Roofing-Handy man versus Roofing company-Putting the new roof over the old roof or removing the old roof-Pros and Cons

Asked by Tony, Lehigh Acres, FL Sun Oct 17, 2010

My small and older home needs a new roof. It is too old but not leaking and I couldn't get the insurance coverage. I think sooner or later I will have to replace the roof anyway; so I am thinking to replace to old roof. It is part of shingles and part of flat tar roller roof (it is about 1300sq/ft. Since I don't have a lot of money left because my saving already spent for the house so I am looking for cost effective but work well.
Do you recommend a handy man or respectible roofing company? Put the new roof over the old one or remove the old and put the new one.
Many thanks in advance

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Scott Miller, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Sun Oct 17, 2010
Hi Toni. I was a general contractor in PA & NJ for many years and replaced a LOT of roofs. I now live in Florida, and although the roofs are very different, much of the labor and requirements are the same.

First of all, I would not use a handyman to do your roof. Personally, I would prefer someone that only does roofing. Like others answered here, get 3 estimates in writing.

In Florida, you need a specific Roofing Contractor's license to perform work legally, AND, to pull permits.
Only use a licensed contractor. Ask them for their license number and check it out on:

Ask these same roofers for a copy of their insurance policy. You can call the insurance company direct to make sure the policy has not been cancelled and is indeed in effect.

The proper way to replace a roof is to tear off existing shingles completely. Your contractor may need a dumpster. We used them all the time. Otherwise, it's a mess. Flat tar roofs can be torn off, too, down to the plywood decking. Both will be replaced with new roofs. If a contractor tells you that he will go right over your old roofs and that there's no reason to tear off the old one, keep looking for another roofer.

There are lots of problems with old roofs and many of them carry water between the shingles, bubble under the tar, or are hiding rotted wood on your roof decking/plywood.

So remember: Roofing contractor. Tear off old, put on new.

GOOD LUCK and let us know how your roof turns out.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
3 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sun Oct 17, 2010
Hi Toni

Go with a licensed, insured, Roofer.

It will be more expensive if you do it otherwise, get reported and have the City come knocking asking you to do a redo.

Good luck.
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1 vote
I was going to say the same thing. Find a roofer who can give you the paperwork when you want to sell the house. They should be able to license your roof, not just repair it. That way you won't have anything to worry about when a buyer asks.
Flag Thu Apr 23, 2015
I think it depends on what you're trying to repair. Although, if it's a serious problem, I would definitely go with a roofing contractor. It's better to go with a professional who really knows that field. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you!
Flag Mon Sep 22, 2014
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Tue Apr 28, 2015
Personally I do not think I would go with just any handy man to work on my roof. Some of the repairs or jobs can be pretty big too. There is a home down my road that is having their entire roof replaced and a job like that cannot be done by a handy man alone.
0 votes
Paige Smith, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Thu Apr 23, 2015
There are many roofing companies that will be able to help you replace your roof. Are you trying to replace the roof or just a few shingles. I would look in to asking a roofing company.
0 votes
Gary Birtles, , Scottsdale, AZ
Mon Apr 20, 2015
A large roofing company will probably be a little more expensive than a handy man, but the roofing company will be able to get the job done sooner most likely. If you do end up going with a handy man, make sure they know what they are doing and have gotten the proper licenses to get the job done. I don't necessarily think that one can do a better job than the other. there are just pro's and con's for both.
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri Apr 17, 2015
My best recommendation would be to find references. It would also depend on how big of job you are talking about. Some may be more qualified than others so its best to have them look at the roof first.
0 votes
Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Fri Feb 20, 2015
I think that in your case, it might be just a good idea to replace the roof at this point. Otherwise, it would seem like a bit of a waste of money to just do repairs until the rest starts getting bad. And as far as who to hire, you just want to get someone that is reliable. I would think that a contractor would be more reliable, but it might just be dependent on what you know about them and how well they complete their projects.
0 votes
Wally West, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri Jan 16, 2015
I think you are on the right track with the decision to replace the roof. I also think that you should get a professional roofer. I don't think that a handyman will be the right fit for this job. It might be tempting because the handyman might charge a lot less, but I really don't recommend it. I would much rather get my roof done by a professional, that way I know that it was done correctly.
0 votes
Caleb Hart, Renter, Orem, UT
Fri Dec 5, 2014
I know that the roofing contractors have licenses to do that kind of thing. You have to have a license because when the house is put back on the market, it has to be in top shape and have correct work done. I have never had to work on a roof before. I don't know if it's hard, but that doesn't mean that anyone should do it.
0 votes
Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Thu Nov 20, 2014
If you are thinking that you will replace the roof later anyway, then it might be a good idea to just do it now so that you don't have problems with it in the meantime. However, if you don't have enough saved up, then it will probably be fine while you save up the money. In regards of hiring, I would probably find a roofing company, just to make sure that the job is well done, whether you just repair it or replace it!
0 votes
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Sun Oct 17, 2010
Depending on your County Code requirements you may not be able to do a "roof over". In Hillsborough this is no longer allowed.

Permits have to be filed with the county and I don't think a handyman would qualify. As an "owner" I think you can do the work so there may be a loophole.

I had a client who recently put on a new roof and she saved money by hiring a roofing contractor do the "labor" and then negotiated a spectacular deal on the shingles from Home Depot. She estimated she saved over a $1k.
0 votes
I was going to mention a roofing contractor as well. I'm not sure what you mean by "handyman," but that doesn't sound as safe as an actual licensed contractor. For something as important as a roof, you want to find someone experienced.
Flag Fri May 15, 2015
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sun Oct 17, 2010
I will always recommend a professional roofing company with a good reputation. The roof is a major component of your home, and protects it from all sorts of potential damage, and that's not the place to try to save money. Especially when you're dealing with multiple surfaces. Flat roofs, especially, take experience and know-how.

Most professional roofing companies recommend a full tear-off. If you put the new one, over the old one, you might get a few less years wear out of the roof.

Good luck.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sun Oct 17, 2010
Toni nothing beats getting written estimates from at least 3 companies and ask them if they recomend removing or not. Without looking at your roof it is difficult to judge, if you have more than 1 layer, then it should be removed, if they are peeling or curling up, they should be removed, if there is only 1 layer of shingles and they are not curling, then you may be able to go over it. You want to make sur eit is a reputable person or company, with insurance and who wont take off with your money.
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0 votes
Monir Mamoun, Agent, Denville, NJ
Sun Oct 17, 2010
hi Toni, they will remove most of it, probably all of it, especially because of the varies surface texture areas.

Colonial roofing: 239-458-1000
Frank's roofing and spray: (239) 369-9045
0 votes
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