5 Common Roofing Errors

By GAF Roof Views 03-09-2015
Tag Icon

Roofing errors happen, but they can be avoided by learning from mistakes, understanding the trouble spots, having some common sense, and utilizing an aesthetic touch in installation. Through years of conducting roofing training and sharing information with roofing inspectors and architects around the country, we have concluded that many roof problems come from relatively few (and consistently repeated!) errors. Courtesy of an acknowledged "Maestro" of the roofing world, Erasmo "Mitos" Fuentes, GAF CARE Team Training Lead, here are 5 of the most glaring errors from our list of common roof installation mistakes — and how to avoid them:

  1. Installing the wrong roofing materials on a low-slope roof. Although the majority of residential roofs are steep, it is very common to find areas with little or no pitch. If the roof has no slope, a contractor needs to create one. If the roof has a low slope, make sure you use the correct materials designed for this particular type of installation. When shingles are not an option, understand how to use low-slope materials, such as self-adhered SBS or TPO systems.
  2. Lack of metal drip edge. The lack of installation or incorrect installation of this component can cause serious problems, including premature damage to the deck and fascia from wind-driven rain, general roof aesthetic issues, an opening for animals and/or insects to enter the attic, and more. Make sure you cover the perimeter with a metal drip edge.
  3. Starter strip problems. The absence or incorrect installation of the starter strip shingles can bring about aesthetic issues at the eaves and rakes, along with the potential for weather infiltration and/or shingle blow-off. It's very important to use the correct starter strip for the shingle being installed — and understand how to properly install it.
  4. No leak barrier. The installation of self-adhering leak barrier is definitely necessary. It provides extra protection in vulnerable areas that experience large amounts of ice-damming and/or water, or where significant protrusions penetrate the roof deck. The areas of the roof in which we recommend the installation of leak barriers are valleys, vertical walls, and features around accessories — such as vents, eaves, chimneys, and skylights. Please note that this recommendation may also vary depending on the region of the country in which you live.
  5. Nailing problems. When an installer does not know the amount of fasteners needed per shingle or their placement on the shingle, it can cause catastrophic problems. We find mistakes in the form of exposed nails (AKA "shiners"), as well as underdriven, overdriven, and high nails.

The best way to avoid making these roofing errors is by properly following the installation instructions and updating your knowledge by attending training seminars, lectures, and webinars. You can also reach out to your trusted roofing manufacturer for help when needed, and you can find your local GAF Territory Manager for assistance here.

More homes and businesses in the U.S. are protected by a GAF roof than by any other product. We are the leading roofing manufacturer in North America, with plants strategically located across the U.S. As a Standard Industries company, GAF is part of the largest roofing and waterproofing business in the world.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
You can change the world by helping your neighbor, and the folks at JF Lopez Roofing are living proof. In partnership with the GAF Habitat for Humanity Contractor program, the company — based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin — pledged what it calls the Legacy 100: the goal of installing 100 roofs on Habitat for Humanity homes over 10 years. With roof number 55 completed by the close of 2022 and more slated for 2023, these roofing heroes are already more than halfway there.
Ventilation is defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as "the exchange of indoor and outdoor air." This sounds simple enough, but if your home's attic is not properly ventilated, excess heat and moisture cannot escape and can lead to a plethora of concerns for your home, your roof, and your wallet.
Think that your roof doesn't need protection against hail? Think again. Severe hail events are increasing in geographic footprint and are no longer just in hail alley. The geographic region that experiences 1 inch or larger hailstones has expanded to be nearly two-thirds of the United States. Nearly 10 percent more U.S. properties, more than 6.8 million, were affected by hail in 2021 than in 2020. Coinciding with the increase in properties affected by a damaging hail event in 2021, there was also an increase in insurance claims, which rose to $16.5 billion from $14.2 billion in 2020.
To get a firsthand account of what it's like to be a roofer, GAF spoke with Trenton Wisecup, president of Arrow Roofing Services in Michigan, and David Laurain, Arrow Roofing's vice president, to learn about their experiences in the roofing industry.
Historically, commercial skylights have gotten a bad rap. "The old joke was: 'if it's not leaking now, it will be soon,'" says Brian Grohe, a 13-year vet of the skylight industry and a commercial sales manager at industry leader VELUX. Fortunately, technology has changed that old tune for the better, turning commercial skylights into a golden opportunity for roofing contractors.
Around the globe, excess heat collects in urban areas and can contribute to increased heat-related death and illness, diminished quality of life, and reduced economic opportunities. Such areas are known as "urban heat islands." Fortunately, cooling strategies are now available and being used in initiatives like the GAF Cool Community project to help mitigate urban heat island effects. Such cooling strategies are supported by products such as such as GAF StreetBond® pavement coatings with Invisible Shade™ — named by TIME magazine as one of its Best Inventions of 2022.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.