3 Red Flags For Newly Laid Shingles

If you're thinking of buying a house and one of the selling points is that it's just been re-roofed, you'll need to carefully analyze the new roofing job to make sure it's up to scratch. One important aspect of this is making sure the shingles are well-laid. Although you'll want a professional home inspector to check it out too, there are several things you can check yourself earlier in the process. Here are some things to watch out for.

1. Missing starter strip

Every expert shingle roofing professional will place a starter strip or starter course at the eave first thing. This can either be a designated, specially designed strip or simply a row of shingles with the tabs cut off. He or she then completely covers this row with the next row, or "course," instead of placing the next row a few inches up. 

This starter layer is important because, without it, the roof deck would be completely exposed to weather incursions between the tabs of the lowest layer of shingles. However, an amateur or DIY roofer may not know or remember to include the starter layer, or if they do they may not realize they need to trim the shingles for the starter strip before using them.

2. Tabs that line up instead of alternating

A properly layered roof has shingle tabs that alternate, forming a step-like appearance. This appearance is created by centering the tabs of each "course" over the slots (the cut between tabs) on the previous course. Inexperienced amateur roofers occasionally line the tabs of each row up with the tabs of the previous row instead, forming straight lines all the way down. This is a huge red flag. A roof installed like this will not keep the water out.

3. Crooked or wavy lines

To properly lay shingles, it's imperative to measure and lay out straight lines for each row before placing it. Skipping this step can result in crooked rows of shingles or even curves and wavy lines that aren't supposed to be there. This not only shows that the roofer was inexperienced but also is likely to cause problems because some of the shingles will have more of their tops exposed than others, so different sections of the roof might wear at different rates.

These three signs can help you determine at a glance whether any opprobrious crimes have been committed in the laying of a new roof. If you don't see any of these signs, it's still critical to engage a professional for a full roof inspection before you actually sign anything. Many roofing flaws, such as incorrectly fastened flashing, are much more difficult to detect.

For more information, contact your local residential roofing services.