No other part of your home gets as direct a beating as your roof. Your roof is the number one recipient of rain, sun, snow, and hail. Falling debris from Atlanta’s regular windstorms will affect your roof more than any other part of your home. With all that your roof has to stand up to, it is crucial that you have a quality roof installed by trained and experienced professionals. The last thing you want to deal with is roofing mistakes from a second-rate contractor.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of roofers out there who don’t know how or don’t care to install your roof properly. If you notice your roofing contractor making any of these roofing mistakes, it’s time to find a new roofer. Of course, you may not be able to keep an eye on everything your roofer does, so ask questions. If a roofer knows that you are an informed customer, they will be more likely to take the time to install your roof properly. Or, if you just want peace of mind, start with a roofer you can trust. Eagle Watch Roofing uses only the most skilled and experienced roofers who do a great job every time.

Top 10 Roofing Mistakes to Avoid [infographic]

Common Roofing Mistakes

There’s a lot that can go wrong with a roof. And as with any home improvement job, if it’s not done correctly, repairing or replacing a roof can do more harm than good. So how do you make sure that you are getting the best service and the best quality work? First, know a little bit about your roof and common roofing mistakes. It’s kind of like going to the mechanic. If you tell them that your car is making a “clackety clackety” every time you drive up a hill, they know you’re pretty uneducated. Even an honest mechanic might feel less inclined to keep you fully informed. But if you come in and have a pretty good idea of what the problem is, or at least what the symptoms are, you are more likely to get a full appraisal of your issue.

When it comes to roofing, most homeowners are incredibly ignorant of what goes on over their heads. This leaves a lot of room for a roofer to do whatever they like and tell you whatever they want. Even an honest roofer won’t go into much detail if they know you’re clueless. So knowing some of the top roofing mistakes doesn’t just let you recognize a scam. It makes you an educated consumer who can engage with their roofer.

1. Not Using the Right Shingles for Hips and Ridges

Your roof is the part of your home that takes the most abuse from weather. The hips and ridges are the parts of your roof that take the most abuse. They experience the highest wind speeds and are the most open to the elements at all times. To deal with this, roofing manufacturers supply specialty shingles for hips and ridges that are thicker and more durable than regular shingles. If your roofer neglects to install them, your roof could start to leak much sooner than it would normally.

2. Installing Flashing Incorrectly

Flashing is critical to the performance of your roof. Flashing is usually made of sheet metal and is installed in valleys where two slopes meet. It is also installed where a roof slope meets siding, like around a dormer. Chimneys or other types of masonry also require sealing with flashing. If the flashing is installed wrong, it won’t protect these vulnerable areas. That can lead to leaks and damage to the lower sections of your roof and even your attic.

3. Leaving out the Cricket Over a Chimney

As water pours down the slope of a roof, it can accumulate behind a chimney. To avoid accumulation, your roofer should install a cricket. A cricket is a small V-shaped ridge that directs water around the chimney. Leaving out the cricket puts extra stress on the seam between the chimney and the roof. This roofing mistake results in a higher risk of leakage.

4. Installing the Starter Course Incorrectly

The starter course is the first row of shingles at the edge of your roof. The edge of your roof is an area with a heightened risk of leaking. To keep water from penetrating, a starter course should be double-layered. The shingles should be staggered to help keep water out. As with most other roofing mistakes, an improperly installed starter course creates the risk of water leakage.

5. Attaching the Shingles Improperly

The most important part of installing a roof is making sure that the shingles are securely fastened. But just keep them in place is only part of the job. Shingles have to be attached to the roof deck in a way that avoids the potential for future damage. If you are using asphalt shingle, you are dealing with a material that is somewhat soft and prone to tearing. When installed properly, asphalt shingles shouldn’t rip for a very long time, if at all. But a sloppy roofer can significantly increase the risk of tears with some simple roofing mistakes.

One roofing mistake that can lead to shingle tears is nailing the shingles down incorrectly. First, you need to use the right kind of nails. The nails need to have an adequately sized cap to stay in place. Also, the pressure on the roofer’s nail gun needs to be appropriately set. If the nail gun pressure is set too high, it can rip through the shingle. Nails also have to go in perpendicular to the shingle. A sloppy or overly hurried roofer can install slanted nails, which are more prone to tearing than if they were angled correctly.

6. Not Enough Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation is crucial to keeping your roof healthy, and inadequate ventialtion is a common roofing mistake. If an attic builds up too much heat or moisture, it can damage the underside of your roof. Unfortunately, many older homes were not built with enough ventilation. When a roofer repairs or replaces your roof, make sure to ask them about ventilation. Current building codes recommend one square foot of vent space per 150 square feet of attic floor. The total square footage of vent space should be split evenly between intake and exhaust venting. An experienced roofer should be able to tell you if your ventilation is adequate. If it is not, installing better ventilation can save your roof from premature aging.

7. Not Enough Attic Insulation

Insulating your attic can significantly reduce the effect that outside temperatures have on your home. You would never neglect insulating the walls of your home. So why neglect insulating the roof? Installing insulation in the attic will prevent the transfer of heat or cold from the outside into the climate-controlled area of your home. It can also keep the attic from becoming overheated in the summer. If your attic starts to heat up too much, it can cause warping and other damage to your roof deck. Roof deck damage is expensive to repair because it requires removing the roof above it. This is one roofing mistake you really can’t ignore.

8. Mismatched Shingles

There are a few different types of shingles involved in a full roof replacement. Most of your roof uses standard shingles. But some areas, like the ridges and hips, need specialized shingles. In most cases, once you’ve selected a roofing type and style, your roofer will do the ordering. But roofing can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you want a cohesive, even appearance, make sure your roofer orders all the shingles from the same manufacturer.

If you are doing repairs to just a portion of your roof, finding matching shingles can be tough. Whatever shingles are on the rest of the roof have gone through significant weathering. So even if you got the same shingles from the same manufacturer, the new shingles wouldn’t match. In that case, matching the existing shingles is a bit of an art. An experienced roofer will be familiar with many types of roofing materials. They can help you find the best match.

9. Missing Leak Barriers

A leak barrier creates a watertight seal in areas of your roof that are at higher risk of leaks. Areas where slopes meet, roof edges, and roof penetrations—like chimneys and skylights—are all great candidates for leak barriers. If a roofer is trying to move quickly or reduce costs, they might forgo leak barriers altogether. But we think that’s a bad idea and a terrible roofing mistake. While covering your whole roof would be overkill, protecting key areas is a necessity. Ask your roofer about where they will be installing leak barriers and make sure that you are protected.

10. Missing Drip Edge

A drip edge is not 100% necessary in all situations, but it is an option you should know about. A drip edge is extra flashing around the edges of your roof. It protects the fascia by directing the water away from it. It can also prevent driving rain from making its way under the edge of your decking. That can be useful in Atlanta since we often get high winds along with our rain. A drip edge is a great insurance policy against future damage. But if your fascia is already showing signs of rotting, it can become a necessity. A common roofing mistake is to just automatically skip the drip edge. Instead, it should be an option you talk about. It can be helpful or even necessary depending on your situation.

Avoid Roofing Mistakes with Experienced Professionals

If you want to make sure that you are avoiding roofing mistakes and getting the best roofing, we recommend only hiring experienced and well-trained professionals. Here at Eagle Watch Roofing, we have a track record of excellence. You can read our testimonials to find out what our customers are saying. We encourage you to take a look at our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau as well. We stand behind our work and know that happy customers are our best ambassadors. So if you need your roof inspected, repaired, or replaced, contact us today for your free estimate.