There are many common mistakes we have seen over the years as top rated local roofing contractors. There is a huge difference between an experienced local roofing contractor and some cowboy or someone just starting out in the roofing industry. This difference is never more evident than in the work that is produced and the problems that can arise if someone doesn’t quite know what they are doing or if they are trying to cut corners. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!
Here are the top 25 roofing mistakes from our roofing industry experience:
- Shingle alignment – Shingles are meant to be installed in straight lines and a uniform manner. This is second nature for an experienced roofing company, but you would be surprised how hard it is for an inexperienced contractor that’s just starting out. Roofs installed this way will look odd and it will ruin your curb appeal, but that’s not all! If your roof was improperly installed, the roof’s lifespan could be reduced. Plus, if they couldn’t get that right, who knows what else they messed up!
- Counter flashing – Most people just install it upside-down because it’s easier. Then they just fill the top end with caulk, which is bad because the caulk won’t last long. Then in 5-10 years when the caulk wears out, the chimney leaks. The right way to install it is to cut in a reglet line with a grinder and a masonry wheel, then to bend the metal at a 90-degree angle and insert it into the reglet. This will cause water to actually use the flashing, counting on the metal instead of a line of caulking.
- Reusing old flashing – The main purpose of flashing is to prevent any moisture from getting into your home. When getting a roof replacement, cutting corners by using old flashing is a big no! Some roofers would do this in order to cut costs, however, it would only be costly in the long run and not prevent moisture penetration. This will only lead you to call out the contractor again because your roof is leaking.
- No ice & water in the valleys – Some people will cheap out and not apply ice and water to the roof valleys. Roof valleys experience the most water flow on the whole roof, so without ice and water, the roof will eventually leak. Don’t pay out all that money but not get a complete job done! Fixing these issues will only cost you later.
- Pipe collars often leak because there’s no ice and water – You’re supposed to put a 3×3 square of ice and water around the pipe, straight to the decking. After that is applied, you put flashing over the ice and water. Then you put the second piece of ice and water barrier over the top and sides of the pipe flashing. Shingle then goes over the top. This is how to correctly seal pipe collars. Most roofers leave out the second ice and water and some don’t even do any!
- Ridge vents not being hand-nailed which allows for them to blow off – Ridge vents are about an inch thick, shingles are about an eighth of an inch thick. Standard roofing coil nails are only an inch and a quarter long and barely penetrate the decking if used on Ridge vent. The correct way is to do a 2 and a half inch hand nail, which ensures fastening fully through 3/4 inch plywood.
- Not cutting the ridge vent in for proper ventilation – Many times when removing outdated box vents and installing Ridge vents instead, when installing a ridge vent for the first time you need to cut the plywood back away from the ridge beam. It needs at least an inch and a half opening for proper ventilation. This ventilation system only works in conjunction with vented soffits.
- Not nailing down seams on plywood – Once the shingles are removed, you can accidentally pull out the nails that were holding down the plywood. This can cause a seam to become loose and pop up. Which you will be able to see as a bump when the roof is finished. If you have lines that are protruding out of the shingles it means that somebody did not nail down the plywood properly.
- Not replacing plywood that is old or rotted – Plywood that is halfway rotted may look fine when a new roof is installed over it, but 5-10 years later it can start sagging in between the rafters. The roof can then look wavy on the bottoms of eaves that should have been replaced.
- Not installing ice and water under step flashing – In the winter when ice dams occur, water will back up under step flashing and leak if not protected by ice and water barrier. The step flashing is located at the wall to roof transitions.
- Not removing debris from roof before underlayment and shingles are applied – Sometimes leftover nails can be left on the deck creating a bump if the roof is installed over this. Later this can tear through the roof. We use a leaf blower to ensure that all debris is swept clear.
- Not protecting landscaping and yard furniture – Grills and umbrellas, patio furniture and landscaping need to be pulled away from the roof house. Tarps need to be pulled taut from the eave of the roof past landscaping so shingles can slide over without causing any damage.
- Nail pattern on shingles – When shingling you want to have an 8 to 10 inch space between the first and second nail, which allows the seam on the course above that shingle to not have a nail under the seam which would allow water to get in and rust out that nail.
