Should I Install a New Shingle Roof Over My Existing Roof?

You may have heard that you don’t have to tear your old roof out. All you need is to put up new shingles over the existing one. But is this right and should you go ahead and heed this advice? In this post, you’ll learn when roofing your existing roof may be a good idea and instances when you should tear off your roof and start from scratch.

Getting new shingles installed over old ones can be a good idea if:

• Your old shingles are smooth and beautiful, providing an even surface for re-roofing
• You’re in a new building, and it’s up to code
• The boards and beams of the roof structure are in excellent condition and able to hold a nail.

Choosing to install new shingles over old shingles can be advantageous because:

Takes Less time- Unlike tearing off old shingles, installing new shingles over the existing ones saves you time and money spent on labor.

Inexpensive- You don’t have to spend money on removing your existing roofing. What’s more, you don’t need extra felt paper over your old roof.

Extra Protection- If your old rood is still in good shape, adding the layer to it can serve as protection especially if you live in areas prone to storms.

Durability- When done under the right conditions by a professional, installing new shingles over existing ones can ensure that your roof looks just as good, not to mention, last long.

Warranty- As long as a qualified installer does your roofing work, the manufacturer will still provide the same warranty for the same time as a re-roof.

While there are numerous benefits of installing new shingles over your existing roof, there are some cases when it’s not right.

Instances When Tearing off Your Old Roof is a Good Option

There are times when tearing off your old shingles before installing new shingles is a good idea. Here are some instances when this would be required.

Leaky Roof

If your roof is prone to leaks, it’s essential to get rid of old shingles to find out the source of the leak and have this fixed.


Although shingles may not seem to weigh much, you’ll be surprised to discover that to cover a 3000 sq. Foot, a roof can weigh in around 6000 pounds. This is a lot of weight. Check to see if the underlying structure of your roof can support an extra layer. If this is not possible, tearing off your old shingles would be a better option.

Layers of Shingles

Building codes allow up to 2 layers of any roofing in your home. If you already have two layers, you need to tear off the roof and get a new one installed.

Shingles are in Bad Shape

Curly shingles or those that appear to be in lousy shape need to be torn off before getting new shingles.

Deciding whether to install new shingles over your existing shingles can be complicated. If not sure, consult a roofing professional who will check your roof’s condition and recommend the best option.

Vancouver Roofing Companies

Cooper Roofing Vancouver
1285 W Broadway #600, Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8
(604) 674-0319

Amateur Roofing Mistakes: The Most Common Issues We See as Vancouver Roofers

There is always a right way to do things and a wrong way. The right way generally comes from experience, and when it comes to roofing this is not to be taken for granted. The installation and maintenance of a roof requires a specific set of tools and knowledge and should not be left to just anyone. Roofing can be costly, so you don’t want to pay for substandard work, so the tips below can help you to ensure you get the quality you pay for.

1. The Wrong Materials

Regardless of using new materials, if they are not the right type for the slope of your roof, then the protection you get will be minimal; this can mean leaks and moisture permeating into the roof. As an example, a low sloping roof allows water to pool, so asphalt which is not waterproof will not be a good fit. Pooled water can permeate the asphalt shingles, leaving the roof open to rot and water damage. It is best to speak with a contractor to determine which materials are best for the slope of your roof.

2. Incorrect Use of Nails

It usually shocks people that something so simple can be so devastating. Some shingle repair contractors will cut corners to save money and not use enough nails to secure the shingles. The standard rule in the industry is that no fewer than four nails are to be used per shingle. Too few nails can leave shingles unsecured and a loose or missing shingle leaves the potential for water damage. There is a nailing strip which is to be used for securing shingles and which ensures proper installation and a secure fit. When using the nail strip, you actually catch the shingle below the one you are adding, so four nails per shingle actually turn out to be eight each.

3. Poor Valley Flashing installation

Valley flashing is only effective when used underneath shingles. There have been cases where contractors have installed this protective layer on top instead. You need to ensure the correct sealant is used and be sure to use enough. Having an inadequate amount of sealant will render the flashing useless, and it will not effectively be able to divert water away.

Ice dams are dangerous to roofs and can result in a roof collapsing.

4. Consider Winter Climate

If you live in an area where harsh winters are typical, you want to keep that in mind when it comes to your roofing. Roofs can be prone to forming ice dams which occur when heat escapes from inside the house and melts snow on the roof. This melted snow then freezes and allows water runoff to enter between the shingles. In locations where winters can be severe, contractors will usually plan for ice dams and will install a protective layer ahead of time.

