When it comes to roofing projects, one common question homeowners often ask is whether it’s acceptable to install new shingles over existing ones. 

The short answer is yes, you can, but the more important question is whether you should. 

Below, we’ll explain the pros and cons of this approach and then discuss a better alternative along with some essential tips for a successful roofing project.

The Pros and Cons of Layering Shingles

If you were to install new shingles over old ones, you wouldn’t be the first. However, this isn’t the recommended method. Here’s why. 


  • Cost savings: Stripping off the existing layer is labor-intensive, and leaving it in place can save you money on both labor and disposal costs.
  • Time efficiency: Layering shingles is a quicker process than a full tear-off.


  • Weight issues: Layering shingles adds significant weight to your roof. This can strain the structure and may not be advisable in regions where heavy snowfall is common.
  • Hiding problems: By covering up existing issues, such as rot or damaged decking, you may be masking potential structural problems that need attention.
  • Reduced lifespan: Installing new shingles over old ones may reduce the lifespan of the new roofing material. Heat absorption and moisture retention can be problematic, leading to premature deterioration.


A Better Approach: Full Roof Tear-off & Replacement

While it may seem like a cost-effective and time-saving solution to layer new shingles over old ones, a full tear-off is generally recommended for a longer-lasting and structurally sound roof. This involves removing the existing shingles, allowing for a thorough inspection, and addressing any underlying issues prior to putting new shingles in place.

Additional Tips for a Successful Roof Replacement

There’s no doubt that a new roof can be an expensive endeavor. So what else can you do to ensure your investment is worth it? Consider the following tips from our building materials experts.

  • Invest in Quality Materials: High-quality roofing materials from reputable brands will make all the difference in the durability and longevity of your roof. Plus, many popular roofing brands offer great warranties for peace of mind. We recommend and carry the following brands:
  • Choose the Right Shingle Style: Consider the architectural style of your home when selecting shingles. Asphalt shingles come in various styles, such as three-tab, architectural, and designer shingles, each offering different aesthetics and performance characteristics.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Proper attic ventilation is crucial for the longevity of your roof. Ensure that your roofing system includes adequate ventilation to prevent issues like heat buildup and moisture retention.
  • Opt for Professional Installation: Hire a certified and experienced roofing contractor for the installation. Professional expertise is essential to ensure the job is done correctly and meets industry standards.
  • Complete Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular roof inspections and maintenance to catch potential issues early on and extend the life of your roof.

Shop Roofing Materials at Zeeland Lumber & Supply

Time to replace your roof? We’re here to help. Shop roofing materials from Quality Edge, GAF, CertainTeed, Metal Sales, or McElroy with help from our product experts. 

Stop in one of our locations or get in touch online to learn more.

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