buildup in the attic has softened the roof framing/decking and has caused it to sag in places. As water begins to accumulate in these areas, they are likely to leak then lead to additional water damage. As long as a professional is able to repair the roof deck/framing, the roof will continue to live on, it’s not worth the homeowner injuring themselves over.   
  3. Paint Will Peel -  Trapped moisture in the attic will recede back down into the home’s interior/exterior since it has nowhere else to go, this will cause moisture absorption into anything it can attach to. This moisture buildup will cause the paint to blister and peel.
  4. Bulging Walls and Musty Odors - Moisture buildup that recedes from the attic in the home will attach to the drywall and plastering. This Results in the plaster releasing a musty odor back into the home and the drywall will begin to bulge or misshapen to compensate for the moisture it has absorbed.    
  5. Rusted Fasteners Inside/Outside - Fasteners like nails, brackets, mounts, etc. will inevitably rust due to the excessive moisture buildup. This rust will be dangerous if water carries it into contact with exposed electrical wires. Otherwise it will loosen its hold and allow the holes that it's created to leak.  
  6. HVAC Overworked & Shortened Lifespan - HVAC will have trouble moderating the temperature as it will be too hot or too cold the majority of the time, forcing the HVAC system to be working all of the time. A telltale sign is when different rooms in the home have different temperatures as the HVAC system is unable to keep up with the home’s demands. Eventually, it will need constant repairs and need to be replaced at some point.  

Conclusions About The Risks of Poor Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation is meant to create enough airflow in and out of the attic to ensure moisture and heat are released easily from the home. Alternatively, if there is poor attic ventilation, it puts the roof and home’s lifespan at risk.

As a homeowner it's important to take care of the entire roof system; attic, ventilation, roof and gutters. It's all or nothing, when one is in disarray like attic ventilation this prevents the roof from insulating and protecting as well as it should. 

Primarily, poor attic ventilation causes the trapping of moisture and heat which will lead to various kinds of water damage, and mold along with respiratory issues for its occupants. While affecting each of the home’s vital systems at the same time; electrical, plumbing, foundation, framing and HVAC system.

Taking preventative measures to bring the attic ventilation back into working condition will save the homeowner all of this trouble in the long-run, at a relatively affordable investment.  

There are always ways to make a roof last longer no matter the conditions. Depending on a home’s location, weather conditions, surrounding vegetation, roof’s current condition and a homeowner’s knowledge about their home. These all affect how long a roof will last in the long run.

To effectively make your roof last longer, it’s important to understand that the anatomy of a roof is designed to protect the home and insulate it. It does both by forming a watertight membrane to keep debris and weather out, while allowing moisture and heat to escape from the roof’s anatomy; Specifically, the attic space, roof deck and shingles. Preventing damage to any of the home’s vital systems in the process; Includes electrical, plumbing, framing, foundation and HVAC systems. Which is why, it is what to fix first in an old house.

As a homeowner, it’s their responsibility to be aware of what are shortening your roof’s life: 

While a fully functional and well-maintained roof system will easily last an average of 20 years or more for asphalt shingles. 

At roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”), we understand that not every homeowner is aware of the roof’s responsibility to protect the home and put a blind trust towards it at times. Not saying it's bad to do that, except to treat the roof as one of your home’s vital systems like electrical, plumbing, etc. because by maintaining the roof, the homeowner protects the rest of the home’s systems and extends the life of the home in the process.

We’ll cover a number of ways to make a roof last longer:

Homeowner’s Awareness of Changes to their Home

Keep an eye on the home’s vital systems; roofing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, framing and foundation. As one is affected, problems will cascade across the home, catch small problems early so they can be repaired before a large problem comes along to overwhelm you.

  1. Look at Your Roof Regularly - Simply see if the roof looks like it is in good shape or if something doesn’t look right. This goes for the roof, a home’s perimeter and the interior of the home, checking every room. Keeping note of any damage that needs to be looked into further, in order to catch small problems before they become big and dangerous; Some of the risks of putting off repairs on a leaky roof and the risks of not replacing an old roof.
  2. Check for Problems After Storms - Always after a storm, check the roof, perimeter of the home and interior of the home to rule out whether there were problems or not. Perform this check early, to ensure there isn’t any unwanted leaks or damage that wasn’t accounted for. This will make an insurance claim easier to go through and can have repairs started sooner than later.  
  3. Use Binoculars to Get a Closer Look - After a glance, there might be an issue to look further into. Avoid going onto the roof yourself, use binoculars to scope out the problem further instead.  
  4. Check the Attic - Again to avoid going onto the roof, physically go into the attic with a flashlight and look for visible issues. Along with smells, small animals, vents and whether the temperature is uncomfortable. These are all signs the roof is deteriorating. 
  5. Document Roof Repairs and Changes to the Roof - Create a running folder to keep track of previous roof repairs, any pictures taken of changes to the roof with notes and any professional recommendations for when/what your roof needs to stay in good shape. This helps to keep track of the roof’s condition and make timely repairs before it is too late.     
  6. Watch for Rising Energy Bills - This is due to the HVAC system working too hard to cool or heat the home throughout the year because the roof isn’t insulating as it should. Shortening the life of the roof, as temperature fluctuations allow moisture/water to build up on and on the underside of the roof (or roof deck); Damaging the roof and other vital home systems in the process.
  7. Keep an Eye out for Roof Sagging - Areas of the roof may sag, this is a bad sign that the roof’s framing is in need of repairs and the roof deck needs replacing due to water softening the boards. The earlier a homeowner catches this issue, the smaller the repair and the roof will last longer. Left alone, that will not be the case unfortunately, needing a full roof replacement in the worst case scenario.    
  8. During a Rainy Day, Watch the Water Flow -  When it's raining, take some time to watch the way the water runs off the shingles and into the gutters to get an idea of areas that might need some work or that require further information to fix. It’s possible to spot potential leaks easier when you can see where water is pooling on the roof and gutters. 
  9. Consult a Professional - Ask for advice whenever you’re unsure as to the situation with your home and your roof. As a homeowner’s untrained eye will not catch the finer details a professional would see without any trouble.
  10. Get Multiple Perspectives - If a problem with a roof isn’t clear, say in the case a roof is leaking where a porch meets roof which could be having problems for a number of reasons. It’s possible a home’s siding, fascia, framing, electrical, etc. could’ve been affected so it’s important to understand the full picture from multiple professionals first.   
  11. Research Before Repurposing Your Home - Think of it this way, a home is designed to handle so much ventilation, insulation, electrical and plumbing capacity, framing can only hold so much weight, etc. When a home is repurposed, these requirements change and will most likely overload these systems. This includes the roof, shortening its life in the process. So it's best to do some research, budget for anything to get your home up to spec and in that way the roof will last longer as a result. 

Appropriate Roof Installation

By appropriate roof installation, means to have a roof installation is not only done well but suitable to meet your home’s unique conditions; location of the home, surrounding vegetation, weather conditions, climate, etc. 

  1. Never Layer Shingles - Layering shingles shortens the life of a roof and a single layer of shingles will outlast a layered shingle roof every time, we’ve covered 64 reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles and are two layers of shingles better than one. The main reason is that by layering new shingles onto old shingles which are curled, broken or missing will allow water to accumulate above, below and in between the shingles; While trapping heat between the layers, whereas shingles are meant to stay cool and dry to ensure their longevity.
  2. Never Mix Roofing Materials - Meaning layering shingles on cedar shakes, tile on shingles, metal panels on shingles, etc. Each combination has incompatible installations of roofing materials is the problem here. Where cedar shakes need extra ventilation to prevent rotting so no roof deck is installed, shingles need to stay cool and flat to the roof deck or else they will lose granules and deteriorate quickly, etc. Criss-crossing installations like this only shortens the life of the roof.
  3. Select Higher Quality Roofing Materials - Higher quality roofing materials come with better durability, lifespans and fire ratings to protect against weather and outside elements better. With shingles, depending on the materials it could last 30 years on average as opposed to 20 years on average.
  4. Work with a Reputable Roofer - Proper workmanship on the roof ensures a roofer didn’t cut corners for one and that the roofing materials will remain secure for the long-term. Recommended to interview a few roofers to gauge who is the right roofer to work with, look for a proactive roofer who has everything organized.
  5. Select the Appropriate Roofing Material - Depending on your home’s location and its surrounding condition, investing into specific roofing materials will be the only way to make your roof last longer; Asphalt shingles last between 20-30 years on average, never select 3-tab shingles which are cheap and weak against rain and storms instead premium or architectural shingles are resistant up to 100mph winds; Cedar shakes last between 15-20 years on average, generally 6 times more expensive than shingles, and weak against storms and not fireproof. Purely an aesthetic choice; Metal roofs last between 20-50 years on average: ribbed metal last 25-40 years, standing seam lasts 30-50 years, premium metals (zinc, stainless steel, copper, etc.) will last up to 100 years. At a higher price point, they are resistant to hail, snow and wind up to 140mph; Slate is good for homes that are meant to have a long life, averaging 100 years it is costly to install and requires an engineer to ensure the home can handle the weight before beginning installation.
  6. Use High-Quality Flashing - Flashing are metal strips that protect sensitive joints on the roof like the chimney, air vents, roof valleys, etc. Be careful with chimneys, being the area most likely to leak, made of brick and mortar which contain lime that will erode an aluminum flashing; Instead use copper or galvanized steel. Generally, use stainless or galvanized steel to be certain erosion will not set in easily, and then caulking when applied correctly will seal the area completely.
  7. Roofer is Insured - During an installation, ensuring a roofer has general liability and worker’s compensation to protect your home and their crew in the event of an accident. Meaning if there are damages to the roof, its repairs will be covered, and if a worker is injured, their recovery will be covered. Saving the homeowner from having to live with an unfinished roof. 

