How to Determine if a Roof Was Poorly Installed

Your roofing system is an important component of your home. Apart from keeping the elements out, it also has a direct impact on property values. However, its life span is influenced not only by its capability to withstand the weather but also by the quality of its installation. A faulty roofing job can lead to significant damage to your home and can be too expensive to fix if not addressed promptly.  

If you’re unfortunate enough to have worked in an inexperienced roofing company before, you might soon notice workmanship errors at some point. The following are some of the most common indicators used by skilled roofers to determine whether your roof was poorly installed.

Uneven Appearance

Residential roofing systems must be installed to stringent manufacturer specifications. Once the job is complete, the roof should have a uniform appearance, with rows looking flat and even. You can tell just by looking at it that every part of the roof was laid down with utmost care. However, it is a sign of poor workmanship if the shingles in some sections look raised and bumpy. Get in touch with a local roofer as soon as possible. Leaving this unaddressed can lead to issues that might compromise the roof’s structural integrity.

You can also tell if you have an uneven roof surface if you see patches of shingles that are of a different color than the rest. This is what experts call a “rainbow” roof. It is likely that the shingles on one side aren’t aligned with the others on the opposite side. It might seem like an aesthetic concern, but it says a lot about the roofing installer’s skills and expertise. If you see something as simple as a color change in the shingles, it is still a reason to suspect whether your roof requires a redo.

Missing Shingles

A residential roofing system shouldn’t have empty patches on its surface that may indicate missing shingles. This only happens if the entire structure was exposed to severe weather or has been showing signs of deterioration and is approaching the end of its lifespan. However, if the roof is a newly-installed one and some of its shingles are already missing, it’s a sign that the contractor behind it did a poor installation job.

As soon as you notice some of those missing shingles either on the ground or in your gutters a few weeks or months after the installation, it’s best to inform another contractor to have your roof inspected. This way, you can have any problems fixed before issues like water leaks start to develop and diminish a year or so off the roof’s service life. Sometimes, it’s more sensible to have this done rather than wait for issues to worsen before taking action.

Hardware Blunders

There’s more to a system than just the asphalt shingles. Flashings and vents, for instance, should be properly installed so they can perform their intended function. The former protects vulnerable areas of the roof from moisture intrusion, while the latter promotes air circulation in the attic to ensure the roof’s longevity. An inexperienced contractor, however, often takes shortcuts when installing these other important components, with the roofing team leaving the roof with inadequate vents or improperly sealed flashings. Unfortunately, these errors can put the whole system in a bad condition over time, resulting in major damage and deterioration.

One hallmark of a substandard roofing job, however, involves the use – or misuse –  of nails. Roofing contractors are supposed to implement proper nailing techniques and make sure to know which type of nail goes best with a certain material. Some roofers, especially the amateur ones, commit nailing errors that prevent the shingles from protecting your home from the elements. Here are signs of badly installed nails. 

  • Overdriven nails: These cut into the shingles, minimizing their wind resistance.

  • Nails driven at an angle: Nails should be perfectly straight before they’re driven down into the shingle. Slanted nails can expose the roof to potential blow-offs.

  • Under-driven nails: These are when the nail “heads” jut out of the shingles. This can cause the roofing material to wear down over time, creating holes that may allow moisture to intrude and cause leaks.

  • Wrong nail placement: Many roofing manufacturers set standards on how many nails must be used per shingle and where to place them. Failing to follow either one can also lead to problems later on, increasing the shingles’ likelihood of being blown off during a severe storm.

How to Avoid Poor Roofing Workmanship

Having your poorly installed roof done anew is no small repair. Since it can be a significant investment, it is not uncommon for some homeowners to postpone the need to replace it for as long as possible. However, doing this promptly helps to preserve your home’s structural integrity. To make sure you get the roof you truly deserve, work with a team of roofers who has the skills, expertise and experience to ensure a proper roofing installation.

However, you must make sure that your choice is capable of meeting your needs. Here’s what you need to look for in a reputable roofer:

  • Check licensing and insurance. Never hire a roofing contractor who isn’t properly licensed and insured. Check these certifications before the contractors start working, and if they say they can’t show you these important credentials for any reason, look for another contractor.

  • Ask for references. Request references if you want to learn more about how the roofing contractor does their job. Get in touch with their previous customers, and ask them about their experience with the roofer.

  • Look up past projects. Check the website of the prospective roofing contractor for a gallery of their previous work. If there’s none available, you can ask them for a copy of their portfolio. Doing so will give you the idea of their experience and skill level.

  • Consider experience levels. Working with a contractor with at least 10 years of experience in the roofing industry allows you to get the exceptional results you’ve always wanted for your new roof.

Paddy’s is a family-owned and -operated business that provides top-notch home improvement services to local customers. Whether you need to replace your roof or install chimneys, you can count on our team to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. We also make sure that you’re not only happy with the job but also have a full understanding of how the entire process went.

To get started, give us a call at (302) 388-3625, or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate.

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