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Avoid These Common Residential Roofing Mistakes

It’s easy to take the roof over our heads for granted—that is, until the roof over our heads needs to be replaced. It’s a big job and can be a good investment, but it can turn into a stress-inducing disaster if the job isn’t done well. You may be able to do the work yourself, but most people will need to seek help from residential roofing experts.

Finding someone who has decades of experience and pride in craftsmanship will help you avoid many of the potential problems that can occur while replacing a roof yourself or with a company that hasn’t had enough experience or training.

Starter Shingles Installed Incorrectly

Starter shingles go under the first row of shingles, and many people doing the job themselves might install these incorrectly or sometimes not at all. The starter shingles act as a barrier since the first row doesn’t have a shingle below it. The starter shingles are vital and protect from water that could invade the sheathing under the bottom shingles, and they’ll provide a straight line to cut shingles on.

Improper Material for the Slope

With a big variance in roof slopes and sometimes having multiple different slopes on one home, choosing a material that will protect the house properly is important. Differently angled slopes have different levels of water run-off. Choosing a material that doesn’t match the slope can leave that part of your roof a weak point and in danger of water damage.

Improper Use of Nails

Repairing a roof takes finesse. If too much pressure is applied, nails will be driven too far in and puncture the shingle mat. This could lead to weaker shingles that are susceptible to being torn off by the wind. If shingles aren’t nailed properly or have too few nails, shingles can slide out of position. There are many different ways to create problems when securing shingles with nails, and poor workmanship could potentially void your roofing warranty.

Insufficient or Improperly Installed Valley Metal

The roof valley is the part of the roof that is most likely to have a leak. This is where the water runoff flows, so the roof valley is hit the hardest with any water from rain or melting snow or ice. Therefore, a roof valley should have an ice and water shield installed, and/or a metal valley. If the metal flashing is either missing or not secured properly, the shield will have to be reinstalled and the roof re-shingled. Not securing material or using enough sealant can cause buckling and water leaks.

Sometimes the valley flashing can be installed incorrectly by amateur contractors or roofers. The flashing needs to be layered under the shingles, not on top of them. The U-shape of the metal should be facing the valley. Otherwise, water runoff might flow in a direction it shouldn’t and cause premature deterioration of the flashing or shingles.

Not Planning for Ice Dams

Not all homeowners need to plan ahead for this, but if you live in a cold climate, you know how much damage ice dams can cause. Without proper insulation, ice forms at the roofline and forces water under the shingles, creating a dam. By putting down an underlayer in the roof starting at the roofline and continuing for at least three feet, you will help add another layer of protection to avoid the damaging effects of melting ice water.

Not Allowing Ceilings or Attics to Vent

Not having adequate venting can cause major damage to your roof and roofing materials. Heat rises and hot air is full of moisture. That moisture causes condensation to build up and, over time, weaken the shingle material prematurely. When laying down shingles for your roof, it’s imperative that they are laid down to allow proper ventilation from your attic or ceilings.

Not Aligning Shingles Correctly

Laying the shingles improperly makes a poor roofing job easy to spot. If the shingles are misaligned, it just looks bad. If the butted joints aren’t on the same horizontal plane or if the cutout on three-tab shingles isn’t vertical, your roof won’t look aesthetically pleasing, and if the shingles have been improperly nailed, there’s potential for roof blow-off.

Incorrect Shingle Overhang

The shingles should overhang the eaves and the rakes by a minimum of an inch to an inch and a half. If drip edge flashing has been installed, then the edge of the shingle should hang over the roof between a half-inch and three-quarters of an inch. Too little overhang can allow water to seep into the fascia boards or into the rake boards. Too much overhang and there is potential for the shingles to blow off in high winds. An experienced roofer will ensure the correct placement of the shingles.

Incorrect Shingle Exposure

Shingle exposure is the uncovered part or exposed part of the shingle from the shingle placed above it. Not only will proper shingle exposure create a beautiful roof, but it will also provide optimal roof protection. There are many problems that can occur when laying shingles. If the shingles are layered too far apart, the exposure will be too wide, and there will be areas of the shingles that are now exposed to the elements that shouldn’t be. If the shingles are laid too close together, it can create an undesirable look and will waste materials. Moisture may also start collecting from water run-off if the shingle exposure is shortened and can also lead to them being blown off in high-speed winds.

It takes a lot of knowledge, training, and experience to complete a quality roof job that will last decades. Our residential roofing experts here at Interstate Roofing provide the highest quality roofing to homeowners. Interstate Roofing is proud to have earned the highest certification level and have more than 30 years of experience in roofing in the Portland and Vancouver areas. If you need help with roofing your home, we are happy to give you a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.