Roof Maintenance Tasks

Ensuring roof maintenance tasks are top of mind, proactively removing anything that could prevent the roof system from working correctly; gutters, roof, attic, roof framing, ventilation system, etc. This means preventing water from accumulating on the roof and gutters, making sure air ventilates enough to keep the roof and attic dry, and any potential problems in the process; Review the 24 risks of neglecting your roof maintenance for more information.

  1. Perform Maintenance Twice a Year - This would be the beginning of Spring and Fall before winter begins. Cleanup and minor repairs; It would involve cleaning debris, moss, mold, etc., removing overhanging branches, replacing any damaged or missing shingles and flashing, and caulking any nail holes or loose flashing. Preventing any issues with the roof before it turns into a real problem later.
  2. Regular Roof Inspections - Hire a professional roof inspector to check the roof at the beginning of fall for anything the homeowner has missed and for any repairs that they recommend to get done, in order to make your roof last longer. A full inspection will include a structural inspection, material inspection, workmanship inspection and home interior inspection, ensuring everything is checked.
  3. Re-Apply UV Coating to Shingles - A roof of 10-15 years will start to show signs of fading depending on where your home is located, once this coating has worn off completely will speed up the damage to the shingles; Shortening the life of the roof. To prevent this and temporarily extend the life of the roof, re-apply a UV coating to the shingles every few years after the shingles begin to show signs of fading.
  4. Regularly Applying Chemical Treatment to Cedar Shakes - Temporarily extending the life of cedar shakes by preventing insects and rot setting in sooner to break down the shingles. Keep in mind, cedar shakes don’t last as long in wetter climates as it's not possible to keep up with the constant maintenance required due to the weather.     
  5. Avoid Power Washing - A power washer generates too much concentrated force on the roof and will break granules off of the shingles making it useless. Without its granules, shingles don’t offer any weather or UV protection for your home. This will shorten the life or end the life of many of your shingles. 
  6. Avoid Walking on the Roof - Only walk as much as required, no more and no less. As the pressure from the weight of a person walking on the roof can lead to damaging the shingles or cause the roof deck to sag. Each of which will allow water to pool, leading to leaks that will shorten a roof’s life. Especially, concrete and clay tile roofs that are exposed to the sun will form spider cracks or become brittle enough to break under the weight.  
  7. Manually Clean the Roof -  Use a broom, leaf blower and garden hose to clean the roof of moss and debris to the best of your ability. This maintains the shingle granules for a longer period of time this way, extending the life of the shingles. 
  8. Avoid Using Bleach to Clean Moss - Bleach is corrosive, it will eat through any damaged shingles or exposed soft roof decking, removing the shingles’ protective coating against UV rays, it will damage landscaping, and will run-off into streams and rivers poisoning the environment. An eco-friendly cleaner would suffice to spot clean moss, algae, and mold from the roof, normally spray-on and let the rain carry away the dead moss for you. 
  9. Check Ventilation - Assess the locations of soffits and vent locations in the attic, ensuring all ventilation leads outside and is enough to keep the attic dry. Common problems here are bathroom or kitchen vents leading directly into the attic, trapping heat and moisture in the attic. This only shortens the life of the roof; Some of the risks of poor attic ventilation.
  10. Clean Blocked Vents and Soffits - Any blocked vents and soffits will prevent hot air and moisture from escaping the home/attic correctly. This will lead to moisture build up on the underside of the roof and trap heat that will shorten the life of the roof. Left alone, this water damage will affect the home’s vital systems; framing, electrical, foundation, plumbing and HVAC systems eventually. 
  11. Clean the Gutters - Gutters’ responsibility is to direct water as far away from the home’s foundation as possible. When they are clogged, this water overflows back towards the house leading to flooded basements, damaged siding, fascia and roof framing damage, etc. Remove leaves, use a brush to remove grime and cut away any branches rubbing against the gutters.
  12. Clean Debris from Roof Valleys - Roof valleys are the lowest point between two roof planes, which makes it a sensitive roof joint and an easy place for water to pool. With debris caught in these areas, water will pool even easier and leak, while damaging the shingle granules will be eroded away. This is worse without the proper ice and water barrier and flashing installed in these areas, or else water will leak quite quickly. 
  13. Remove Piles of Leaves - Leaves when left alone will trap moisture, and surrounding low trees around your home will naturally create piles of leaves on your roof. Left long enough, these leaves will help water to accumulate either leading to leaks or helping the leaves decompose into soil to help weeds grow, rooting underneath shingles and pulling them up. Clean up the leaves with a roof leak rake, a garden hose, leaf blower or a telescoping pole with a soft car washing brush. Otherwise hire someone to take care of this for you. 
  14. Cut Away Overhanging Branches - These branches in the event of a storm can fall down and leaves are more likely to fall onto the roof as well. Removing these branches will save you cleanup maintenance tasks with the roof and gutters and prevent you from having to deal with a branch falling through the roof in the middle of the night. In the event that an emergency repair is needed, a patch may or may not seal the area completely, potentially causing leaks. 
  15. Dislodge Snow from the Roof - Never scrape the ice as it will damage the roof, instead breakup built up snow during breaks between storms especially within 3 to 4 feet of the gutters. This prevents ice dams from working its way under the shingles, allowing water to enter the roof deck and shorten the life of the roof in the process.
  16. Replace Missing/Worn Out Nails - If nails or fasteners aren’t outlasting your roof and are falling out, that’s a bad sign; Either these nails are of lower quality or there are issues with the roof deck becoming soft that need addressing.
  17. Replace Any Damaged/Bald Shingles - Spot replace shingles that are curling, broken, missing or are missing the majority of their granules, as these shingles are no longer protecting the roof. Replacing them will ensure the roof will last a little longer.              

Timely Roof Repairs

Timely roof repairs are key to extending the life of a roof, completed early enough the costs are minimal and the roof doesn’t take on additional damage from neglect. The name of the game being to not have any major repairs that would disrupt a homeowner’s life. 

  1. Prevent Regular Algae and Moss Growth - Have a zinc or copper strip installed at the peak of the roof, allowing the metal particles to run down the roof when it rains and prevent organic growth from taking root. This prevents water from accumulating in areas where moss grows and not allow water to get under the shingles at the same time.  
  2. Install an Efficient Attic Ventilation System - Highly recommended for homeowners who live in colder climates and warmer climates alike, having an efficient attic ventilation system helps guarantee ventilation. This means installing active ventilation systems that are constantly working to help moisture and air to escape; As opposed to passive air vents that provide minimal ventilation depending on where the home is located. 
  3. Insulate Cathedral Ceilings - An uninsulated cathedral ceiling with lighting fixtures and where the roof places meet will cause moisture buildup (in the fixture and on the underside of the roof) and ice dams to form on top of the roof due to the fluctuating temperature. When ice melts, refreezes and drips, it will dig its way under the shingles until water is leaking into the home, and moisture buildup in the fixtures/roof’s underside will shorten the life of the roof.
  4. Insulate the Attic -  An insulated attic saves ¼ of a home’s heat, lasts over 40 years and easily makes up for its cost in energy bill savings. Aside from that, it will regulate the temperature of the attic, preventing moisture to build up on the underside of the roof that will shorten the life of the roof; Consequently this will damage electrical, framing, HVAC and plumbing systems over time. As a side effect, it will allow nail holes to allow water to leak through due to the thermal contraction and expansion of the roof beyond what is permitted.
  5. Repair and Realign Gutters - Ensure the gutters are in working order, when shingles allow water to run-off into the gutters and it carries the water away from the house. Otherwise, when the water is being diverted towards the home or roof, then the gutters need repairs as soon as possible. Any water that overflows or flows back towards the roof will damage the roof and shorten its life.  
  6. Repair Flashing Around Roof Protrusions - A roof protrusion includes skylights, chimney, air vents, plumbing, etc., anything that vertically sticks out of the roof. These roof protrusions lead directly into the attic and home. As a result, they require properly installed flashing otherwise they will leak, damaging the roof deck and the protection underneath the shingles; Shortening the life of the roof. 
  7. Replace Any Damaged Pipe Boots - Pipe boots are normally made of a neoprene seal that will break down from the sun’s UV rays, cracks in these seals will allow water to run along this pipe into the home; Into a closet, kitchen, bathroom, etc. 
  8. Repair a Damaged Chimney -  Chimneys are usually prime suspects for leaks from our experience, repair their bricks and mortar, clean the chimney of soot to reveal any other underlying issues and nail the flashing down if it is loose. These leaks often spread quickly from the chimney into the roof deck and home, so it's best to repair them to ensure your roof lasts longer.

