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Do I Need to Remove Old Shingles?

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    LESLIE: Eldon in Iowa has a roofing question. What can we do for you today?

    ELDON: Yes. I have organic shingles that’s on the house right now and apparently they’re not supposed to be put on in Iowa, I guess, so they’re starting to break down and they’re rabbit-earing (ph) and they’re spacing real wide and that type of thing.

    I wanted to know, do I – can I go over the top of an organic shingle with something else or do I have to do a complete tear-off?

    TOM: Well, how old is your roof right now, Eldon?

    ELDON: It’s actually only 10 years old.

    TOM: OK. And is the house 10 years old or is there more roofs underneath that?

    ELDON: The house is 100 years old.

    TOM: OK. What’s underneath the shingles? That layer you have now.

    ELDON: Nothing.

    TOM: It’s a single layer? OK.

    ELDON: Yes.

    TOM: And let me ask you, how long do you think you’re going to stay in this house? Will you be in it for more than the next 15 or 20 years?

    ELDON: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Then what I would recommend you do – and it has nothing to do with whether the shingles are organic or not – but I recommend that you remove that old layer and here’s why. When you put multiple layers of roofing shingles on a home, the initial layer adds a heat sink to that sandwich, so to speak, and that can more rapidly deteriorate the new layer of shingles, because you’re basically holding more heat against them. Asphalt shingles are oil-based and when you evaporate a lot of those oils that are in the shingles, they can have a shorter life.

    So I would recommend that you remove the first layer, so that you get the full life of the new layer of shingles.

    ELDON: Well, thank you very much there. You answered my question.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Eldon. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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