How to Spot an Improperly Installed Roof & How To Avoid It

May 24, 2021Knowledge Centre, Roof Inspections

When it comes to home improvement, projects can have a wide variety of sizes, and a roofing project is one of the most extensive jobs you can get done. A roof installation in a none extreme environment can last upwards of two decades if installed correctly. The problems with your roof lasting long first come from roofing contractors installing roofs incorrectly.

We will look into how to spot an improperly installed roof, what you should do about it and ways you can avoid getting into a situation in the first place.

Here Are Seven Things To Look Out for on an Improperly Installed Roof.

If you’re reading this because you googled ways to spot a lousy roof installation, it properly means something didn’t look right. Well, a roof not installed correctly is easy to spot in some cases.

1: Roofing Install Is Not Uniform

Symmetry is essential to the aesthetic of any roof. When Installing Shingles or shakes, they should align with the roof’s angles and be evenly applied.

Sometimes a quick look will reveal that the shingles have been installed improperly. Some common occurrences are when shingles from one side don’t evenly align to the other side. Sometimes slight differences are visible on a repaired roof; however, a new roof should have even colouring, and even repairs should not be overly noticeable.


2: Drip Edges Are Missing

First, what is a drip edge?

A drip edge is metal sheets generally in the shape of an L that serve a vital function of moving water away from the fascia and towards the gutter system.

When drip edges aren’t installed, water can slowly penetrate your foundation and lead to staining, mildew or/and even rotting. When this happens, you can have improper drainage that eventually leads into the basement.

So how do you spot if Drip Edges are missing?

First, you need to look at the roof from a vantage point that’s above the gutters, ideally from a ladder (If you are not comfortable, please contact us, and we can do an inspection). You should see a thin strip of metal trim across the edge just below the shingles and above the gutter when looking at the edge.

Roofer applying underlay on a new roof in calgary

3: Missing Underlayment

The easiest way to know you need a new roof is when the underlayment has failed. Often when a leak does occur, underlayment is the culprit.

What is underlayment?

Underlayment is a protective barrier that is applied before your shingles are put on top. This layer protects against water damage by allowing water out that would otherwise permeate through the structure.

Detecting problems.

Unfortunately, you can have leaks only shortly after a new roof has been installed due to the underlayment not being applied correctly or, in some cases, not at all.

Checking if you have underlayment or if it needs to be replaced is unfortunately done the hard way when a problem occurs. If you are unsure or know your roof lifespan is at its end, give us a call to check out your underlayment.

4: Black Stains On a Roof

If you start seeing these black stains on your roof illustrated in the picture, then it’s time that your roof needs some serious repair. This is often unskilled workmanship and improper installation if this occurs before the end of a roof’s life expectancy.

Possible causes can be missing underlayment, drip edges or damaged shingles.

Image showing improper nailing and how to properly fasten shingles to a roof.

5: Having the Right Faster Installed Correctly (Roofing Nails)

Having a suitable fastener for the job is vital. Many factors such as climate and environment may decide what fastener is used. Not only the typ4e but application is also crucial.

When they are not adequately spaced, roofing problems can occur, even parts of the roofing system falling off. Here is a quick look and potential flaws in fasteners, although more often, a close inspection on the roof is needed unless a piece of your roof has already fallen off.

6: Missing shingles

This one is pretty obvious, as having a part of your roof missing is bad news. If this happens shortly after an installation, contact us, as other roofing issues are more likely present.

Simply put, there is no excuse for missing shingles on a freshly installed roof.

7: Plumbing Pipe Problems (Ventilation)

Your roof has a vent that is for your plumping, and it allows gasses to escape. This system is critical for things like flushing the toilet. This pipe goes through your attic, and any ill-fitting or improperly installed piping may lead to problems with your insulation.

Unskilled roofers might damage this pipe resulting in toxic vapour in your attic. Damage can then occur slowly with the roof deck and may even cause moisture issues and seep into the floors below.

If you have access to your attic, you can have a quick look for moisture issues; however, make sure to do this on cold days. We encourage you to read about other ventilation issues that can happen in winter.

How To Avoid An Improperly Installed Roof?

Although I don’t want to discourage DIY enthusiasts from tackling a roof, I suggest that you start on a simple structure such as a shed or a dog house to practice your skills. When it comes to your home, it’s time to hire professionals.

A Roof protects everything inside and all the skilled workmanship that electricians, plumbers and other general contractors have completed. A good roof is the first line of defence against these problems, and thus an improperly installed roof can cost you alot of money.

When looking for a roofing contractor, make sure they have references and check their reviews.

Also, look for a roofing contractor that wont give you a low-ball estimate just to get the job. This often means corners are going to be cut with any of the above issues occurring.

Look for a knowledgeable roofer that will explain the work and the process. We also encourage using photos to show problems and the resulting fixes done on the areas.

If you are looking for an inspection or need a new roofing system, contact us!

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