Reroofing vs. Roof Replacement

Top Roof of a home with green lawn with grass, tree and yard

To reroof or to replace your roof, that is the question. Before you call your roofing contractor and replace your current roof, you might consider reroofing as an option instead of a complete roof replacement. 

Making sure your roof is in good shape is an important home improvement that will give you peace of mind. But purchasing a new roof isn’t cheap, so before you go through all the expenses of getting a full roof replacement, you’ll want to explore whether reroofing or a roof replacement is the best choice for you. 

Reroofing and roof replacements sound like the same thing, but they are quite different. So what exactly is the difference?

In this article, we’ll cover:

What is Reroofing?

Reroofing, sometimes referred to as a roof restoration, is simply installing a layer of new shingles over an existing asphalt shingle roof. This new overlay of shingles restores the look of your roof while adding a protective layer over the existing shingles on your roof.

Reroofing is used as a way to quickly rejuvenate the appearance of a roof and to prevent leaks. For homeowners who need a quick solution to fix their roof, reroofing is a cheap, temporary solution. 

Reroofing can only be applied to an asphalt shingles roof. Since reroofing consists of adding an overlay of asphalt shingles over your roof, it is not recommended to reroof on top of other roofing materials such as metal. It is also impossible to reroof if your roof already has more than one layer.

Pros of Reroofing

Workers working on Reroofing
Photo Credit: LightField Studios / Shutterstock


Perhaps the most appealing advantage of reroofing is that it is cheaper than completely replacing a roof. It is a more cost-effective option that saves on materials, time, and labor costs. On average, it costs $7,200 to reroof and $14,643 for a roof replacement.

Easy to Install

Reroofing does not take much time to install. Since reroofing doesn’t involve tearing off the old roof, it saves the roofers hours or even up to a day’s time of work that it would take to remove the old shingles, depending on the size of the roof. 

A second layer of shingles can be easily installed over the old roof without the extra labor and time it takes to tear off the old shingles. This makes it simpler and quicker to reroof than to completely replace your residential roofing. 

Reinforces the Roof

Reroofing adds another layer of shingles on top of a pre-established layer so that your roof is reinforced and strengthened by the overlayer. The extra layer of shingles offers stronger protection against extreme weather conditions and makes the roof more impervious to leaks. 

New Look

Reroofing rejuvenates your roof and gives it a fresh new look. If your roof is looking worn, it’s a cheap, quick way to make your roof look new. 

Cons of Reroofing

Requires Certain Qualifications

Depending on the condition of a roof, it may not be suitable for a reroofing. Building codes prohibit reroofing under certain conditions.

Some factors that rule out reroofing are:

  • The roof already has two layers of shingles. A third layer will put too much weight on the frame of a house, so if your roof already has two layers or roofing, it will have to be replaced. 
  • Major water damage. If a roof has suffered a lot of water damage, it must be completely replaced. 
  • The roof must be made of asphalt shingles. It is not recommended to attempt reroofing over metal roofs, and building codes do not allow shingles to be applied to other roofing materials such as slate, clay, or cement. Shingles do not fit right over other types of roofing material and must be applied to asphalt shingles only.

Short Lifespan

Reroofing will not last quite as long as a roof replacement. Reroofing can last up to about 16 years. In general, reroofing is meant to be a temporary solution, not a long-term installment. 

Increases Weight on the Roof

With two layers of shingles on your roof, your roof will double in weight. This puts a lot more strain on the frame and structure of your home. 

Can’t Inspect for Damages

When a roof is replaced, the roofers can inspect the roof decking when they tear off the old roof. 

Because reroofing doesn’t involve tearing off the old shingles, roofers don’t have the opportunity to see the structure below and spot issues with the roof early on. And so roofers can’t check the underlayer of the roof, which could be problematic, since if your roof needs repairs, you won’t be able to detect it with a reroofing. 

Voids Warranties

Reroofing can void certain manufacturers’ warranties. If you are concerned about voiding your warranty, then check the warranty to determine if it will still be valid after a reroofing. 

Resale Value

Reroofing is generally intended to be a more temporary roofing option, which isn’t appealing to prospective buyers, as it might mean that they will have to replace the roof soon. As a result, reroofing can lower the resale value of a home

Traps Heat

The double layer of shingles with reroofing traps heat. Not only will this make the house hotter and increase your electric bill in the summertime, but trapped heat can decrease the lifespan of shingles as extreme heat can cause shingles to crack or curl.  

When Should You Reroof?

Now that you know what reroofing is, the question is when is reroofing a good choice? 

Here are some examples of when it’s a good time to consider reroofing your asphalt shingle roof:

  • A roof is in good condition but near the end of its lifespan. 
  • The house is experiencing minor leaks but no major water damage. 
  • Only part of your roof is in bad condition and needs repairs while other parts of the roof are in good condition. 

You cannot reroof if the building has soggy shingles or missing shingles or if your roof already has two layers installed on it. 

What is a Roof Replacement?

A roof replacement is when roofers tear the existing shingles and underlayment off the roof decking. After removing the old roof, the roofing company then installs a completely new roof

Pros of Roof Replacement

A Man and a Women are working on roof replacement
Photo Credit: Brian Robinson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Long Lifespan

A completely new roof has a longer lifespan than reroofing, as a mere overlayer won’t last as long as an entirely new roofl. An asphalt roof typically lasts for 15 to 20 years, but they can sometimes last up to 30 years. 

