Do I see three layers of shingles here, i.e. an original plus two overlays?

Looks like 3

Yep - 3 it is…looks like my house did until the tear-off and re-roof.

Very good…thanks, that’s how I’ll report it then.

Multiple layers works for anything more than one.

I would much rather report “multiple layers” than try and guess how many…seems like sometimes it is very obvious and others…well not as obvious.

I report multiple layers and leave it at that…

James, Tony,
I agree with those sentiments and that’s actually how I had written it up. This was more just for my benefit to make sure I was really seeing 3 layers. Actually this is the 1st time I’ve ever even seen 3 layers, 2 are pretty apparent but this one was obviously different.

The time to NOT leave it ‘at that’ is when the bottom layer is wood shingles over spaced plank. Under this circumstance, it is a good idea to educate the client as to the additional cost of installing the plywood decking at time of re-roof.

Most I’ve ever torn off of one roof was 5 layers.The original shake layer was concealed by drip edge.From that point on, in older homes ,I took a look in the attic to help me form an accurate estimate.
Point is ,ya just can’t always tell at first glance.It may not matter as a HI but it sure does as a contractor.

That must the best example of “built up roofing” right? Gotta love the DIY!
at a quick glance it looks like 4 layers

The “starter course” is what looks like the bottom layer of shingles.

Funny thing is that my neighbors house’s roof looks just like the one in the photo.

Valid point about the added cost of replacing the spaced boards with plywood underlayment. I had to have that done during my roofing project.

Believe it or not, it may be just two layers. I see a maximum of 6 courses at the thickest part. The top 4 are 20 year shingles. At the thickest point I see the bottom of one course, the middle of a course and the top of the underlying course with a rake starter course under it. The bottom two courses are the same color and really thick. The original roof. Probably 50 year shingles. Always possible I’m wrong, but that’s what I see. Never good to have more than one layer anyway.

Steve…excuse my ignorance…what’s a ‘rake starter course’? I know what an eave starter course is but I guess I wasn’t aware that there was a starter course of any kind along the roof rake. BTW, the pictures I posted are of a roof rake, not an eave. The 1st photo shows the rake angle, I had angled the camera in the 2nd photo so it does kind of look like an eave.