Emergency Roof Protection

If all else fails, having emergency protocols in place will prevent the homeowner from becoming stressed from an expensive out-of-pocket expense in an emergency situation.

  1. Fortify the Roof - In areas where wind is hazardous, or there are regular storm events, it's best to fortify the roof; 3 stage fortification includes sealing decking with tape or sealant, installing ring shank nails to resist wind uplift and locking down a roof’s edges with metal flashing. Areas with hurricanes, require single layer metal roofing and don’t allow multiple layers of shingles for the homeowner’s safety.
  2. Insurance Coverage - Regular roof inspections will allow insurance provider’s to provide a fair assessment on insuring their roof in the case of an accident or storm event. Allowing the insurance provider to replace your roof in these cases, in a way extending the life of your roof. 
  3. Manufacturer’s Warranty -  A Manufacturer’s warranty ensures specific damaged materials are replaced if they do not last as long as specified. Before an installation is completed, ensure you ask for the manufacturer’s warranty and what a homeowner should know about it. Normally it would include a material warranty, pro rated enhanced warranty and contractor’s workmanship warranty; For example, 3-tab asphalt shingles come with a 25 year warranty, architectural 30 year warranty that’s pro rated 10 years after coverage ends. Further, if a roofer uses all components from one manufacturer the homeowner receives a 50 year non pro rated warranty and contractor’s workmanship warranty.
  4. Partial Repair with Spray Foam Roofing - It is meant to protect a part of the roof so that it is not necessary to replace a roof immediately, in the case a part of the roof is damaged. It's a mixture of polyol resin and a isoycanate that together forms a durable airtight seal. Temporary patch to extend the life of the roof. 
  5. Last Resort, Coat Roof with Elastomeric Paint - This option will void manufacturer’s warranty, insurance coverage and make further repairs an out of pocket expense for the homeowner, you have been warned. As a last resort, coat the roof with elastomeric paint that will seal any small defects or holes in the roof for at least a few years. 

Conclusions About Ways to Make a Roof Last Longer

By following these ways to make a roof last longer, it can easily add another 5-10 years depending on the roof’s current condition, the amount of wear it takes from the outside elements and a homeowner’s diligence.

Always, be aware of changes to the home and roof. Anytime there is a chance of water accumulation, water isn’t draining where it should be, or there is something suspicious in the home. Do some research or investigate it further.

Neglecting the problem will only result in heartache in these situations; Reason being, the roof protects all of the home’s vital systems like electrical, plumbing, framing, foundation and HVAC, and can disrupt all of them. 

Finally, by all means keep a record and consult a professional whenever you’re unsure as they will most likely catch anything the homeowner has missed. Preventing a situation of roof neglect because the homeowner was not informed as such.

Are four layers of shingles better than one? In theory it sounds better, an additional layer of shingles should provide additional protection for the homeowner’s roof and it is less costly in the short-term at the same time; 

Maybe more or less layers of shingles would be better than one, asking are three layers of shingles better than one? Or are two layers of shingles better than one? It’s advisable to take some consideration before coming to a decision on these.

In reality, the short answer is No, one layer of shingles is always better than four layers of shingles because it offers the most protection possible, by being secured flat to the roof deck it avoids issues with gaps/bumps created by layering shingles. Preventing:

Generally, when a homeowner is considering adding three layers of shingles to their home, it’s recommended to tear-off the shingles and install one layer again. Then layer up to two layers of shingles again if the homeowner chooses to.

The reason being that three layers adds too much weight to the home and makes issues related to layering shingles even worse than they were before. Shortening its lifespan faster than two layers of shingles would.

When a roof reaches four layers, the same general rule applies from three layers of shingles to four, except it will be more costly to the homeowner to replace the roof.

Layering shingles is a bad idea because it:

At roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”), we advise against layering shingles because it will save the homeowner a lot of trouble and a lot of money over the long-term. Especially since layered shingles will require multiple replacements over the 20 year average lifespan of a single shingle layer roof.  

Table of Contents

Why to Not Layer Shingles?

In detail, there are about 64 reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles, though there are a few worth noting here:

Conclusion About Four Layers Being Better Than One

Having an extra layer of protection does sound good in most cases, except when it comes to a homeowner’s roof, which isn't the case unfortunately. As asphalt shingles are meant to be installed flat to the roof deck, so that it can insulate and protect against the elements properly. Preventing water, ice, wind, etc. from getting enough traction or friction to cause any real damage to the roof and home. 

Although the short-term cost savings of layering shingles in exchange for forgoing the labor and disposal costs of the old shingles does make it more affordable. The long-term cost of its false sense of security against the outside elements makes it not worth it. As the homeowner will have to replace the roof more often, deal with obscure leaks that could be damaging any one of the home’s vital systems and will ultimately cost them more over the roof’s lifetime; Which is why the roof is what to fix first in an old house.

 At the end of the day, it is up to the homeowner and their roofing installer to come to a decision as to what is the best course of action for a roof’s longevity.

Are three layers of shingles better than one? In theory it sounds better, an additional layer of shingles should provide additional protection for the homeowner’s roof and it is less costly in the short-term at the same time; 

Maybe more or less layers of shingles would be better than one, asking are four layers of shingles better than one? Or even are two layers of shingles better than one? It’s advisable to take some consideration before coming to a decision on these.

In reality, the short answer is No, one layer of shingles is always better than three layers of shingles because it offers the most protection possible, by being secured flat to the roof deck it avoids issues with gaps/bumps created by layering shingles. Preventing:

Generally, when a homeowner is considering adding three layers of shingles to their home, it’s recommended to tear-off the shingles and install one layer again. Then layer up to two layers of shingles again if the homeowner chooses to.

The reason being that three layers adds too much weight to the home and makes issues related to layering shingles even worse than they were before. Shortening its lifespan faster than two layers of shingles would.

Layering shingles is a bad idea because it:

At roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”), we advise against layering shingles because it will save the homeowner a lot of trouble and a lot of money over the long-term. Especially since layered shingles will require multiple replacements over the 20 year average lifespan of a single shingle layer roof.  

Table of Contents

Why to Not Layer Shingles?

In detail, there are about 64 reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles, though there are a few worth noting here:

Conclusion About Three Layers Being Better Than One

Having an extra layer of protection does sound good in most cases, except when it comes to a homeowner’s roof, which isn't the case unfortunately. As asphalt shingles are meant to be installed flat to the roof deck, so that it can insulate and protect against the elements properly. Preventing water, ice, wind, etc. from getting enough traction or friction to cause any real damage to the roof and home. 

Although the short-term cost savings of layering shingles in exchange for forgoing the labor and disposal costs of the old shingles does make it more affordable. The long-term cost of its false sense of security against the outside elements makes it not worth it. As the homeowner will have to replace the roof more often, deal with obscure leaks that could be damaging any one of the home’s vital systems and will ultimately cost them more over the roof’s lifetime; Which is why the roof is what to fix first in an old house.

 At the end of the day, it is up to the homeowner and their roofing installer to come to a decision as to what is the best course of action for a roof’s longevity.

Are two layers of shingles better than one? In theory it sounds better, an additional layer of shingles should provide additional protection for the homeowner’s roof and it is less costly in the short-term at the same time; 

Maybe more layers of shingles would be better than one, asking are three layers of shingles better than one? Or even are four layers of shingles better than one? It’s advisable to take some consideration before coming to a decision on these.

