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Unless you have some background in home remodeling or construction or have previously replaced a roof, you may not be familiar with the roof replacement terms your roofer uses. It’s always okay to ask for clarification on any part of a quote you don’t understand. However, if you’re reviewing a quote and aren’t able to call them, this glossary should help.


A roof tear-off is when the roofing company tears off the old shingles before installing your new roof. This is the preferred method of roof replacement. It costs a bit more, but your roof will look better and last longer than a roofing overlay.

Roofing Overlay

An overlay is the opposite. It’s where the roofer simply installs the new shingles on top of your existing ones. Although this is legal, it’s rarely a good idea. Not only will some manufacturers not honor their manufacturer’s warranty with an overlay, but your new roof won’t last as it should. It’s also likely that you won’t love the way your new roof looks. One of these two roof replacement terms should be specified in your quote.

Roof Deck

The roof deck is what the underlayment and shingles are affixed to. Some quotes will include repairs to the roof deck, others will specify replacing a section or the entire roof deck depending on the age and state of your current roof. Other times, repairs to the roof deck will be charged after the fact when they are found. If your quote doesn’t specify, ask.


A good roofing system includes a quality synthetic underlayment. Originally felt paper was the only option. However, rarely do roofing companies use felt paper today for underlayment as the synthetic products provide more protection and have a higher wind rating. Some roof installations may list ice and water shield which is a type of synthetic underlayment.

Roof Replacement Quote vs. Roof Replacement Estimate

Although most contractors are guilty of using the term quote and estimate interchangeably, they are not the same. An estimate is an educated guess at the cost of goods and services. A quote is a firm price for the goods and services. Many roofers will provide you with an estimate when they come out initially and then prior to your signing a contract give you a roof replacement quote that is a firm price and includes your specific shingle brand, style and color.

Still Have Questions About Roof Replacement Terms? Call Us

Cooley Roofing is a Better Business Bureau A+ rated roofing company in Clemmons, NC. If you need a roof replacement or repair in the greater Winston-Salem area, call us at (336) 766-6488 or fill out our contact form.

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