5. Over and Under Driven Nails

Some contractors will work quickly rather than efficiently, and nails can end up under or overdriven. Overdriven nails can damage shingles, which means water can enter quickly and under driven nails create gaps between shingles so that water can permeate through to the roof.

6. Re-using Flashings

The places on your roof that need flashings are the chimney and walls which make them the most efficiently compromised areas too. To reduce time and money, some contractors will re-use the existing flashing, which is not as effective as new flashings. When getting your roof replaced, be sure that new flashing is used to ensure that you get better protection.

7. Crickets Behind Chimneys

For any house with a chimney, cricket is a critical component because it steers water away. For those who are not aware of what cricket is, it is a gabled roof plane installed behind the chimney and is usually made from metal but can be wooden. By diverting water away, the cricket prevents water from collecting and permeating this area around the chimney which is vulnerable.

By paying attention to these tips when it comes to your roof, you can save time and money by ensuring the job gets done the first time correctly. Roofing is not cheap, but inexperienced contractors may try to cut corners which will leave you with potential damage and much higher costs of roofing a house. It is better to have the insight of the items discussed above so you can get the roofing done efficiently and effectively.

Roof Repair Vancouver

Cooper Roofing Vancouver
1285 W Broadway #600, Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8
(604) 674-0319

How Hail Can Damage & Destroy Roofing Shingles in Vancouver

Weather is unpredictable and can cause significant damage to roofing. Turbulent weather like hailstones can ruin your shingles, so contractors need to explain to homeowners what damage can occur and what to look for. The reason is that most manufacturers’ warranty does not cover hail damage. Make sure you thoroughly review your warranty to see if you have coverage for these circumstances.

Some of the most common questions asked regarding hail damage are below to help you understand the problem more clearly.

Is damage immediately noticeable?

The damaged caused by hail will be significant, but that does not necessarily mean you can see it. The damage can occur over time, causing premature aging of roof shingles. Since there is nothing visible to see, it will be hard to determine the extent of the damage done. By the time you notice the accident, which can be months or years later, it will already be too late.

How can I tell if the roof was damaged?

You can inspect the surface of the shingles for dents or fractures that hail can cause. Since hailstones come in different shapes, sizes and hardness, the damage is done will also vary so you may see distinct patterns of indentations on the surface. If you are not able to see dents on the shingle surfaces, then you can look on the metal flashings, siding or chimney caps. Look out for exposed asphalt, which can appear after time when granules will break off where the hailstones hit.

What are the most common types of damage?

Granule loss: this usually occurs at the point of contact and often leaves a depression on the surface. Either immediately or gradually, asphalt can be exposed as the granules are chipped away. Now being exposed to the atmosphere and elements, shingles will age quicker. The loss of granules is more than cosmetic and needs to be addressed as soon as it is noticed. Do not just add more granules with asphalt cement as a quick fix to the roof, because this will not solve the problem.

Cracks: the granule-asphalt surface of the shingles can get cracked in severe weather. Cracks can spread out from the contact points and are especially noticeable if high winds move the shingles.

Fiberglass mat: This can become exposed when hail causes the granule-asphalt surface to tear away from the mat. The carpet can also become fractured by hailstone hits, and the tears can radiate away from the contact point. This damage may not always be visible right away and can develop into more significant cracks as the shingles age.

Self-seal strip: It is not easy to notice this type of damage, but a weakened seal is essential to look for because decreased seal integrity can potentially result in shingles blowing off the roof.

Can I replace shingles or do I need to replace the entire roof?

Replacing individual shingles is possible. However, the damage that was done to nearby shingles may not be as easy to identify. Since adjacent shingles were hit by the same weather and hailstones, it is likely they are also damaged, so it is advised to replace the whole roof. Only replacing the obviously damaged shingles can leave others behind that also need repair, so the longevity of your roof is still compromised. However, if the damage is only to one plane of the roof, you can just have that section replaced. If you do choose to replace single shingles, be sure to return all nails that were removed and reseal the new shingles and surrounding ones by hand.

Vancouver Roof Repair

Cooper Roofing Vancouver
1285 W Broadway #600, Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8
(604) 674-0319

How to Add Years of Life to Your Vancouver Roof and Save Money


Being from the west coast, we are blessed with beautiful snow capped mountains and lush green forests all around. On the other side of the spectrum, you can probably count the number of days it’s not raining with one hand in the winter season. We have been dubbed the “wet coast” and become accustomed to the weather.

However, our roofs take a beating through the seasons. They are relentlessly slammed with massive amounts of rain through the fall and winter. Once spring hits, they think the suffering is over. A sigh of relief is taken to celebrate a victory, but then summer approaches. The blazing heat tests the many shingles and preys on any exposed asphalt and aged cedar. Over the years, moss and algae begin to spawn and flourish on your roof. They move in and invite their friends to join the party.