Can Inspect Roof for Damage

Because a roof replacement begins by tearing off the old shingles, a roof replacement allows roofers to spot damage or issues with your roof early on, allowing you to repair them sooner rather than later. 

After tearing out the old roof, roofing experts can spot signs of damage, including leaks, mold, and rot. With reroofing, you could be covering up serious issues with new shingles.

Increases Property Value

No matter what type of roof it is, a brand new roof will always increase the value of your home and improve its curb appeal. A new roof is a big home improvement that will give your home a higher resale price. 

More Roofing Options

Unlike reroofing, which limits homeowners to only asphalt shingles, a roof replacement allows you to choose any new type of roofing material such as slate, clay tile, or metal. 

Cons of Roof Replacement


A roof replacement costs a lot more than reroofing. Some roofing materials are cheaper than others, but any way you slice it, completely replacing a roof is going to be pricey. 

Asphalt shingles are one of the cheapest and most common roofing options available. However, asphalt shingles also have a shorter lifespan than other types of roofing like metal or clay tile. 

Roof replacements take a lot of money, time, materials, and labor to install, making them an expensive investment. On average, it costs $14,643 for a roof replacement.

When to Replace Your Roof

There are times when reroofing isn’t the best option or even an option at all. And eventually, a roof will need to be completely replaced. Here are the times when replacing your roof is best: 

  • A roof is at the end of its lifespan
  • Extensive leaking and water damage in the roof
  • Discolored walls or ceiling
  • Damaged or missing flashing
  • There are more than two layers of shingles already on the roof

Cost of Reroofing vs. Roof Replacement

Reroofing and roof replacement costs are both dependent on several factors, including:

  • Labor costs
  • Style and slope of roof
  • House location
  • Roofing materials
  • Special equipment needed
  • Roof accessibility
  • House size
  • Roof condition
  • Penetrations such as skylights or chimneys

If a home has a lot of steep roof slopes or an unusually shaped roof, it is going to raise the price since these conditions make it more difficult for roofers. Roofing companies will also increase the price if special equipment is required for the job or if roofers have to work around penetrations such as skylights or chimneys. 

Here is a chart of the average cost differences:

Low CostHigh CostAverage
Roof Replacement$8,008$21,278$14,643

There are many different factors that can affect a roof’s pricing, so it’s important to consider what kind of roof you have and how that might affect your roofing cost. You can install any type of roofing with a full roof replacement, so the type of roofing material used determines the expense of a new roof

FAQ About Reroofing vs. Roof Replacement

How long does it take to replace a roof?

The amount of time it takes to install a roof depends on a variety of roofing factors such as:

— Size
— Shape
— Accessibility
— Steepness
— Structural damage
— Weather
— Roofing materials

Roofing material is a primary factor that determines how long it will take to replace a roof. Different roofing materials take different amounts of time to install.

How often should a roof be replaced?

A roof needs to be replaced if it has reached the end of its lifespan or if it has suffered too much damage and roof repairs aren’t enough to fix it.
A roof’s lifespan is dependent on the type of roofing material, as different materials have different life expectancies. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material in the United States, and they have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years.

Can you do partial reroofing?

Instead of replacing the entire roof, partial reroofing is when a second layer of shingles is applied only over sections of the roof that are worn or have a number of damaged or missing shingles. 

The problem with partial reroofing is that it is difficult to find shingles to match your current roof. As a result, partial reroofing typically results in a patchwork of shingles. The mismatched colors create an unattractive hodge-podge.

Partial reroofing can be done, but the end result may not be aesthetically appealing and it may not improve the curb appeal of your home. 

Should I stay at home during a roof replacement?

It is possible to stay in your home during a roof replacement, but whether staying in your house is the best option depends on a homeowner’s preferences

There are advantages to staying in your home while your roof is being replaced, since it allows you to oversee the progress of your roof replacement. Staying at your house is also a cheaper option since you won’t have to spend money on hotels or lodgings.
There are also disadvantages, since a roof replacement is noisy. The constant hammering and banging on the roof can grate on people’s nerves and be irritating and stressful. If you do not want to deal with a noisy house all day, it would be best to stay somewhere else while the new roof is being installed. 

Getting a roof replacement installed also can be scary and anxiety-inducing for pets, so homeowners will want to consider how their pets will fare during a noisy roof installation. 

While roofers are installing a new roof, there will be falling shingles and nails around your house, so it will be safest to stay indoors to avoid dangerous falling debris during the installation process.

How Do You Decide Between Reroofing and Roof Replacement

Now you know the pros and cons of reroofing and roof replacements, and which one will work best for your home. If your roof has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced, then reroofing and roof replacements are both good options, depending on what works best for your home.

Reroofing works great as a temporary, quick fix, while roof replacements provide homeowners with a peace of mind knowing they have a sturdy new roof over their heads. 
Once you’ve decided what option is best for you, find a roofing contractor to help you with your roofing project.

Main Photo Credit: Curtis Adams / Pexels

Danielle Gorski

Danielle Gorski

Danielle Gorski lives with her family in Texas. She has a degree in Professional Studies and a minor in marketing. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and writing.