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Common Shingle Roof Installation Mistakes To Avoid

February 25, 2016
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Do you need to install new shingles on your roof? Whether you plan to do it yourself or to hire a roofing contractor, proper roof installation is essential to avoiding future problems, such as future roof leaks. All forms of roofing systems are susceptible to wear and tear over the years and asphalt shingle roofs are no different. It is therefore critical that you make sure you know the following steps before you install your shingle roofing system so that you are best prepared to do so without making any mistakes.

In order to assist you in installing a new shingle roofing system, here are some very common mistakes you should definitely avoid:

#1 Not Removing Old Shingles

Not removing the old shingles is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Certainly the price of a “layover” is less than a full tearoff of all old layers, but if you pile up new shingles on top of your old existing roof shingles, you add excessive weight to the structure of your house as well as cause moisture to build up between shingle layers. This will adversely affect the life of your new shingles, as well as even cause leakage issues. Most importantly, not removing the old shingles will almost certainly void any shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

Although removing old shingles may involve more work, its benefits outweigh the costs. Make sure to remove all layers of existing shingles before installing a new asphalt shingle roof. One of the most important benefits of a full tearoff before installing new shingles is that you are enabled to inspect the roof wood deck for rotted wood, which you can then replace before installing the shingles.

#2 Improper Shingle Nailing

Improper nailing of shingles is one of the most common installation errors of an inexperienced roofer. If a shingle is “high-nailed” that means the roofer installed the nail above the shingle’s nailing strip, which is the self-sealing strip on the shingle designed by the manufacturer. If a shingle is “high-nailed” above that strip, the nail will not seal, and the shingle may easily blow off in high winds and cause a leak.

Correct nailing according to NY Housing Code and shingle manufacturer requirements is 6 nails per shingle. These nails must hit the nailing strip directly and be driven straight into the wood deck. Fewer nails may lead to shingle blowoff and too many may cause a leak.

#3 Reusing Old Metal Flashing

Reusing old aluminum or copper flashing may be easier, less time consuming, and therefore less costly in terms of both labor and material, but will almost certainly result in a leak. A roof, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, a professional roof installer should not reuse old flashing. Whether the flashing is around a roof’s chimney, skylight, or dormer, damaged flashing can contribute to water infiltration resulting in a leak. It is always better to install new flashing, with necessary sealants.

#4 Not Installing a Proper Starter Strip

Many roofers prefer to use regular shingles as a “starter strip”, which is the very first beginning course of shingles that are installed. However, as an anchor for the rest of the shingles installed after it, the starter strip is the critical first step in a proper roof installation. Many manufacturers such as GAF Building Products make professional starter strip shingles, such as GAF’s Pro-Start Starter Strip shingles. These allow the remainder of the shingles to essentially “lock” into the starter strip, creating a “zip-lock” effect on all the shingles of the roof. In addition, almost all manufacturers bump up the wind resistance on the warranty to 130 mph winds, if you do install the correct starter strip shingles, which means the roof is now under warranty even after a category 5 hurricane!

#5 Cheap Underlayment Material

Wrong or cheap underlayment material can lead to a host of issues, such as water leakage. Old 15 lb. felt paper is the way roofs are often still done to this day. However, synthetic underlayment materials are now available on the market that are rip and tear resistant. Old-school 15 lb. or 30 lb. felt paper can easily tear, even during the actual installation of the shingles as the roofers are walking on the roof! Therefore, installing a quality waterproof underlayment is a critical step before installing roof shingles to help prevent water infiltration as a plan-B if the shingles fail.

#6 Not Hiring a Professional Roofing Contractor

One of the most costly mistakes you can make as a home owner is not hiring a professional roofing contractor to complete your shingle roof installation. Many contractors masquerade as roofing experts, while also doing kitchens, bathrooms, and interior sheetrock work. The contractor you hire should be a professional company that specializes in roofing. A jack of all trades, as the saying goes, is a master of none. By comparison, roofing contractors are licensed individuals who specialize in the installation, repair and replacement of shingle roofing systems. They have the experience needed with all types of shingles as well as the necessary insurance and workers compensation required to protect you during the installation. They also know to avoid the mistakes listed in this article, and that can help save you the unneeded aggravation as well as thousands of dollars in costly reroofing repairs in the future.

As one of the best roofing companies in New York City, at NY Roofing we offer professional asphalt shingle roofing services at the most competitive pricing. Our team of expert roofers are available 24/7 in case of an emergency. Call (646)-838-0441

Royal Renovators Inc is Fully Licensed and Insured, with Offices Throughout the NYC Area.
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553 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215

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