Asphalt Shingle replacement and old felt.

Pam asked, 

When replacing a roof with new asphalt shingles, is it best to take off the layer of old felt with the old shingles? Is it better to lay new felt over the old felt before putting new shingles on? Why do some companies take off the old felt, and some leave it on?

I get this question many times and it is my opinion that the old felt should be removed and not covered over. I don’t know why some roofers say “leave it on”. I seem to me if you are going to the trouble of removing the shingles, you now have a chance to do repair on the roof deck by removing all the old felt. Dry rot can occur with leaks and now with the roof totally off it can be inspected and be repaired. This includes the framing that could be damaged. dry rot roof deckI see no value in leaving felt paper that is all ripped up, and full of nail holes. It is more effort to not remove the felt than it is tearing it off. There could be, with an aged roof, many nails in the sheathing deck that back up.  With removing the felt these nails can be seen and re-driven down and thus making a nice surface for the brand new felt and shingles. The key to a good shingle installation is a prepared roof deck.  Having that will promote a long life for your roof.

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Anderson Roofing

Orangevale, CA 95662

(916) 726-2900

Lic # 719925



About author

Bob 270 posts

Since 2005 Bob has been answering questions, free of charge, here at With a strong background in residential roofing and provides a practical and simple answers to hundreds of roof related questions, so it is easy to understand the issues you may have with your roof. Our answers are free so feel free to ask what you want. Use the green question box to contact myself or I have spent ten years as a union shingler, seventeen years as a California licensed roofing contractor with a general contractor endorsement and since Feb. of 2005 a roofing consultant. If I don't know the answer to your question, I will point you in the right direction.

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  1. Nu Look Home Design
    July 18, 03:48 Reply
    Hey thank you for this nice post. I think asphalt roofs are awesome. They work really well. Quite durable too. They are easy to maintain and renovate too. Thank you for this post. :)
  2. Peter
    January 17, 16:05 Reply
    I noticed you said, when removal roof, the nails pop up are re-driven down... well, my house is about 15 years old and the roof (asphalt) has been replaced 3 times due to hail. Now I noticed in the attic, under roof sheething, there are a lot of nails, I believe some are from 1st or 2nd time installation. some spots 2-3 nails are next to each other so close, I am concerned the structure has been weekened for this kind of spot, if someone walks on top of the roof and weight is on this kind of spot, the crack could happen and lose support for roof shingle. Or the shingle surface will not be flat any more. Should old nails be removed before reroof? how much cost to ask the contractor to do this?

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