In reality, the short answer is No, one layer of shingles is always better than two layers of shingles because it offers the most protection possible, by being secured flat to the roof deck it avoids issues with gaps/bumps created by layering shingles. Preventing:

While layering shingles is a bad idea because it:

At roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”), we advise against layering shingles because it will save the homeowner a lot of trouble and a lot of money over the long-term. Especially since layered shingles will require multiple replacements over the 20 year average lifespan of a single shingle layer roof.  

Table of Contents

Why to Not Layer Shingles?

In detail, there are about 64 reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles, though there are a few worth noting here:

Conclusion About Two Layers Being Better Than One

Having an extra layer of protection does sound good in most cases, except when it comes to a homeowner’s roof, which isn't the case unfortunately. As asphalt shingles are meant to be installed flat to the roof deck, so that it can insulate and protect against the elements properly. Preventing water, ice, wind, etc. from getting enough traction or friction to cause any real damage to the roof and home. 

Although the short-term cost savings of layering shingles in exchange for forgoing the labor and disposal costs of the old shingles does make it more affordable. The long-term cost of its false sense of security against the outside elements makes it not worth it. As the homeowner will have to replace the roof more often, deal with obscure leaks that could be damaging any one of the home’s vital systems and will ultimately cost them more over the roof’s lifetime. Which is why the roof is what to fix first on an old house.

 At the end of the day, it is up to the homeowner and their roofing installer to come to a decision as to what is the best course of action for a roof’s longevity.

Reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles starts with knowing what asphalt shingles and any roofing material is meant to do first. As a general rule of thumb, if that roofing material isn’t able to serve that purpose anymore, it will cause the roof and home some form of damage. 

Asphalt shingles are meant to adhere flat to the roof deck in order to provide the most protection from the outside elements; sun, rain, wind, fire, lightning, debris and storm events. This allows it to: 

Depending on the type of shingle, with today’s roofing technology, there are a whole host of more capabilities these shingles can provide that were not discussed here. 

Except none of this is possible when shingles are layered on top of one another, defeating their purpose essentially. In how many layers of shingles are allowed, it’s generally accepted to have two layers but at roofing mission (a.k.a “BulletpRoof”) we recommend one layer max. Simply because one layer of shingles does a better job than any number of layers of shingles any day of the week.

Although the short-term cost savings of layering shingles may be enticing, it’s important to realize the numerous reasons why this is a bad idea over the long-term. 

Below these reasons are categorized appropriately for the reader:

Roof Installation Issues

When layering shingles on top of one another, the roofing installer only completes a limited number of steps while skipping other steps; Specifically, they skip the tear-off, disposal of the old shingles and roof deck repair steps. Which are the leading causes for issues with the roof installation.

  1. Dependent on the Previous Installer’s Workmanship - Current installer depends on how well the previous installer did with their installation of the roof. Trusting that all leak prevention measures were installed correctly. This means all flashing, ice and water barriers, underlayment, drip edge and old shingles have been taken care of. Which is a big “if” from our experience. 
  2. Roof Deck is Never Exposed - A roofer and a homeowner can’t know exactly what kind of damage has been done to the roof deck since the previous roof replacement without tearing off the shingles. Leaving the condition of the roof deck unknown until a future date when it could be too late. When layering shingles, tearing off and disposal of shingles are canceled to save the homeowner costs on the installation. 
  3. Protection between the Shingles and Roof Deck aren’t Replaced - Ice and water barriers, roofing underlayment (synthetic, felt, etc.) and flashing protecting the surfaces may be missing or damaged. These could be or could not be protecting the home currently, it’s unknown, meaning there could already be leaks (minor or major). Without addressing these it’s likely to worsen over time.
  4. Underlayment Can Be Left Exposed - Underlayment has a 20 year lifespan under properly installed shingles, when exposed this is cut short making it into a brittle paper which offers no protection. An installer who is layering shingles will try to hide this, it’s best to notify a professional when a homeowner notices this issue. Most likely there will be a leak sometime in the future.  
  5. Flashing is Considered to be in “Good Shape” - Flashing on the surface is considered to be in “Good Shape” by the roofer, while it is assumed that the portion of the flashing under the shingles is also in “Good Shape”. Flashing’s purpose is to protect sensitive joints where leaks are most likely to happen in the first place. Meaning at a glance it may look fine but could be leaking already.
  6. Can’t Install New Flashing - Since there is no tearing off of the shingles, no new flashing can be installed. This goes back to trusting the previous installer but the new installer will try to sweep it under the rug; that new flashing isn’t needed. It sounds minor, but it could become a costly major repair in the future for the homeowner. 
  7. Requires a 4:12 Pitch Roof - This isn’t a steep roof meaning with minimal fastening the new layer of asphalt shingles will generally stay on the roof; Any steeper and there will be missing shingles shortly after installation. The problem is that no matter what the installer does, there will be areas for water to accumulate and this will cause damage to the roof (and home). It’s inevitable.
  8. No Prep Work, Only Installation - The installer will skip the prep work of protecting parts of the home like they normally would and begin laying the shingles immediately to save time. Meaning in a few short hours the installation will be done at the cost of leaving behind roofing materials and debris that aren’t their problem anymore. A safety hazard for people and vehicles that are completely avoidable.
  9. Skip using Architectural Shingles - Ridge shingles, starter shingles and any pre-bent (fitted) shingles will not be replaced in the installation. These shingles are thicker for protection, help with the ventilation and prevent water from entering sensitive areas. Meaning the original shingle that has deteriorated and is no longer doing its job will be forced to keep going. Spelling trouble in the form of higher energy bills and worse a major repair to the roof’s framing (on the peak and its overhanging drip edge). 
  10. Roof’s Age is Unknown -  An experienced roofer can spot signs of damage to the roof and will try to determine the age of the roof, but they will only know by luck. Meaning multiple roofers will provide different estimates and one will eventually recommend a replacement or another layer since the roof looks aged. More of a roofing scam tool used to sell roofs to inexperienced homeowners.
  11. Layering Shingles isn’t Always Possible - Depending on the roof’s valleys, intersections, steepness, etc. it may not permit a second, third or fourth layer of shingles. Layering shingles may result in missing shingles, leaks, nails and fasteners missing and worse damage to property. Homeowners beware the installers who don’t consider this in their estimate, it’s a safety risk that should be avoided at all costs.
  12. Shingles are Designed for Flat Surfaces - Reiterating from earlier, shingles aren’t meant to bridge gaps, dips or bumps on the surface below. This only deteriorates the shingle on top faster (shortens its lifespan), allowing water to slip underneath it easier, causing leaks and insulation issues. Which is all bad news for the homeowner because it shouldn’t do that.
  13. Shingle Fasteners Aren’t Long Enough - Already assuming the roof deck is in “Good Shape”, sturdy enough to hold a nail in place, and that the nails are long enough to reach the roof deck. All this means is that no matter what the installer does, there will be missing shingles, fasteners will fall out of place and there will be exposed old shingles below.
  14. Mixing Roofing Materials - An installer can install a layer of asphalt shingles on cedar shakes, slate tiles, clay tiles, metal panels, rubber panels, etc. It’s possible and has been seen before, never recommended. As it will trap water even better than shingle on top of shingle, leading to hidden leaks in the roof one day.
  15. After Installation the Roof Won’t Look New - At the end of the day, the installer is layering new shingles on old shingles so it's going to be bumpy and there will be exposed old shingles. The homeowner will have to live with a “semi-new ish” roof after the installation is complete.
  16. Ultimately Delays Tear-Off Costs - When considering going past two layers into the three, four and beyond range it’s highly recommended to tear-off the shingles and go back to one layer. What happens as a homeowner continues to add layers is they are delaying the cost of tearing off the shingles and it gets more expensive with every added layer (both in labor and disposal). 
  17. Forced to Work with Multiple Roofers - After facing one incompetent roofer after the next, its difficult to know the state of a home’s roof and is especially frustrating for the homeowner. Meaning parts of the roof may be up to code, while others are not, until a qualified roofer can complete the installation correctly. Making the installation expensive as each roofer makes their attempt at the roof.               

Roof integrity

The roof integrity suffers when shingles are layered on top of one another as the shingles are no longer beneficial to the roof’s integrity. Instead it helps to trap water and heat between the layers of shingles which leads to a host of issues with the roof’s integrity; Where it should’ve been helping the roof to insulate properly and act as a barrier against the outside elements, along with helping rain water to easily run-off into the gutters.