- Scrimping on nails – Using too few nails or not nailing shingles in correctly can allow the shingles to slip down or blow away, leaving your roof exposed.
- Nail placement – Nails are supposed to be placed low on the shingle line, directly above the gussets. When the nails are placed low, they go through the course below them too. When the nails are too high, it misses the second course of shingles and allows shingles to be blown up easier. Shingle manufacturer guidelines should always be followed for where the nails need to be placed.
- Nailing too close to the valley – Nails are supposed to be a minimum of 8-12 inches from the valley. Some people nail right in the valley which will leak eventually.
- Insufficient contractor insurance – If the property was to be damaged during your roofing project or a worker was injured, the homeowner can be left with the bag if the contractor did not carry enough insurance to pay for the damages. A professional and well-respected roofing company will confirm that they are insured for the amount they claim.
- Hiring the wrong contractor – A huge mistake that a homeowner could make is hiring a cheap roofing contractor. Building a house comes with a lot of expenses. Therefore hiring the cheapest roofing contractors is a big mistake and can lead to poor quality work. Most of them would lack knowledge and experience in a high-quality roofing installation. Therefore, looking for a contractor with a well-respected reputation, valid license, warranties, insurance, and positive reviews from their past client is essential.
- Old Shingles being covered rather than being replaced – This is one of the largest corners that lower quality roofing companies will cut. The proper way to replace a portion or even the whole roof is to remove all of the old shingles and replace them with new ones. Especially when the shingles were completely damaged. When you are putting new shingles on top of old shingles you are only creating places for moisture and dirt to collect. This will lead to deterioration and damage more quickly than if it was done properly. Tearing off the old shingle layers also allows for proper inspection of the roof deck to ensure that there are no issues there that cannot be seen when covered.
- Leaving out the starter strip or applying it incorrectly – You would be risking water infiltration at the eaves and shingles from the first row can be blown off. Therefore, if you are missing the starter strip, sliding a new piece under the shingles would be your best bet. The starter strip should be secured with nails and glued with bituminous mastic.
- Improper installation of underlayment – This is another very common issue. Roofing underlayment is a layer of water-resistant or waterproof material that is installed directly onto your roof deck. Therefore it is applied under all other roofing materials as an added layer of protection.
- Inadequate ventilation – Roofer’s who don’t know what they are doing would usually neglect the attic and not realize that your attic has improper ventilation. When there isn’t proper attic ventilation, moisture can build up over time causing your roofing system to prematurely wear out, therefore, running your insulation, resulting in increased energy bills.
- Missing drip edge – Some roofers may not install a drip edge therefore, water drips behind your gutter system. Drip edge is a key component to any roof system. Drip edge is a metal flashing installed under the first row of shingles on a roof slope. Drip edge has a projecting lip which directs the flow of water into the gutter system. A drip edge allows any moisture to trickle down from the roof into the gutter system, so the roof is not soaked from standing water and other problems that can occur, such as rot, mold growth, stains, basement flooding, and foundation issues. Drip edge should be installed on the lower eave of your roofing system underneath the ice and water shield. The drip edge also provides an extra bonding edge for the ice and water membrane to adhere to.
- Inappropriate shingle overhang – Too much overhang will lead to the shingles blowing off in high winds; too little overhang and you will leave your roof exposed to water infiltration and leaks.
- Using materials inappropriate for the roof’s pitch – Materials that don’t match the slope of your roof leaves your home vulnerable to water infiltration. For example, a minimum slope of four units of rise per twelve units of run is recommended for asphalt, wood, or tile shingles and shakes.
So now you know what issues to look out for when you get a new roof. Always make sure you call in an experienced local roofing contractor for your roofing project. A new roof is not cheap, but trying to save money and cut corners will only cost you more in the long run. You must consider the lifetime cost of the roof and also the headaches caused when something goes wrong. Don’t risk your home on just a small saving now.
If you wish to book a roof consultation with a trusted local roofing contractor, call us today on 518-44-ROOF!
Visit our main website for more information: