Toronto Roofing Problem # 4 – Poor Installation

I think we would all like to believe that this week’s common GTA roofing problem doesn’t occur, but unfortunately it happens all too often – yes, this week at Professional Roofers we’re talking about poor installation services. Whether you hired the wrong roofer or you tried to fix a problem yourself, mistakes happen and it is important to know what to look for when it comes to improper roof installation, as a small problem today can become a big problem tomorrow.

It is important when looking for a potential roofer to seek out testimonials from several of their past clients in order to get a good idea of the quality of work and professionalism you will be working with. Unfortunately, there are a LOT of things a roofer can do wrong, so today we are going to limit what we talk about to the most common failing – poor nailing technique. We’ll talk about both the nail placement on the shingle and nail fastening as well.

Let’s start with the nail placement on the shingle itself – in this case the nail will either be “too high” or “too low”. Shingles have a nailing strip that ranges from ½ to 1 inch, which overlaps with the shingle below it. It is sized specifically so that when you nail along it you are actually catching the shingle below as well, and are doubling up on the number of nails adhering a shingle to your roof. For instance, if you hammer three nails into each shingle, they will actually have six nails fastening them to the roof – three from that shingle, and three from the one above it. When a roofer nails a shingle in “too high” or “too low”, they are missing that key nailing-strip by either inserting the nail above or below it and are therefore weakening the integrity of your roof significantly. High nails will likely miss the shingle below it, and low nails will leave the nail exposed, open to corrosion, and eventual breakage. It is incredibly important to nail that strip perfectly for each and every shingle so that your roof lives up to the full length of its expected lifespan. 

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Whatever type of nail gun or nailing technique your contractor uses, when it comes to nail fastening, it is equally important for them to apply the perfect amount of pressure on the nails. If a nail is over-driven, that means that it has been inserted too far into the shingle and is putting too much pressure on it. This excess pressure can cause the shingle to crack or tear and break off prematurely. Similarly, if the nail is under-driven, then there is not enough pressure on the shingles to keep them in place. An under-driven nail can cause one layer of the shingles to sit too high up or have air bubbles, which leaves them susceptible to high winds and the subsequent damage. Angled nails are also a problem, as they can leave gaps that rainwater can penetrate and cause leaks. You can tell if a nail has been properly driven in, because the nail head will be perfectly flush to the shingles and will have been nailed in straight to the decking below.

Hopefully this quick tutorial on the improper nailing techniques on shingles has been useful to you. If you find improperly applied nails on your roof, please feel free to contact us here at Professional Roofers for a free consultation and estimate on what should be done, and how we can repair the work if needed.