  1. Cuts the Roof’s Lifespan Short - Asphalt shingles are meant to remain cool and dry, when they are layered they remain wet and hot because they trap water and heat between the many layers of shingles. Where the older shingles will help the new shingles to deteriorate faster, halving the life of the new shingles or worse depending on the condition of the roof. 
  2. More Layers, Doesn’t Mean More Waterproof - This is not true, as it compounds the damage under the top layer of shingles making it less and less waterproof. Meaning if there is water damage under the top layer of shingles it will continue to get worse and will make the top layer useless in the end.
  3. Each Layer adds Weight, it's like adding a second or third roof; For example, an average 30 square foot roof requires 90 bundles of shingles. Each bundle weighs about 100 lbs, adding roughly 9,000 lbs of additional weight for each layer. It’s concerning as most residential homes can’t handle this weight; Additional stress on the roof from heavy rainfall or snowfall could cause the roof deck to cave-in.
  4. Multiple layers of shingles traps heat between shingles, instead of insulating and moderating its temperature like it should. This trapped heat promotes condensation under the shingles, together reducing the new shingle layer's life in half. 
  5. Hide Problems with the Roof - There could be leaks and damage underneath or between the layers of shingles that aren’t visible to the human eye. Slowly these can eat through the roof without any chance for the homeowner or a roofer to pinpoint where the leak even started from. 
  6. Cheap Shingles Among the Layers - Inexpensive shingle brands are generally thin and easy to damage paired with an inexperienced roofer who selected warped shingles from the bottom of the pallet is a problem. Other than being difficult to install, these shingles will deteriorate faster due to wind, rain and the older shingles underneath it. Making the roof’s age more of an unknown to the next roofer.
  7. Promote Organic Growth - Trapping water and heat will inevitably lead to moss, mold, algae and rot to set in. It’ll be happening between the layers of shingles, to the roof deck and inside the home. Slowly creating openings for water to creep through right under the homeowner’s nose; Allergies being set off (breathing issues), higher energy bills, black water streaks and/or bulging walls may give hints to the homeowner.   
  8. Wind, Weather and Storm Damage -  Insecure shingles and bumpy shingles will catch more wind and water during these weather events. Leading to missing shingles, missing fasteners, leaks and openings for debris to damage the roof. Due to the added weight of the shingle layers, the storm weather could strain the roof to cave in.
  9. Snow and Ice Dams in Colder Climates - Aside from the snow weight putting more strain on the roof, the snow melt will easily create ice dams on the bumpy roof surface. These ice dams will seep through the old shingles and cause severe water damage if not dealt with as soon as possible.     
  10. Animal Intrusion - More opportunities for animals to dig or chew through the roof, or possibly find a hole to crawl through. Once animals are in the home, there are droppings, the chance of baby animals and worse they will enter into the home through the attic. Range from rodents to small birds, and larger local animals like badgers or raccoons.
  11. Bats Nesting in the Roof - With the trapped heat and water in the layers of shingles, this creates optimal conditions within the attic for bats to hibernate or make their home for the season. When the homeowner is made aware, speaks with a roofer and a roofer discovers bats they’ll have no choice but to report them to the authorities. Since bat species are on the animal protection list in different areas the roofer will have to stop work and the bats will not be forced to evict; it may be the homeowner that has to leave in some cases. 
  12. Hot Summers or Weather - Layering of shingles, heat and moisture being trapped between the shingles and the sun’s rays are a bad combination to have for your home. Resulting in faster deterioration of the new shingles (fading, becoming more brittle, etc.) and the UV protection will eventually offer no protection from the sun. Only helping to heat up the home excessively in the summertime and easier to damage the roof in a storm event. 
  13. Soft Roof Decking will Show - When the roof deck goes soft it will cause parts of the roof to appear to be sagging which will help water to pool and leak through the top more easily. This is a problem because water damage has already been done to the roof deck and it will only continue to get worse. Unless the top layers of shingles are torn off and the roof deck is replaced.

Structural and Home Integrity

The structural and home integrity relates to the vital systems inside the home that the roof protects from the outside elements. These are the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, framing and foundation of the home which suffer when these outside elements come in contact with them over time. Due to the layering of the shingles, it creates obscure leaks and helps to trap moisture in the attic which helps to break down these other systems.

  1. Leaks are Worse - Leaks will be difficult to find and be happening unnoticed by the homeowner, but once a leak has become more visible it's already too late; it means the roof is way past the time to replace it. Replacing the roof is the only solution at this point, along with any of the home’s vital systems that have been damaged too; The home’s vital systems include roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and foundation. 
  2. More Prone to Leaks - Due to the bumpy surface of a layered shingle roof, it will help to accumulate water in different parts of the roof and even redirect it to sensitive areas of the roof which will leak. These can be obscure leaks, least expected, leading to a whole host of issues throughout the home. When there is a musky smell, dark streaks or other signs of a leak, it’s too late already. 
  3. Lack of Insulation - Instead of insulating, layering shingles will trap heat and moisture within the roof. Causing the layers of shingles to deteriorate faster while assisting with deteriorating the attic and roof at the same time; Leading to fluctuating home temperatures, normally in the extremes, and higher energy bills to moderate the temperatures.   
  4. Roof Framing and Home Framing Damage - Leaks, moisture build-up and a lack of insulation will cause issues with the roof and home’s framing. Leading to organic growth and water eating through the home’s trusses, causing the home/roof to sag over time; Potentially leading to a cave-in if not repaired in time. 
  5. Short Circuits and Electrical Damage - The water that is trapped between the layers of shingles is rain water, impure and filled with minerals, which is a good conductor. Meaning a leaky roof can cause electrical problems; When these leaks reach the home’s wiring or worse the circuit breaker it could short circuit the home.  
  6. Piping and Plumbing Damage - With the fluctuating temperatures and added moisture trapped in the home, it will cause the pipes to expand and contract more rapidly. This will result in the pipe joints to become damaged and/or develop cracks along the plumbing system. In odd times, causing sections of plumbing to sit out of place, backed up air bubble sounds or sewer smells to enter into the home; Older homes retrofitted with copper pipes will experience this sooner than newer homes with PVC pipes.   
  7. Water Run-Off will Skip over the Gutters - Water run-off should travel directly into the gutter, with bumpy layered shingles it’s more likely to travel over the gutters. This not only prevents the gutters from doing their job of directing water away from the foundation of the home. While sending more water to the home’s foundation; This will damage the home’s foundation potentially flooding a basement, damaging siding and fascia, damaging landscaping and even allowing water to seep into the home.
  8. Repurposed Home Increases Incompatibility - Think of it this way a home is designed to handle so much airflow, water flow, electrical current and generally handle a set amount. When the home is repurposed for whatever reason and it isn’t designed to handle those requirements, it will only shorten the life of the home. In combination with layers of shingles, both elements will work against the home to shorten its life in the long-run.

Maintenance Issues

Regular roof maintenance is always a good idea, except when the roof has layers of shingles on top of it because it has many hidden risks associated with it. Potentially making basic maintenance tasks a homeowner can take care of themselves to a degree with some help from a professional here and there. To become a risk of injury that the homeowner should actively avoid.