Once these green patches grow to a certain size, they have the potential to bond to the shingles, and if they are removed, sections of granules may come along with them. The problem is the ceramic coated granules protect the asphalt layer from UV rays. Once the asphalt is exposed to the elements the lifespan of your roof is significantly decreased. If the left is, moss retains moisture and accelerates the deterioration process on your shingles.

Most shingle manufacturers provide a 10-year warranty on algae resistance. The shingles are treated with algicide which helps fight off the growth of algae for about ten years. Once the algicide has worn away, your roof is open season for a free-for-all of algae spores to collect. Once the algae have fought its way through the limestone, it begins to dislodge granules and expose the asphalt.

Now you must be thinking, what can I do? Well, you can be a friendly Canadian and let the baby fungi grow up to be significant and robust adult fungi, or you can take action.

If you enjoy doing it yourself and are brave enough to set up a ladder and walk along your roof, there are various roof cleaner products on the market that can be used to fight moss, algae, and mildew. If you feel more comfortable on the ground, seek out a professional roofing contractor in your area to provide an assessment and maintenance plan for your roof.

These products can be applied to your roof every 1-3 years and fight off existing moss, mildew, and algae while helping with future prevention. Some sprays can be attached directly to your garden hose and have a long range like Spray & Forget or you may need to purchase a light duty sprayer which will not affect the integrity of your roof. Make sure any products used are environmentally friendly, biodegradable and NOT filled with any toxic chemicals such as chlorine or bleach. These can damage your shingles, gutters and kill gardens. High-powered pressure washers can remove granules on asphalt shingles and the treatment on cedar shakes. They also have potential to penetrate behind or under metal flashing, and vents so stay clear of using these to clean your roof.

Maintaining your roof isn’t just about bragging to the neighbors about how pristine your roof looks. Regular roof maintenance will add many years of life to your roof and save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Roof Repair Vancouver BC

Cooper Roofing Vancouver
1285 W Broadway #600, Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8
(604) 674-0319

Why Hire A Premium Vancouver Roofing Company?


This project is not your everyday roof. Most roofing companies would shy away from something this difficult or take on the job without the expertise.

  • The slope is extremely steep
  • There are many sections and the roof is cut up
  • Luxury shingles are installed (CertainTeed Landmark TL – 25% heavier than the standard shingle)
  • Two applications are required; torch-on and asphalt shingles

When dealing with a steep roof and many cut-up sections proper preparation and care is required. Jacks and planks must be set up every 4-6 feet as the installers work their way up the roof. Wearing the proper safety equipment and being tied off to a secure anchor point is critical to ensure the safety of the workers. The time must be taken to ensure each transition and metal flashing is done correctly. Some may try to rush through a small section take longer.

Applying shingles correctly on a steep slope requires a level of attention and skill which may take 15-20+ years to master. The shingles must be held at all times to ensure they do not slide down and create a crooked or angled roof line. The nails must be fastened between a 1.5-inch section or less or else the shingle should be replaced. Too high and the nails are only fastened to one layer of shingle instead of two. Too low and the nails may be exposed which will lead to corrosion and leaking down the road. On an angle and the nails may not be fully fastened to the decking. If the air pressure is set too high on the nailing gun, the nails could puncture completely through the shingles. If the pressure is too low, the nails may not fully penetrate the decking and damage the shingle applied over top. And I could go on, but I’ll keep this short. The point is carelessness and inexperience can cause future problems. It is key to have a trusted, reputable company take care of your roof so you don’t have to.

There are few roofers that are experts in a torch-on application and shingle application. Many crews specialize in one area. Be sure to check credentials in both forms and ensure the company you are working with has a minimum 2-million dollar liability to cover fire damage.

The CertainTeed Landmark TL (triple laminate) shingle is a luxury item. It’s 25% thicker than the standard shingle and has three layers instead of two. The thickness increases the life while the triple layer provides a high profile look similar to cedar shakes. However, the price premium of 20-35% on the total job cost is what scares people away. When cutting through these shingle it takes more cuts and more time. When fastening these shingles on a steep slope, you must pay close attention so they do not drop. The tired, burnt out installer will lose focus and the attention to detail will suffer.

Want to avoid any leaks? Want to rest easy because you know you have a correctly installed roof? Don’t want to replace damaged drywall, plywood, and insulation? Then pay the premium for the company you KNOW will complete the job accurately and keep your life simple.

Roofing Contractors Vancouver

Cooper Roofing Vancouver
1285 W Broadway #600, Vancouver, BC V6H 3X8
(604) 674-0319