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Why Good Roofing Contractors Don’t Layer Shingles like Other Roofers Do? 

Why Good Roofing Contractors Don’t Layer Shingles like Other Roofers Do? 

Roofing is an essential part of any home, providing protection, insulation, and aesthetic appeal. When it comes to roofing contractors, there's an important practice that separates the professionals from the rest: not layering shingles. While some roofers might take shortcuts by adding new shingle layers over old ones, good roofing contractors understand the reasons to avoid this practice. In this article, we'll delve into why reputable roofing contractors choose not to layer shingles, highlighting the potential issues and benefits of doing so.


Good question. Most roofers layer new shingles over the old shingles, sometimes in multiple layers, because it is the cheapest short-term fix for a homeowner but it isn’t what the home really needs; How many layers of shingles are allowed depends on your home's location and the regulations in that area. When shingles are layered like this, it prevents exposing the roof deck which could have mold, rot, damage, missing nails or loose seals, etc. to worsen the structural integrity of the roof over time. With the worst-case scenario being a roof caving in, forcing the homeowner to get a roof replacement.  

Being bad practice and reducing the longevity of your roof, in turn your home. It's a red flag to not choose this roofing contractor. We keep your roof intact by removing the old shingles, exposing the roof deck and repairing any issues with the roof deck. This includes and is not limited to the following: 

  • Replacing any moldy or soft roof decking that wouldn’t allow for nails to be used properly
  • Re-nailing any loose boards that if left alone would make the roof look bumpy (after a week or two) due to missing nails
  • Re-sealing or repairing the seals on plumbing, chimneys, air vents, etc. to make sure water channels off the roof and there is continuous ventilation available to your roof. Preventing any future water damage   

Understanding Shingle Layering

Shingle layering, also known as overlaying, involves installing a new set of shingles directly over the old ones without removing them. The allure of saving time and money can make this approach seem appealing, but it's crucial to understand the potential downsides.

The Drawbacks of Layering Shingles

Compromised Aesthetics and Curb Appeal

Layering shingles can lead to an unattractive appearance as the new layer may not lay flat over the old shingles. This can create a bumpy and uneven texture, diminishing the overall curb appeal of the house.

Increased Weight and Structural Stress

Layering shingles adds significant weight to the roof structure. Over time, this extra load can stress the roof's underlying structure, potentially leading to sagging or even structural damage.

Reduced Longevity of the Roof

Layering doesn't address underlying issues that the old shingles might have, such as moisture damage or deterioration. This can shorten the lifespan of the new layer of shingles and the roof as a whole.

Hindrance to Proper Inspection

Layering hides potential problems from view, making it difficult to inspect the roof's condition thoroughly. This can lead to issues going unnoticed until they become major concerns.

Potential for Hidden Damage

Without removing the old shingles, any damage or decay underneath can go unnoticed. This hidden damage can worsen over time, causing more extensive problems.

Why Good Roofing Contractors Choose a Different Approach

Reputable roofing contractors prioritize the longevity, functionality, and aesthetics of the roof. Here's why they opt for the removal of old shingles:

Removal of Old Shingles: A Superior Solution

Instead of layering, professionals prefer to strip the old shingles completely. This allows them to identify and address underlying issues before installing new shingles.

Ensuring Structural Integrity

Removing old shingles ensures that the roof's structure isn't compromised by excessive weight. It's essential to maintain the integrity of the roof to prevent safety hazards.

Opportunity for Thorough Inspection

By removing old shingles, contractors can conduct a thorough inspection of the roof's deck. This enables them to detect and rectify any problems before installing the new shingles.

Application of Proper Underlayment

Professionals have the chance to apply proper underlayment when old shingles are removed. Underlayment provides an additional layer of protection against moisture and ensures better insulation.

Enhanced Aesthetics

Starting with a clean slate allows for a more visually appealing outcome. New shingles can lay flat and look seamless, enhancing the overall look of the house.


When it comes to roofing, the practices of good roofing contractors stand out from the crowd. While some may opt for the convenience of layering shingles, professionals understand that this shortcut can lead to long-term issues. By taking the extra steps to remove old shingles and address underlying problems, reputable contractors ensure the roof's durability, safety, and aesthetics.


Is layering shingles ever recommended?

Layering shingles is generally not recommended by reputable roofing contractors. While it might seem like a convenient option, it can lead to various problems such as compromised aesthetics, increased weight, and reduced longevity of the roof.

How can I determine if my roof needs replacement?

Several signs indicate that your roof might need replacement. These include visible shingle damage, leaks, sagging, and extensive wear and tear. Consulting a professional roofing contractor for an inspection is advisable.

What factors contribute to the longevity of a roof?

The longevity of a roof depends on factors such as the quality of materials used, proper installation, maintenance, and exposure to weather elements. Regular inspections and timely repairs also play a crucial role in extending a roof's lifespan.

Can a new layer of shingles be added if the old ones are damaged?

While adding a new layer of shingles over damaged ones might seem like a quick fix, it's not a recommended solution. Damaged shingles could be indicative of underlying problems that need to be addressed. It's better to consult a professional and consider a complete replacement if necessary.

What are some signs that my roof might be compromised?

Signs of a compromised roof include leaks, visible damage to shingles, sagging areas, mold growth, and higher energy bills due to poor insulation. If you notice any of these signs, it's best to contact a roofing expert to assess the condition of your roof.

BulletpRoof Roof Systems is family operated roofing contractor with over 15 years of experience. We have been helping families throughout Mission, BC and neighbouring areas resolve issues with their residential sloped roofs for many years now. We pride ourselves on providing genuine professional roofing services and are dedicated to helping our clients resolve issues with their roof systems as efficiently as possible.
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