When re-roofing and doing a tear-off do I have replace the roof deck with plywood?

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The only skip sheathing I've ever encountered is that installed to support a tin roof. What I found, was that the sheathing was not a consistent thickness which made laying osb or plywood on top quite difficult.

Granted, these were in rural areas where the roof decking seemed to be made of the materials at hand, and not by a professional roofer, but before I lugged a sheet of OSB up a ladder, I would make sure the existing sheathing was a consistent thickness.

Additionally, what will you do if you find that one or two (or a dozen) of the existing planks are not sound and need to be replaced? Finding a 1x6 today that has the same thickness as one fabricated in 1952 will likely not be...

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Important Facts when re-roofing


This is the most common question the homeowners will ask themselves when they see neighbors getting their roof done. As a responsible roofing contractor, we will advise the customers to look for signs of aging, deteriorating roof shingles and even damaged / water stain marks on the ceilings and walls. If the roof is around 15 to 20 years of age, it may be nearing the end of its life depending on the quality and warranty of the roof. There is also some variation based on sun exposure, shingle color and ventilation under the roof. Next quick evaluation would be the roof appearance. If you have shingles that have broken off, look buckled or warped, or have lost some granule surfacing, it is probably time to consider a replacement. Finally look for signs of water leaks inside your...

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Reroofing Over Asphalt Shingles

As a roofing contractor doing business in my hometown for more than 20 years, I consider it my obligation to give customers the best value for their money. When their asphalt shingle roof has reached the end of its life, most people assume their only option is to strip the roof to bare sheathing before a new roof can be applied. But unless the sheathing is extensively damaged or the structure can't support the weight of another layer of roofing, a better solution is to apply a new layer of shingles right over the old one. Done correctly, a reroof job will look as good and last as long as a "new" roof, for a lot less money and a lot less hassle.

Advantages of Reroofing
Most building codes allow two layers of organic or fiberglass asphalt shingles on roofs with a 4/12 pitch or less, and three layers on steeper roofs. If the structure can support the added weight, a typical 20-square (2,000-square-foot) reroof will cost...

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My roof leaks. Do I need to have it totally replaced?

Not necessarily. Leaking can result from damage done to a section of the roof or from flashing coming loose. A roof failure, however, is generally irreversible and result from improper installation or choice of materials, or from the installation of a roof system inappropriate to the building.

How should I prepare for the installation of my new roof?

You should remove all loose items from your walls and shelves. The constant hammering may cause enough vibration to shake these items down. Make sure you have your driveway clear as well as the areas surrounding your home. This is because of the chance that material from the tear off could fall in the driveway or the area directly around your home. This will also give your contractor a place to store the material for your new roof as well as a place for the dumpster. Make sure the contractor puts plywood down in the driveway to protect it.

How long does...

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Sooner or later, every roof needs to be replaced, usually due to the long-term effects of weathering. If a residential roof is more than 20 years old, it is a prime candidate for re-roofing.

To determine if you need a new roof:

On the ground, walk around your home with binoculars and inspect your roof for cracked, curled or missing shingles, as well as any excessive loss of the protective mineral granules. DO NOT CLIMB ON THE ROOF; walking on the roof is dangerous and can damage your roof.

In your attic, take a flashlight and look at the underside of the roof deck and rafters for any stains or wet spots indicating water leaks.
Asphalt shingles can often be applied directly over existing roofs without the necessity of tearing off the old roof. However, new shingles cannot be properly applied over hard or brittle materials, uneven surfaces for nailing or roof decks with warped, rotted or unsound support that should first be replaced or...

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Asphalt roof shingle re-roofing advice:

This article discusses how to prepare an existing asphalt shingle roof for a roof-over or for re-roofing with new asphalt shingles. This article series discusses best practices in the selection and installation of residential roofing. We also discuss Proper asphalt shingle roof preparation for a roofover job. Roof-over details for multiple layer asphalt shingle roofs.

Characteristics of asphalt shingle roofing materials. Best practices for roofing material installation, flashing, ventilation, nailing, underlayment

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Reroofing Options on Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Adapted/paraphrased with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, chapter on BEST ROOFING...

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By Bruce W. Maki, Editor

Replacing the shingles on an old two-story house with a steep pitch roof can seem pretty daunting. Or maybe it's just that roofing has a reputation as dangerous work. Numerous people have reacted with surprise when I've told them about doing this re-roofing project. They think it's terribly dangerous, that only special people can work on such high and steep roofs, that there is a constant risk of falling off.

I've worked on at least half a dozen major roofing projects prior to this, some on steep roofs, some on low pitch roofs. In some ways I prefer working on a steep roof. For one, there is not as much bending over. And since roof jacks and scaffolding planks MUST be set up, there are designated places to walk and lots of places to grab onto. If you've ever worked on a low-pitch roof on a hot day, you know that by simply turning your foot on the shingles you can scrape bare a big patch of asphalt. This is not a problem with a steep roof,...

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UPDATED on April 8, 2016

There are lots of ways to insulate a low-slope roof, and most of them are wrong. In older buildings, the usual method is to install fiberglass batts or cellulose on top of the leaky ceiling, with a gap of a few inches (or sometimes a few feet) between the top of the insulation and the roof sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. . In some cases, but not all, there is an attempt to vent the air space above the insulation to the exterior.

It’s rare for anyone to inspect the roof sheathing — unless, of course, the boards gets spongy enough to be noticed when the building is re-roofed. If there were any way you could squeeze into the tiny attic under the flat roof, however, you would probably see evidence of mold or rot.

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Ice and Water Shield TIPS

DEAR TIM: Lately I’ve seen roofers install a strange product that looks like traditional felt paper, but it’s not. It has a peel-away backing paper, and this material sticks to the wood sheathing. What is it? Why would you use this on a roof? Is it something that can be added to an existing roof in case I’m adding another layer of shingles? Connie G. Columbus, OH

DEAR CONNIE: Without being there, I’m willing to wager that you saw ice and water shield being installed. It’s an amazing roofing product that was introduced in the 1980’s and has quickly become the gold standard for creating leak-free roofs in all climates.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local roofers who can install the BEST ice and water shield.

Felt Paper Limitations

This entire roof has been covered with an ice and water shield. It’s going to be leak-free for many years. © 2017 Tim Carter

Roofing ice and water shield may look like traditional...

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Thanks for the comment. The fact is that MOST air conditioning systems are oversized. In fact, we tend to size our AC systems to handle "full load" (which is usually the hottest day of the summer); however, we are usually only at full load" about 2% of the time. So, in reality, most systems are oversized 98% of the time.

Normally, this is not a huge issue. However, anything you do to drop the load more (including installing radiant barrier) can cause most systems to be even MORE oversized (the difference between what it can do and what you need it to do becomes a big difference), which could result in a lack of dehumidification but this really depends on you climate area. If your air conditioner is "short cycling" then you have a couple of options. The easiest method is to install a dehumidifier to pull out extra moisture. Or, you can install a two stage (high & low capacity) air conditioner. Personally, I like to use air conditioners that use "inverter" systems. These...

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