Toeboard Damage: A Common Mistake Made During Roof Installations

January 19, 2015

When a little roofing aid causes big problems.

Toe board damage is a common roof installation oversight. Unless you’re in the roofing business, we’re betting that you’ve never heard of a toe board. That’s okay: most Americans have no idea what these roofing aids are. Although they’re integral to the roof installation and repair processes, they’re typically removed after the completion of a project. If a careless roofer fails to remove a toe board properly, however, it can cause substantial damage that negates the work done during the project itself.

What Is a Toe board?

Non-experts might benefit from a fuller explanation of the toe board concept. Basically, toe boards are rudimentary safety devices that allow roofers to move quickly and safely around a steep roof. In one form or another, toe boards are required by OSHA and are regular fixtures in the roofing industry. They’re typically comprised of two-by-four wooden blocks that have been nailed to the shingles or structural supports of a pitched roof. Workers step on them to avoid contact with smooth, possibly slippery shingle, tile, or metal surfaces.

Although a number of alternatives exist, traditional toe boards remain ubiquitous at roofing job sites due to their low cost, sturdiness, functionality, and proven track record.

Common Toe board Mistakes

Roofing professionals make a number of common mistakes with toe boards:

  • Using large-gauge nails whose holes can’t be filled to satisfaction
  • Placing them in a manner that peels back or rips up newly installed shingles
  • Removing nails quickly or carelessly, widening the size of the nail hole
  • Failing to fill in the nail holes with high-grade roof cement
  • Leaving toe boards in place altogether

These mistakes are much more common among novice roofers and those rushing from one job to the next. As such, it’s critical to work with a roofing company that gives customers its undivided attention and conducts business in detail-oriented fashion.

Potential Damage From Improperly Removed Toe boards

Improperly removed toe boards can result in a host of problems for newly installed roofs. Over time, unsealed holes can widen, allowing water to drip into the interior of the home. Although holes sealed with low-grade caulk may hold up for a few seasons, they tend to deteriorate over time as well. In the worst cases, holes may become big enough for animals to enter.

Learn More About Roof Installation and Roof Replacement in Portland, OR

As you can see, toe boards are no laughing matter. Fortunately, highly trained roofers rarely make the mistake of removing toe boards in a manner that can cause significant damage. If you’re looking to have your roof repaired or replaced by a group of consummate professionals who know how to do the job right, give us a call at503-684-5611 or fill out our free estimate request form to learn more.