  1. Walking on the Roof is Risky - Without a solid roof deck, it’s not recommended for a homeowner to walk or perform maintenance on the roof without safety equipment. They’re risking the roof breaking and injuries that are all avoidable. Keep in mind, the roof deck may be soft where you least expect it. Instead it's recommended to use binoculars to inspect the roof from afar.
  2. Inspecting for Leaks from the Attic - Using a flashlight on a rainy day, checking for water dripping, water stains, dark streaks, musty odors, etc. While cleaning out the ventilation systems or addressing malfunctions is recommended. Except it may be difficult to track down the source of the leak due to layered shingles misdirecting the source of the leak. Meaning any minor repairs may be not to the actual place water is leaking from.
  3. Organic Growth will be Difficult to Remove - Layering shingles makes it easier for mold, moss, algae and rot to grow under the shingles; These are neve supposed to get under the shingles under any circumstances. In any case, washing and scrubbing these off will only damage the shingles more, helping it to get further underneath the shingles. It’s a vicious cycle.
  4. Only Spot Pressure Wash the Roof - It’s possible to pressure wash the roof on a lower wider setting, except it’s not recommended due to the pressure it puts on the layers of shingles. It will help to loosen the top layer of shingles that are already barely fastened because the nails aren’t long enough to reach through the layered shingles and the roof deck. Unfortunately, this will only help to remove a shingles granules, damage shingles and force water between the shingle layers; Speeding up the deterioration of the new shingles on top.
  5. Damaged Flashing Can’t Be Replaced Easily - Unless the layers of shingles can be removed, replace the flashing and new shingles can be installed, it’s not possible. Even when the replacement was successful, the new shingles will either be lower or higher than the original layers which will only assist with accumulating water in these areas. Not recommended, as this will cause the flashing area to become more prone to leaks; This goes for valley flashing, roof protrusion flashing and chimney flashing all alike.
  6. Replacing Damaged Shingles - Normal practice is to replace any curled, cracked or broken shingles, except with layered shingles this isn’t all too helpful. By replacing these shingles, the new shingles will extend the life of the damaged spot of the roof but will quickly deteriorate regardless.
  7. Homeowner Needs to be More Aware of the Home’s Interior - The home won’t display the most obvious of leaks, instead it's more likely to show bulging patches on walls, rooms will lose their squareness, musty odors will become prevalent in specific rooms, etc. Water damage will be isolated to specific parts of the home where it has the easiest access and it's the homeowner’s job to notify a roofer when they see a change. Once a leak becomes visible, it's too late and a roof replacement is needed.
  8. Hints of Water Accumulation - Look for ice dams in the winter, water accumulations during rainy months and areas of missing shingles, normally are culprits for water damage. Not as easy when visually inspecting a layered shingle roof as the bumps could literally block water and ice as easily as it could direct it between the layers of shingles; Shingles are meant to lay flat, on a bumpy surface these shingles form bridges for gaps and in turn create gaps for water to enter through.
  9. Careful when Cleaning the Gutters - It’s possible water has seeped into the fascia behind the gutter, making it soft and unstable. Making a leaning ladder unsteady to place against it and the person cleaning the gutter can’t apply much force themselves to clean them, without risking the fascia to break. Friendly tip, repairing fascia is a horrible situation to be in, avoid it if possible, and do your best to do this safely.
  10. Avoid Using Harmful Products to Clean the Roof - An eco-friendly alternative as opposed to a bleach (corrosive) product, as this will only help create additional damage to the roof and home. Water run-off will carry it between the shingle layers, into the roof/home’s framing, and onto the landscaping, damaging them all in the process.
  11. Careful Clearing Debris - Normally, a garden hose and a leaf blower would do the trick. Unfortunately with layered shingles, we don’t recommend doing this because it's only loosening the shingles and putting more water between the shingle layers. Remove the large debris if anything and leave the rest to avoid injuring yourself by stepping on a soft section of the roof.
  12. Inspecting and Cleaning Gutter Downspouts - Due to the unknown age of a layered shingle roof, it’s likely to have shingle granules littered in these areas and may get clogged on occasion. This is telling the homeowner a layer of shingles or all of the layers has reached the end of its life, which is largely unknown; Along with the fact that debris, shingle granules, grime, etc. are clogging the gutter downspout which will lead to water dripping and damaging the home’s siding. Reason being the bumpy shingles on top will help water to run over the edges of the gutter, drip along the sides of these downspouts and eventually loosen their brackets from the siding.      
  13. Applying Coatings will have Limited Effect - When shingle coatings like its UV coating wears off, there are sprays to re-apply this coating to maintain the protection longer otherwise the shingles will need to be replaced sooner; Especially for those living in hotter and sunnier climates, where the sun affects the shingles even more. Except with layered shingles, applying a coating will offer limited protection to both the new and old shingles, inevitably wearing off quickly; This is due to the shingles trapping water and heat between the layers, constantly eating through the shingles.                 

Building Code Restrictions

Building code binds all contractors to a set of best practices which holds them accountable when the workmanship isn’t done right; As it can result in serious damage or injury if not done correctly. Some roofing contractors choose to ignore them, advising the homeowner that layering shingles is acceptable and complete the job quickly to pocket a few extra bucks. This hurts the homeowner because upon inspection, they will be penalized with having to replace their roof again depending on the home’s building code restrictions. 

  1. International Building Code Requires a Drip Edge on Every Home - Without exposing the roof deck, a roofer can’t assess the drip edge and fascia it protects for damage. This is a serious concern because all water run-off instead of being directed away from the home is now entering the home. Be warned, this is an immense amount of damage that is possible if this happens. 
  2. Local Building Code May Not Allow Layering Shingles - High storm risk areas will have strict building codes against this because high winds or heavy rain could get the roof torn off or caved in.
  3. Unqualified Roofer Neglects Building Codes - Commercial and residential roofers with the proper certifications, legitimate roofers will know these building codes and get the required documents for you in a timely manner. While there are other roofers who know the trade, uncertified or are unprofessional, will most likely bypass building codes leaving it for the homeowner to deal with it.

Warranty Issues

A warranty helps a homeowner to request repairs or replacements in the case of the roof getting damaged. Except this is not honored when shingles are layered because it is considered bad practice and the roofing materials aren't able to perform as well as they should anyways.   

  1. Disqualifies Manufacturer’s Warranty on New Shingles - Disqualifies material warranty, pro rated enhanced warranty and contractor’s workmanship warranty. For example, 3-tab asphalt shingles come with a 25 year warranty, architectural 30 year warranty that’s pro rated 10 years after coverage ends. Further, if a roofer uses all components from one manufacturer the homeowner receives a 50 year non pro rated warranty and contractor’s workmanship warranty.
  2. Disqualifies Workmanship Warranty - Normally a 5 year workmanship warranty is provided with a new roof, depending on the roofing company. Meaning if there are any problems with the roofing installation, the roofer will take responsibility for the repairs and make sure it’s done right; If not, they will pay for another roofer to handle the repair on their behalf. When layering shingles, it’s a one and done deal unfortunately. 

Insurance Issues

With insurance, providers are specific as to which cases they will cover and to the extent they will cover in the event something does happen to the home and roof. Largely provider dependent but generally they don’t provide coverage if the roof has layers of shingles, which is a problem for the homeowner. 

  1. Disqualifies Insurance Coverage for Damages - Depending on the provider, any layering of shingles will not be paid for by the insurance company. Reason being, there is an additional cost of labor to tear off each layer of shingles and replace each layer of shingles.
  2. Insurance Carriers Require a Roof Inspection - Insurance factors in the age of the roof, the condition of the roof and the cost of replacing it when the time comes. Making a roof inspection mandatory to find this information out for them, but if they find layering of shingles to be indicated they aren’t going to provide coverage. Aside from the additional labor and tear off costs associated with replacing the roof, the rest of the home’s vital systems (roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and foundation) may be at risk too. Making them unwilling to cover every kind of damage that could be involved.
  3. Expenses for Damage will Come out of the Homeowner’s Pocket - A homeowner will be required to pay for the repair expenses in full in most cases, depending on the carrier and where you live it is subject to change. They will provide specific reasoning as to why each case isn’t covered by the insurance provider, offering limited coverage in cases. Otherwise its expected for the homeowner to find the appropriate contractors and complete the repairs themselves without any help.    

Lowers Real Estate Value

Due to the home inspection and visual appearance of the roof after layering shingles on top of one another, this lowers the real estate value of a home; Increasing listing times and the cost of repairs a prospective home buyer would have to incur in order to restore the home real estate value. 

  1. Lack of Curb Appeal -  The visible imperfections will stick out like a sore thumb, with both visible bumps from the layering of shingles and old shingles showing through the new shingles. This will only help to deter prospective home buyers and lower the home’s value as a result.
  2. Home Inspector will Report Multiple Layers - When this is reported, the prospective home buyer will have to add a roof tear down into their cost of buying the home. Along with any other related damage the roof has caused to the home’s framing, electrical, plumbing and/or HVAC systems, in the form of hidden costs. Depending on the homeowner’s level of research into the home, as this is a surface level of everything in the home.
  3. Requires an Additional Roof Inspection - A general home inspection will reveal a rough estimate of roof related costs, while hiring a specialized roof inspector who will provide an in-depth actual estimate on the entire roof system; a roof inspection on its structure, workmanship, roofing material and the interior of the home. Indicating whether the damage done by layering shingles was caught early enough to replace the shingles with a single layer and not too late that the entire roof’s framing doesn’t need to be rebuilt from the ground up, before any shingles are laid. Lowering the home’s value in order to compensate for these repairs in the process.
  4. Other Specialized Inspections - A roof protects the rest of the home’s vital systems and when it is compromised due to layering shingles, it puts the other systems at risk; A home’s vital systems are its roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and the foundation. When a roof isn’t insulating and waterproofing the home as it should, it causes leaks that eat through these other interconnected systems and will suffer damage too. Making it necessary to be inspected by specialists to catch the damage as early as possible. These too will lower the home’s value due to the expensive nature of these repairs.
  5. Relisting a Home - Homes that are on sale a long time or continue returning to a sale status are considered questionable homes as realtors would suggest; Building a negative reputation in the home buyers market. When they are relisted through another real estate agency there are costs associated that the homeowner will incur. While prospective home buyers will actively avoid these listings in favor of a more suitable home even though it may cost them more.        

Conclusion About Not Layering Shingles

There are many reasons to not layer shingles, except they all relate back to a roof not being able to insulate and protect the home like it was designed to do. With today’s roofing technology, one layer of shingles is all a roof needs and it is incorrect to think the more layers a roof has, the more protective it will be. 