How to Shingle Around a Roof Vent

The shingles on your roof perform the all-important job of keeping rain, snow, and cold air from entering your house and causing damage. They also serve an aesthetic function, contributing greatly to the curb appeal of your home and having a dramatic effect upon its value. Of course, shingles are only able to perform these tasks if they’re installed correctly. If there are any flaws in the installation process, or if any of the shingles are lost or damaged, these can become weak points in your roof that can let the weather in, ultimately causing property damage inside your house.

Fortunately, installing and replacing shingles is a fairly easy task and one that you can usually perform yourself if you have the proper equipment. However, this task becomes dramatically more complicated as you attempt to work around certain features of the roof, such as the vents. If you’re willing to put the effort in, however, the job can still be done. Read on to learn a bit more about how to shingle around a roof vent:

Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Equipment

Working on a roof has a certain element of risk to it, which is why it’s important to have the correct equipment to perform the task. Do not attempt to begin the job if you don’t have all of the items on this list, since they are directly tied to the safety of the person doing the work.

You will need:

  • Sturdy, closed-toed work boots. Make sure these boots have excellent grip since you absolutely do not want to slip while performing the job.
  • Work gloves. Thick, solid gloves are best to avoid cuts and puncture wounds.
  • Eye protection. Such as safety glasses.
  • A roofing ladder. Not just any ladder will work here because you’ll be attempting to access the roof from certain awkward angles. A self-supported ladder usually won’t work here. You’ll need one with enough height to it that it can be secured to the edge of the roof itself. Roofing ladders are ideal, and roofers can stand on them while working.
  • Fall protection equipment. Don’t risk a fall. This is dangerous work.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Having the right tools for the job is also a must. If you don’t have the right tools, the installation process won’t work effectively, and the shingles around your roofing vent will likely leak. Before you begin planning the job, make sure you have:

  • Roofing nail gun. The job can technically be done with a hammer, but nail guns are a good deal faster. You will also need an air compressor to connect to the nail gun.
  • Roofing hammer. Even though you’ll be using the nail gun for the majority of the work, you’ll still need a hammer for certain parts of the job.
  • Shingle cutter. While a regular utility knife can certainly do the job, you’ll be better off if you purchase a knife specifically designed for cutting roof shingles.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Caulking gun. Sealing the shingles around the roof vent requires a caulking gun. Without one, you’ll find that your roof is prone to leaks. Get one that’s specifically designed for roofing shingles.

Setting Up for the Job

Before you begin, proper setup is key. Once you’ve ensured you have all the proper tools and safety equipment, make sure you have the right shingles for the job. They should match the other shingles on your roof and be of the best quality you can afford. It’s a good idea to have another person who can assist you with the job. They can help you to keep an eye out for safety concerns as well as give you a hand doing the job when you need it.

When choosing a spot to put your ladder, make sure the ground is level. If you place it on angled ground, it can wobble and could even fall. Make sure that you also set up the ladder at the correct angle. This means about a 1:4 ratio, or move the ladder one foot back for every four feet of height.

Attaching the Shingles

A key part of learning how to shingle around a roof vent is ensuring that the shingles are properly laid on top of one another. You’ll need to make sure this is done all the way up to the roof vent itself. Then you’ll prepare the shingles themselves.

Before connecting the shingles, you’ll lay down roofing felt. With your utility knife, cut a hole in the roofing felt as close to the exact shape of the roofing vent flashing as you possibly can. The shingles will need to be cut as well. Cut curved notches in the ones that touch the vent flashing. In this way, you’ll be able to place the shingles directly up to the vent flashing.

Use your caulking gun to glue the shingles down and then nail them directly to the roof with the nail gun. Double-check each shingle to ensure that it is securely fastened, with no bubbles or leaks.

After you have secured the shingles, you should place more roofing sealant around the vent itself. Then you can slide the vent pipe boot over the shingles, where the sealant will help hold it in place. A few more nails will prevent this boot from blowing away when the wind picks up.

Maintaining Your Roof for Years to Come

Even if you have performed the job perfectly, you’ll need to make sure the roof is regularly maintained. If it isn’t, eventually, damage will occur that can compromise the integrity of your roof and lead to costly repairs. Maintenance should be performed by a professional roofer from a licensed and established company such as Interstate Roofing. They’ll be able to extend the life of your roof for many years to come, as well as save you money on repairs by regularly performing preventative maintenance.