The Most Common Roofing Installation Errors

Googling “roofing installation errors” returns millions of results. Here are the most common errors roofers make, what homeowners can look for, and when it’s time to call the professionals.

There are two big problems homeowners face when it comes to assessing the quality of craftsmanship invested in their roof. Firstly, they tend to trust that the company they hire knows what it’s doing. Secondly, it’s not exactly easy to get up there with a magnifying glass once the job is done. As such, good faith is often misplaced, and a roof’s inaccessibility means problems go unnoticed.

In many cases a first-rate roofing job is solely the roofer’s responsibility. Unfortunately, it’s all too common that the only thing they’re responsible for is more problems down the line. I’ve assembled a list of the most common installation errors to help you spot them from the beginning.

They ignored ice dams in gutters

Caused by backed-up ice in gutters, ice dams can cause more problems. Overspill becomes icicles, which pose a danger to anyone beneath them, and the weight of trapped ice can pull gutters away from a roof entirely. Not least of the risks is when freezing water starts to seep through cracks in the roof – or even cause them – entering your home and leading to moisture, mold and other damage.

Defending roofs against ice dams is a simple matter of adding insulating layers that cover enough of the roof’s gutter-adjacent underside, yet it’s a common-sense step roofers frequently forget. A few feet of extra insulation are typically enough to absorb any water trying to get through. My previous blog goes in-depth on how homeowners can cold-proof their gutters, and I recommend doing this well before winter hits.

They just didn’t nail it

There’s a reason why “nailing” a job means getting it done right. There’s a minimum number of nails required to firmly secure shingles to roofs, and that number goes up depending on the steepness of the gradient. It’s some simple physics a lot of roofers don’t calculate correctly.

From there, poorly driven nails can sit either too shallowly or too deeply. The first problem increases the risk of the shingle loosening, while the second can be so rough it cracks or weakens the shingle, making it more vulnerable to the elements. Such weak or heavy-handed work can also void a roof’s warranty, potentially becoming a huge financial burden for the homeowner.

Nails can’t just be driven in anywhere, either – there’s a safe zone on the shingle’s surface for best-positioning. Done right, this doubles the number of nails in a shingle and strengthens its security. Nailing too high or too low are common errors that can compromise the integrity of the entire surface.

They failed at flashing

Flashing is the term roofers use for materials added to vulnerable gaps in your roof. These are always there, typically around chimneys, skylights, vents and other slim areas where water can find its way in. Flashing materials seal the joints where these features meet the roof to redirect water safely away. Or at least, it should.

The various types of flashing must be literally watertight. If the flashing is not secure enough, not only will it let water leak in through the roof, but it will also be ripped clean off in the first strong wind. Alternatively, it can catch every breeze that passes, gaping ever wider in the process.

Sometimes poor nailing practice can punch damaging holes in flashing. This might be efficiently remedied by caulking if it’s spotted quickly, but unless homeowners climb up there to investigate (which I don’t recommend), those little holes will be left to become big problems.

They’re very bad at venting

Laying a roof is a delicately balanced task. On one hand, it must stand firm against the elements. On the other, it must have room to breathe. Failure to allow attics or ceiling to properly vent can lead to worse things than roof damage. The health of the homeowners is at risk. Allergies, breathing problems and even carbon monoxide poisoning can all result from a roof with improper ventilation.

I highlighted this dangerous situation in an earlier blog. I also outlined what good ventilation looks like and what a vital role roofing plays in protecting the property and the people within it. 

Make mistakes a memory with Blue Nail

All the issues I covered here are good reasons to give your job to an experienced roofer. For more information, try my previous entry on learning how to spot a good roofer before granting access to your home. The Blue Nail team understands that’s a privileged position, which is why we make craftsmanship and passion a priority for our many customers. Get in touch at the link below for roofing you can really count on. 

Working with Blue Nail Roofing means coming home to craftsmanship. From first call to final inspection, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure you benefit from our experience. For more information or a free consultation, drop by our contact page  or call 973-937-8876.

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