Keep in mind, anytime a roof has an opportunity to accumulate water it will and it will inevitably leak at some point in time. 

When new shingles are layered on top of old shingles which are curled or damaged, they become bumpy and form gaps. Helping water to accumulate on top, between and below the layers of shingles, while trapping heat at the same time. Whereas shingles are meant to remain dry and cool to ensure their longevity, that no longer is possible; Shortening the life of the new shingles in the process.

As a result, layering the shingles only damages all of the home’s vital systems in the process; The home’s vital systems include the roofing, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and foundation of the home. 

Which is why it isn’t supported by manufacturers, insurance providers, professional roofing contractors, real estate agencies and building code regulations; Depending on where the home is located and their associated parties who are regulating these processes.   

How many layers of shingles are allowed? You ask. At this point, a homeowner’s roof has reached the end of it’s lifespan and is due for a re roofing, gathered estimates from multiple contractors and aren’t sure why layering shingles is more affordable. 

Where 2 layers are recommended, up to 3 layers at a maximum depending on the area’s regulations (or building and city codes), and in some rare cases 4 layers from experience. Sometimes it’s asphalt shingles layered on top of old cedar shakes, asphalt shingles, concrete tiles, etc. These are all possible to layer, if you choose to. 

Generally, 2 layers of shingles should be the max if you choose to, never reaching 3 layers or more for your roof’s and home’s safety. Once the 2nd layer has reached the end of its lifespan, a tear-off and new shingle installation would be the best course of action. 

Although, Roofing Mission (a.k.a our “BulletpRoofers”) will always recommend "1 Layer Max" because layering shingles is a short-term fix will result in long-term pain for the homeowner every time. Here are 64 reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles or layer shingles to help explain why we believe this to be so. Which is especially true for those that live in areas that have heavy rainfall, regular storm-events, hail, etc. like the Lower Mainland will regret the decision some day. 

Instead we always recommend tearing off the old shingles, repairing the roof deck and installing new shingles, as you will learn why shortly. Ensuring the longevity of a home’s roof and properly protecting the home at the same time.

As explained in:

To provide insight into the situation, we’ll cover a few areas to help you understand layering roofing shingles in more detail.

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Requirements to Layer Roofing Shingles

These requirements are what some roofers who cut corners are looking for in order to pitch a homeowner on a cheaper option of re roofing, to layer roofing shingles.

The following 4 requirements need to be met to layer roofing shingles:

  1. End of a Roof’s Lifespan; Its asphalt shingles have signs or buckling, blistering, curling, missing granules, broken or missing shingles, and/or leaks or excess moisture in the attic, etc.; Normally due to aging, wear and tear, and the environment a home is located in. Except the roof shingles are relatively flat regardless of this damage.
  2. Roof is a 4:12 Pitch; This means a roof’s slope is relatively flat (not steep), technically it is a 4” rise to a 12” run. Identifying the roof as a quick job for a roofer, literally lay new shingles and leave for them.
  3. Existing Flashing is in “Good Shape”; From a surface assessment, the metal pieces protecting joints between the roof deck and roof protrusions (air vents, chimneys, plumbing, etc.) will trust the previous installer did a decent job. Flashings protect sensitive areas that are prone to leaks, take it into consideration. The less roof protrusions, the better it is for a roofer to layer shingles in these cases.
  4. Homeowner’s Budget is Small; In order to secure the job, a roofer will suggest layering shingles at a lower quote, an average of $1,000 less in cost savings for the homeowner. This is a result of skipping the critical tear-off step in order to reduce labor costs, material costs and disposal costs for the roofer allowing them to pass the savings to the homeowner. Without tearing off the old shingles to expose the roof deck, any damaged roof decking and flashings will be left to worsen over time. 

Although a roof meets these requirements, it’s important to understand that: 

Pros & Cons of Layering Roofing Shingles

We’ve outlined the pros and cons to aid in the homeowner’s decision to layer new roof shingles over the old shingles. At a glance, the cons outweigh the pros heavily and warrant the homeowner’s attention to better understand “why” we would recommend not layering shingles in the first place. Reason being it prevents the anatomy of a roof and each roofing layer's individual functions that together allows a roof system to work properly.

As a guideline, any roofing practice that helps water to accumulate on the roof will result in leaks one day.

Pros of Layering Roofing Shingles

The pros of layering roofing shingles help the roofer to sell their service to the homeowner:

Cons of Layering Roofing Shingles

The cons of layering roofing shingles show how layering roofing shingles is a short-term fix at best, and will result in long-term problems that could be expensive.

Conclusions about Layering Roofing Shingles

Depending on the region a homeowner is located, the number of acceptable layers of shingles may be different but an average of 2 layers of shingles are generally acceptable, except it isn't one of the ways to make your roof last longer or how to extend the life of roof shingles unfortunately.

From our experience, a homeowner should do their own research especially when roofing contractors are quoting below the industry standard. It should raise some red flags as they are trying to win a contract from the homeowner by cutting corners to make it possible. 

Any homeowner who is unsure as to how to navigate roofing themselves or require additional information should always consult a professional roofer. Especially, when it's possible to avoid a hasty repair at the expense of one’s own safety.

Should I stay home during roof replacement? For the majority of homeowners, the worst-case scenario eventually occurs: a new roof is required. Although it is something we all desire to avoid, we might encounter it when we are homeowners.

Your roof may need to be replaced for a variety of reasons. The aftermath of a very powerful storm is one of the most frequent. Damage from wind and rain can cause the roof to break in multiple places, necessitating the replacement of the entire roof.

The roof's age can also be to blame. Weather and aging can degrade your roof over time, making it less efficient at protecting you and the rest of your home if it hasn't been replaced in a while.

Whatever the reason, you may eventually need to update to a new roof that is more efficient and up to date than the one you may have had. If you pick the appropriate roofing provider, this situation won’t be a nightmare.

One of the thoughts that run through your mind whenever you’re ready to replace your roof is how to go about it. Most people wonder if they should get new accommodation, or stay at home during this period.

But the truth is, either staying at home or not, you need to know some things about roof replacements and why staying home during your roof replacement may not be required. At roofing mission (a.k.a "BulletpRoof") we recommend always consulting your roofing contractor for their advice based on your unique situation so that it can be accommodated accordingly.

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Stay or Go, During a Roof Replacement?

Staying home during roof replacement is completely up to you and any decision you come up with shouldn’t be a problem for your contractor. Your contractor should be able to do great with or without your presence at home.

For safety reasons, you should vacate your home whenever they’re working on your roof.

Below are some of the reasons why you must vacate your home on the day of your roof replacement and some reasons why your contractor would kindly ask you to vacate.

Why it is Necessary to Vacate Your Home during a Roof Replacement

Maybe a contractor has asked you to leave your home during your roof replacement and you’re wondering why. There are 4 considerations you should know and get familiar with before you decide to stay back.

#1 Roof replacements are Loud and Annoying

A roof replacement comes with a constant banging and pounding, work boots creating a loud echo throughout the house all day. It really can be annoying and loud. 

How loud is a roof replacement? It’s between 95-120 decibels, which is equivalent to the thunder and electric drill sounds all throughout the day. Which can be painfully loud for some. 

This shows that a roof replacement might be a big deal for someone who is uncomfortable with noise. However, if you live in a multi-storey building, then the noise might be a bit less on the first floor, even though it is never going to be a pleasant situation.

Because you are aware of the noise, dealing with this at home is simpler, but your neighbors have to deal with it too. Provide them with notice in advance so they can make the necessary preparations too.

#2 Consider your Pets

Yes, you must consider the lives of your pets and how well they tolerate a lot of noise. 

From experience, cats tend to react to noise more than dogs and in serious cases the cat needed to be kept away for the week of the roof replacement. For dogs who react to loud noises like thunder, it's likely they won’t like the constant banging and pounding from the roof replacement. 

If possible, keep pets in the basement (lowest floor of the home) or have them stay at a pet care accommodation for the week. 

With your children, you might use this protocol as well. To avoid putting themselves in danger of obstructing the roofers' work, make sure kids understand not to play inside the home while the roofing is being done and to only stay there or in specified places.

#3 During the Roof Replacement, Keep out of the Way

Hiring a particular contractor for a job means you trust such a fellow to replace your roof correctly, therefore, it is crucial to your safety to stay away from areas they have designated to be dangerous.

If you say you want to stay during your roof replacement process, it means you have to be very careful because the contractor can’t see over the edge of the roof so they won’t know when someone is walking around or passing. Meaning a homeowner should expect that debris can fall unexpectedly at any time.

Everyone needs to remain indoors or away from the grass and off your roof. Even after roof repair is complete, it's wise to use caution when on your property in case there are any bits of debris left over.

#4 Consider your Vehicles

Another thing you need to consider are your vehicles. If you will be staying home, you have to ensure your vehicle is parked far enough away and is not going to obstruct the roof replacement process.

Be aware that contractors do take note of where you park your vehicles because they wouldn’t want to block your cars when you want to come in or exit.

If you chose to stay home and now would like to leave, but the contractors are blocking your vehicle. Then the contractors will have to stop their work and clear debris out of the way so that you’re able to leave safely. Delaying the roof replacement in the process.

#5 Organize Your Outdoor Space

Make sure to move any valuables outside, such as patio furniture, out of the way before the contractors show up. To avoid anything from getting damaged in the process.

Anything that can’t be moved should be adequately covered and safeguarded. Making the roofing company aware of these things can also be helpful, particularly if there are huge objects that are difficult to move.

#6 Coordinating with the Roofing Contractor

A good, reputable roofing company will take extra effort to coordinate with you and keep you informed at every stage of the process. Safety is always the top priority in these circumstances, and the roofing company will make sure to let you know if there will be any significant inconveniences for you to deal with.

The best roofing replacement specialists will proceed with the utmost care and will disclose any concerns as they arise. Even though it may not be the ideal situation, getting your roof rebuilt need not be a major nuisance.

Even though things may be out of the ordinary for a few days, you will be able to go on with a brand-new roof that will safeguard you and your family for a very long time.

Disadvantages of Staying Home During a Roof Replacement

Let’s consider some of the disadvantages that come with staying at home during roof replacement.

#1 It is a Noisy Process

The noise from the roof replacement is one of the main deterrents for individuals who will want to stay at home. After all, replacing and repairing a roof isn’t a quiet process. 

In the best of circumstances, this noise can be unnerving at other times, other times it can be intolerable. If you can’t tolerate a lot of noise, you might want to reconsider where you’ll be staying while the repairs are being made.

#2 Staying Home is Stressful

Observing your roof being torn apart isn’t for everyone, it's upsetting to see it get torn apart for some people. 

While your roof should be fixed and ready to go when the job is finished, not all roofing jobs go smoothly, and if you’re there while accidents and problems are happening. 

You might be putting yourself through unnecessary stress.

#3 It isn’t Safe

Roof replacements are the same as construction zones, where safety equipment is required to maneuver the area safely through the debris and unsafe areas.

Unless the homeowner has a helmet and work boots, it’s not advised for them to get involved. In any case, leave it to the professionals and stay out of their way because you’re putting yourself in unnecessary danger.

#4 It might get Cold

One of the roof’s responsibilities is to insulate the home and maintain the indoor warmth or coolness in. When the roof is removed or left open, it can quickly get uncomfortable inside the home. 

Especially the case when work is done during the winter and it can become harsh for homeowners during the nighttime.

#5 Unavoidable Inside of the Home

Sometimes it's not possible to stay at home, in a rancher, bungalow or similar structure where the living area opens up to the roof. Reason being the roof work will affect the interior making it uninhabitable for the time of the roof replacement.

In these cases, the roofer will advise the homeowner to consider not staying at home.

#6 Loss of Convenience

Working at home, studying or whatever the case may not permit you to take advantage of staying at home because of the uncomfortable conditions that a roof replacement will put the homeowner in. 

It could be chilly, humid, dangerous or could have your vehicle blocked in. Consider what is the most convenient for your situation. Especially since the roof replacement will take a few days to finish.

#7 Roofers Entering the Attic or Home

Depending on roof deck condition during the tear-down process it is expected that roofers may have to enter the attic to make the necessary repairs. This is especially true for cedar conversions which do not have a roof deck and require the roofers to enter the attic to make the necessary repairs.

For homes that need skylight installation during this process, roofers will need to work from inside the home and from the roof to properly install everything. Which will require the roofers to yell at each other in order to communicate.

Conclusion on whether to Stay or Go?

Depending on the type of home and the homeowner’s home situation, the homeowner will need to take all of these areas discussed into consideration before they make the decision of whether they can stay or go.

Please communicate with the roofers for what is the best course of action to take and do yourself a favor, by giving yourself every opportunity to reduce stress during the roof replacement process. Always take every occupant in the home into consideration along with your neighbors to avoid stressing everyone out.

With all of that taken into consideration, make the appropriate decision and your roofing contractor will respect it. 

How loud is a roof replacement? Well before the actual day of roof replacement is difficult to say unless you’ve experienced it in your own home and would raise concerns for any homeowner.

Not to sugar-coat it, it will be really loud and it will be like “BANG BANG BANG” all day long, constantly banging. Loudest during the actual installation (tear-off, re-sheathing and replacement) of the new roof when all of the equipment and workers are working; Roughly between 95-120 decibels, which is equivalent to thunder and electric drill sounds;

With the loud noise, this will cause the home to vibrate to a manageable degree. This adds some concern for anything that may not be secured to the floor.  

While a two-storey home would make this noise more bearable by muffling the banging on the first floor, or the basement of a home would muffle this banging about as well. The further away from the roof, the more muffled the noise will be.

For homeowners whose homes are close to their neighbors would need to realize the loud noises from their roof replacement will bother their neighbors too. The noise travels about a home’s length in radius away, so it's worth considering the neighbors have to deal with the noise as well.

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Homeowner’s Considerations

A homeowner can take a 5 steps to make the roof replacement more manageable for them:

  1. Decide whether to stay home or go
  2. Take Care of Pets
  3. Take Care of Children and Elderly
  4. Take Valuables off of Walls
  5. Warn the Neighbors

Decide whether to stay home or go

As a precaution, any homeowner should move their car out of the garage and onto the street at a minimum. The reason is that it gives an undecided homeowner, and/or a homeowner who chooses to endure the noise at home will still have the option to leave whenever they choose. 

Now to answer, whether you should stay home during a roof replacement or not? Homeowners normally choose to stay at home if they are working from home, they have some pressing reason to stay at home and/or they’re staying at home to ensure the contractor does a good job (or to ask them questions). It’s up to the homeowner to decide, but it’s recommended for a homeowner to find another place to go during the daytime of a roof’s installation. 

A piece of advice, homeowners who become stressed out from seeing their home look like a construction zone are better off finding another place for the time being. Avoiding unexpected problems especially when a roofer has to tear-off two or more layers of roofing. There are a ton of neglected problems that are better off not being seen by the homeowner in the first place;

How many layers of shingles are allowed? You may be asking, we recommend no more than one layer although two layers are generally accepted depending where you live. It's worth taking into consideration, trust us, there are many reasons not to put shingles on top of shingles from our experience.

Take Care of Pets

Many pets, dogs and cats, who have trouble handling noise from fireworks or storms will be stressed. 

To explain with a few cases:

Roughly to give the homeowner an idea, it’s recommended for pets to be kept in the basement or in a temporary day care for the pet. Whichever is the least trouble for the family and the pet at the end of the day.  

Take Care of Children and Elderly

Having a family, younger children and the elderly, some have been known to become irritated by noise. 

Some children have trouble sleeping, eating or dislike the idea of not being able to go outside. While some elders have been known to forget it’s unsafe to go outside, the noise gives them migraines and so on. It depends on how your family member reacts to noise, it’s important to take it into consideration when deciding. 

For the homeowner’s peace of mind, consider having activities setup for them at home or have them visit a friend’s house for the day, even the recreation center. It’s up to the homeowner at the end of the day.  

Take Valuables off of Walls

As a precaution, the vibrations could cause insecure valuables to get knocked off of the walls (or shelves). Take these down to avoid any regrets later on when the roof installation work starts. 

It doesn’t mean everything should be taken off of the walls, further the shelves. If it’s secure and you’re confident it doesn’t hold sentimental value, that may mean it can be left alone. That’s a guideline, not to panic the homeowner. 

If it can handle a small tremor, leave it hanging, unless it’s valuable.

Warn the Neighbors

For homeowners who live close to their neighbors in a townhome complex or duplex for example. As much as you the homeowner has to endure the noise, your neighbors will be dealing with the noise too.

Now that you know the steps a homeowner should take, pass this information along to your neighbor to give them an opportunity to prepare for the noisy roofing replacement. 

Don’t forget others living in your area too.  

Ready for the Noise? Take a Breath

Now that you’re ready and your neighbors are ready, take a deep breath and relax. It will be stressful for a day or a few days, depending on the size of the home; Based on the size of the home, number of gables, the roofing materials, etc.

Take the precautionary steps we have provided and it will be a better experience, take a roofer’s word for it.

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