A roof installation is a big project for residential homeowners. Whether you’re replacing the roof on an existing home or in the process of new construction, proper roof installation will ensure it offers the lifespan and leak protection you desire. As a homeowner, nothing is more frustrating than spending money to replace your roof and to find out, usually by a sudden roof leak, that your original contractor didn’t appropriately install the roof in the first place.
Signature Exteriors, located in Charlotte, takes proper roof installation seriously. We think it’s essential to provide good roofing resources to homeowners so they can feel confident in the quality of their new roof after the installation or replacement. This guide will explain why proper roof installation is essential, the roofing materials your new roof needs, and the warning signs of an improperly installed roof.
Read on to learn more!
Why a Proper Roof Install is Important
We believe roof installation or replacement day is the most impactful and important day for a new roof. A roof installation lays the foundation for your roof’s performance and longevity over time. Installing a new roof will cost you time and money, so you must know how to check if your roofing contractor did it correctly.
A properly installed roof includes the right roofing materials and accessories and is installed using the correct roofing techniques outlined by the material manufacturer. Roofing materials, like shingles, have specific installation requirements, and your roofing contractor needs to be well-versed in that information. If a contractor does a poor job installing or replacing the roof, it will void the warranties provided by the shingle manufacturers.
You can download the shingle installation instructions directly from the shingle manufacturer you select. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the proper roof installation requirements.
How to Install a Roof Properly
If you aren’t familiar with roof replacements, you will be surprised to learn how many different roofing materials are required to complete a proper roof installation. We’ve broken down the roof installation process step-by-step below:
- Wood decking: The first roofing material installed on a roof is plywood, also known as wood decking or OSB (oriented strand board), to which all other roofing materials are attached. The wood decking is the foundation that holds your roof together. You won’t see the wood decking outside after the roof installation is complete. Your contractor must use completely dry OSB boards and replace existing boards that show water exposure or delamination before the underlayment is applied. Typically, not all wood decking will require replacement in a residential roof replacement. Roofing contractors will only install new wood decking in areas where the existing decking is compromised.
- Drip Edge: A drip edge is an L-shaped strip, usually made of metal, installed along roof edges to help control water flow away from the fascia board and protect the wood decking underneath. Including a drip edge in a roof installation is considered a proper technique. Most building codes across North America include this to protect residential homes from water damage.
- Ice & Water Shield: We recommend installing an ice & water shield on your roof’s valleys, slopes, transitions, and around any roof penetration (like vents and chimneys) to ensure your roof is ready for winter. Ice and water shield, or ice and water barrier, is a waterproof roof underlayment membrane explicitly developed to protect these vulnerable areas where most roof leaks occur. This product does not need to be installed over the entirety of your roof.
- Roofing Felt: This roofing material is a sheet of asphalt-saturated material (often called tar paper) applied on top of the wood decking. Signature Exteriors recommends using synthetic felt for a superior installation. It typically doesn’t tear and is suitable for extended UV and moisture exposure in some cases, which is especially helpful if there’s a bit of lead time before your roof covering is installed. The felt serves as an additional layer of protection to the wood decking and prevents water damage. Our favorite brands include Owens Corning ProArmor Synthetic Roof Underlayment or RhinoRoof Underlayment and are available at local stores such as Home Depot.
- Starter Shingles: Starter shingles are installed along the eaves and rakes edges of your roof. This material is an integral part of a properly installed roof and is used to ensure an efficient, water-shedding roof. Starter shingles are manufactured with their sealant installed, making them less likely to lift in high winds. Starter shingles will increase the wind resistance of the roof.
- Field Shingles: Most commonly known as asphalt shingles, field shingles are the first line of defense against weather and water intrusion. We mentioned earlier that shingle manufacturers have specific installation guidelines to ensure their material functions properly. For example, a proper shingle installation should overhang the exterior of the drip edge by ¼ – ¾ inches.
Once you decide on what shingle type you would like to have installed, both you and your roofing contractor should review in detail the manufacturer’s requirements. A sign of a good roofing company is that their team will already have this information readily available for you! You can visit the shingle manufacturer’s website for more details or ask your roofing contractor directly for this information.
Signs Of An Improperly Installed Roof
Improper roof installations result from poor workmanship, poor attic ventilation, and more. Some of the most common signs that your contractor didn’t install the roof properly include uneven appearance, new roof leaks, or uneven nailing patterns.
Uneven shingle appearance is one of the easiest ways to spot an improperly installed roof. Shingle alignment and how uniformly they lay on your roof reflect how well the roofing company installed the shingles. Uneven, wavy, or bumpy shingles look wrong and leave your roof vulnerable to leaks. A raised shingle appearance can occur initially if your roof installation is performed during the colder months of the year. Shingles are a relatively flexible material and, if installed in colder weather, can be stiff against your roof until the temperature warms up and allows them to settle.
Improper nailing patterns are another common sign of poor installation. An experienced roofing contractor will not leave your new roof with overdriven nails, low nails, or high nailing. The best roofing companies will have a project manager on-site for the roof installation to ensure their team is applying nails ½” above the cut-out and also 1″ to 1 ½” from the edge of the shingles and driven to the appropriate depth and angle. Additionally, the roofing company should review the nail patterns during the installation and perform a final inspection at completion.
Post roof replacement, keep an eye out for any signs of water intrusion, shifted shingles, or the sound of water dripping in your attic. A roof installation is a big project, and if mistakes were made during the replacement, you’d want to figure that out and report it as soon as possible. If you have any issues with your roof installation, call your contractor back out for an evaluation.
Do You Need a Roof Installed in Charlotte?
If you are interested in getting a roof installed and you live in the Charlotte, NC area, contact Signature Exteriors today to set up a free consultation. Our roofing team is a certified installer of all shingle types, such as Owens Corning, GAF, IKO, Tamko, and Certainteed, and we ensure our roof installations are done right!
If you aren’t in Charlotte but are looking for a roofing contractor near you, check out our other guide on finding a quality roofing company to assist with your project. We hope this guide has given you information on the importance of a properly installed roof and ensuring your project is done right the first time.