Blog

Roofing No Nos: 16 Mistakes to Watch For


August 31, 2020

When you’ve been in the roofing business for decades, as we have, you see a lot. From a minor mistake to a major blunder, we’ve seen just about everything over the years on jobsites and inspections. Because a roof is such an important part of your home, our experienced roofers know that what shouldn’t be done is often as important as what should be done.

Many times, the roofing mistakes we find are due to a well-meaning DIYer who simply doesn’t know all it takes for a proper roof installation. Roofing is a job best left to the pros. If you think your roof has any of these common mistakes, contact us for a free inspection.

16 Common Roofing Mistakes

  1. No starter shingles (or incorrectly used starter shingles): The manufacturer’s starter shingle ensures the first shingle installed seals down, so the shingles can protect your roof as designed.
  2. Improperly matched materials to roof slope: The correct roofing materials—based on your roof’s slope and pitch—are required, along with the correct application, for the shingles to do their job.
  3. Incorrect roofing nails: Using the wrong nails can shorten your roof’s life and possibly void insurance claims—a bad combination.
  4. Improperly installed valley flashing: Valley flashing is crucial to dealing with water runoff. Improper installation can lead to roof issues and damage.
  5. No plan for ice dams: Especially in Michigan, planning for cold-weather problems is essential to eliminate them before they happen.
  6. Improper ceiling or attic venting: If air can’t vent properly from your home, excessive heat will get trapped in the attic space, shortening the lifespan of your shingles.
  7. Misaligned shingles: Shingles oriented the wrong way (or multiple ways) are bad for the health and the look of the roof.
  8. Incorrect shingle exposure: Appropriate exposure prevents your shingles from collecting moisture or blowing off in high winds.
  9. Mismatched shingles: Buying shingles from multiple places can lead to bad aesthetics. Using the same roofing shingles from the same supplier prevents this issue and maintains the warranty.
  10. Layering shingles: If the original layer of shingles isn’t removed, proper underlayment cannot be done. Other issues, such as structural damage, may also go unnoticed. For a quality roofing job, don’t install new shingles over existing ones.
  11. No (or reused) drip-edge flashing: Drip-edge flashing is crucial to your roofing system. It serves as the transition from your shingles to the edge of your eaves, which is important for appropriate water runoff.
  12. Improperly installed underlayment: Done correctly, underlayment on your roof deck is another layer protection against the weather, which is especially important with the changing seasons in Michigan.
  13. Improper gutter installation: If gutters are not installed correctly, they can do the opposite of what they’re supposed to do and actually back up water onto the roof, causing potential damage to the roof deck.
  14. Ignored manufacturer’s guidelines: The manufacturer knows their roofing system. If that’s not enough, consider: failing to abide by the manufacturer’s guidelines will usually void the warranty.
  15. No permits: Ignoring the permit could get you fined by the city or even lead to your insurance company refusing to cover it.
  16. Insufficient roofing contractor insurance: As the homeowner, if your roofers are not properly insured, you might be responsible for any costs associated with injuries or damages during the roofing installation.

Many of these mistakes are simply caused by a lack of knowledge or experience, which is why it’s best to trust an experienced, appropriately insured professional roofer with such an important job.

A free inspection from West Michigan Roofing can help you determine if any of these mistakes have been made on your roof and what we can do to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.