Nailing New Shingles over Old Shingles

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As a roofing salesperson, you’ll occasionally run across people who need to save as much money as possible on their new roof.

comp over wood

3-Tab Composition over Wood Shingles

Maybe they have a large deductible or possibly they have to pay cash out of pocket to put a new roof on.

Nailing new shingles over old shingles is called an “overlay” or “layover”. This normally involves putting one composition roof (e.g. 30 year) over a another composition roof (e.g. 3-Tab).

However, it isn’t uncommon to see composition shingle roofs nailed over old wood shake or wood shingles.

When every dollar counts, you can save the money it normally costs to pull off the old shingles and the dump fees by doing the “layover”.

Check Under The Drip Edge

Here’s the problem, the roof may look brand new from the ground after the “overlay”, but that’s about where the advantages end.

  • An “overlay” can look lumpy because it will only lay as flat as the surface below the new shingles.
  • An “overlay” may have air pockets because it does not lay flat that make it even more susceptible to hail or foot traffic.
  • An “overlay” causes extra weight on the rafters. If you’re in an area of the country that has extra weight on the roof because of snow load, you’ll want to think twice before adding extra layers.
  • Most State Insurance Departments will only allow 2-3 overlays. Customers that like to do “overlays” probably have done them before. Make sure you are in compliance before you throw on that new layer.

Nailing new shingles on top of old shingles may save a little bit of money in the short-range, but the long-term benefits are minimal. Better to help your customer get their roof done right now than to deal with warranty claims down the road.


P.S. Please comment below if you have additional information about “overlays” with our growing community of readers…

About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike Coday is a retired youth pastor turned serial entrepreneur, roofing marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man. His expertise is coaching roofers to the next level of success.

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  • Rich

    Reply Reply March 5, 2014

    It’s against code here in Nebraska to do overlays. We charge a $20 per square removal fee for every layer. I personally haven’t seen it but I’ve been told stories of up to five relayers on older roofs!

  • Garret

    Reply Reply October 2, 2013

    I couldn’t dido this article more! I urge all to do your roof right. I am continuously talking to roofers and doing it right the first time saves loads of money down the road.

    Thanks Mike for writing this good content!



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