Call toll free 855.55.ANNEX

Over the course of homeownership, you’ll likely encounter the reroof or recover decision regarding your roof. The topic could come up if your roof experienced storm damage, when your biannual roof inspection reveals roof wear, or if you decide to remodel the exterior of your home with a new color scheme from top to bottom.

What Do These Terms Really Mean

So before you can make a decision about whether to recover or reroof, you need to know what each method involves. Here’s a basic definition of each term:

Recovering means a new roofing system will be installed over an existing roof. It is also often referred to as a lay over. With a recover, the existing roof is not removed.
Reroofing means installing a new roof on an existing home. The old roof is removed completely. This is also referred to as a tear off. All the old roof shingles and the roof’s underlayment are removed and new roofing materials added.

Although a recover is less expensive, reroofing may be necessary if there is significant roof wear or damage, or if you are experiencing condensation or water leak problems.

Recover vs Reroof Pros and Cons

Who doesn’t like a pros and cons list when trying to make an important decision? We’ve put together this pros and cons chart so you can easily compare the advantages and disadvantages of each roofing method.




  • Is less expensive.
  • Takes less time to complete.
  • Roof is not exposed to the elements.


  • Roof deck, valleys and flashing assemblies can be inspected for damage and problem areas fixed or replaced.
  • Ensures long-term roof performance.
  • Comes with a warranty.
  • The new roof will last from 10 to 50 years depending on the lifespan of roofing materials being installed.



  • Any underlying damage will not be found.
  • May need to upgrade ventilation since a roof with multiple layers will get hotter.
  • Multi-layer roof holds more moisture, which could affect attic insulation performance.


  • Higher costs because old roofing and other roofing materials are being removed.

Which Process Is Best for You?

The answer starts with a roof inspection. The Roofing Annex will conduct a roof inspection from atop your roof to examine its condition. Based on what we find plus the age of your existing roof will help you decide the best course of action. Some other things to consider are:

  • How many layers of shingles are already on the roof?
  • Is this existing layer smooth?
  • Are you experiencing any roof leaks, condensation problems, or ice dams?
  • What is the lifespan of your existing roof and does it meet your warranty coverage?

Keep in mind that local building codes may restrict the number of lay over roof layers you can have. Furthermore, depending on where you live and the risk for severe weather events, your insurance company may exclude coverage for a recover roof.

We realize that deciding between reroofing and recovering is a big decision. Always know that the Roofing Annex is available to assist you with any roofing questions, problems, or concerns you may have. Our roofers are experts in all phases of roofing and will give you sound advice and unbiased answers to your questions. Feel free to contact us at any time.