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  • Writer's pictureElite Roofing

Re-roof Vs. Roof Replacement

Unless you’re in or know someone in the roofing industry, we don’t expect anyone to know the common roofing terms used when speaking about specific roof jobs! You may have heard of a roof replacement and/or a re-roof, but do you know the difference? Read on to learn what the main differences are, and what both jobs entail!

Re-roofing is generally less expensive than purchasing a new roof due to many factors such as time, materials, and labor. Re-roofing refers to the process of recovering or replacing an existing roof covering. When we say recovering, this refers to installing an additional roof covering over a prepared existing roof covering without removing the existing roof covering. Oftentimes if your roof is in overall good shape with no signs of water damage or missing shingles, re-roofing may be the more ideal option, but keep in mind that local laws prohibit roofs to have more than two layers, so this is only an option if you have one layer.

On the other hand, a roof replacement refers to the process of completely removing the roof down to its structural deck/base and adding all-new materials. Although much more costly than a re-roof, oftentimes if a roofer is suggesting a full roof replacement, it is more than necessary. Let’s look at some pros and cons of both options!


Before we examine the pros and cons of going with a re-roof instead of a roof replacement, let's look at what exactly a re-roof involves! “During re-roofing, a new shingle overlay is placed over your worn shingles to restore the look of your roof as well as provide a protective layer to help prevent leaks from getting inside your home.” This method is only an option if you only have one existing layer on the roof; it is important to remember that the legal amount of layers allowed on a roof is 2, so if you already have 2 layers this will not be an option, unfortunately. Now let's move on to the pros and cons:


  • Re-roofing is generally cheaper as it requires fewer materials, labor, and is a lot faster to complete than a complete roof replacement.

  • Since re-roofing does not require a contractor to replace your entire roof, this option is the fastest way to restore your roof!


  • If you already have the legal limit (2) of layers, re-roofing is not an option.

  • Re-roofing will not last as long as a complete roof replacement.

  • If you have certain roofing materials such as metal, re-roofing is not recommended.

  • Because re-roofing does not require your contractor to lift the current shingles, there's no way for your contractor to know if there's any invisible damage underneath such as rot or sagging.

Roof Replacement

Just as we did for the re-roof, let's examine what is involved when conducting a full roof replacement! According to, “When your roof is fully replaced, the old shingles are stripped from the roof, exposing the deck. An underlayment or felt paper is then applied to the deck to help protect it from water and other elements. The new shingles are then installed on top of the underlayment or felt paper for a new roof that lasts for 20 years or more.” Roof replacements are specifically useful if you are experiencing leaks and other kinds of damage as your contractor can also examine the roof's decking to see if there are any issues there, where this is not an option for re-roofs. If your roof deck is extremely damaged, this will need to be fixed or replaced before completing the roof replacement.


  • Complete roof replacements last significantly longer than re-roofing.

  • Roof replacements can be done regardless of how many existing layers you already have on your roof.

  • Unlike re-roofing which can cover damages, full roof replacements allow your contractor to see and address any issues prior to installing your new roof.


  • The only con of getting a full roof replacement is that it is more costly, time-consuming, and requires more labor than a re-roof, yet again, roof replacements last much longer than re-roofs and leave no room for leaks!

Cost of both Re-Roof and Roof Replacements

For re-roofing, costs can vary based on the specific materials needed for your type and size of the roof, labor costs, where you live, and any other special materials or equipment necessary (roof jacks, scaffolding, etc.) The number of stories your house has and the slope of your roof may also affect the overall cost as this requires more time and labor, and any other equipment necessary to transfer materials to the roof. Lastly, the materials necessary to use when re-roofing can vary in cost as the traditional asphalt-shingles cost much less than slate or metal roofs, yet this applies to both re-roofing and full roof replacements.

As for roof replacements, this option will certainly be more expensive as much more labor and time are necessary. Unlike re-roofs, roof replacements take significantly longer as the contractor and their team must remove all of the old shingles, check the roof's decking for any damages, prep the roof for installation, and finally install the new shingles. When it comes to new roof installation, contractors often charge per roofing square, so if your roof is on the larger side, you’ll need to take its size into consideration. It is also important to consider that your contractor has to work around certain features on your roof such as chimneys, skylights, etc.

Overall, when deciding between hiring a contractor for a roof replacement or a re-roof, you must consider certain factors such as how many existing layers there are on your roof, whether or not there may be damages on the roof's decking that can’t be reached by re-roofing, etc. We recommend having a contractor come out to your property to give you a consultation on your options, as well as an estimate for the job's total cost. If you are in the market for a new roof replacement or simply a re-roof, look no further, Elite Roofing is here to help you! If you’d like to learn more or schedule a FREE estimate, be sure to give our office a call at (201)436-1011, or send us an email at today!

Check out this Home Blue blog that features us when talking about roof replacements in Bayonne, New Jersey!

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