Installed Incorrectly?

May 1, 2017


I recently was asked to conduct a roof inspection on a home that was going through the motions of a purchase agreement. There was some concern to some damage to the roof. They had a home inspector review the roof and he noted that the roof received some hail damage. The homeowner turned it over to insurance for review and they came back negative on the hail damage. Then the seller had another roofing company come out for a second opinion. He also said negative to the hail damage. The buyer asked if I would give my opinion on the roof just to make sure that there really wasn’t any hail damage. There wasn’t any hail damage but what I found was much more troublesome.


My Findings


In these pictures, I found cracks all over the roof. It’s not from hail, but from home the roof was installed. To the untrained eye, they are just cracks, probably from the age of the roof. But that is not it. These cracks are forming because the roof was installed incorrectly. Let me explain.





There is a roofing method called “racking” where the roof installed vertically, using columns rather than the traditional method of roofing horizontally or in a pyramid form. Racking is commonly used on 3-tab shingles and is acceptable when installing 3-tab shingles, although not recommended by most manufacturers.


Racking shingles is not an approved method with architectural shingles. The reason is it leads to major issues, such as blow off (because of missed nails) or premature cracking (as is the case on this roof). The reason for these issues is because the shingles are overlapped and left exposed as the picture shows. When the roofer goes back to the shingle, he must lift the previous shingle to attach the last nail. Lifting of these shingles will leave a crease. This crease will leave a weak spot, thus causing the cracks. Sometimes, the roofer may forget to nail the last shingle causing it to possibly blow off in strong winds.


The other issue that it leads to is that the joints of the shingles begin line up on every other course, where water can easily find its way behind the shingle. When water gets behind the shingle and then freezes and thaws, it can cause the shingles to lose their seal or develop these cracks. It would appear that the shingle is failing, because it is, but the manufacturer will not see it that way. They will see that the shingle was installed using the racking method. The manufacturer may or may not replace the shingle under their warranty, it’s a gamble.




I saw the issue from the ground, not even getting on the roof. Again, to the untrained eye you probably don’t see it. The picture really doesn’t do it justice. But if you look hard, you can see the columns. This is where the joints all line up, about every 3 feet there is a column effect on the roof. Look at the next picture, I outlined with a line.


Now that you see it with the lines, it’s probably easier to see on the unmarked picture.


Closer Look


Here’s a closer look at the roof when you see the racking method used:


Do you see the joints?


Again, I outlined the joints using a line:

The joints all line up perfectly. This allows water a greater chance of getting behind the shingles.


Here’s a picture where they didn’t even bother offsetting the shingles!


I showed these issues to the buyer and I’ll let them make their own decision, but being an Advisor this is my job. I see the roof as it is and tell the buyer what potential issues may arise from these issues. Sometime the repairs are small and simple and for those I just do the repairs. But this is a major repair, basically a new roof. Other roofers my look at it and say that it is fine, but not me.


If you are in the market for a new home or an upgrade, give us a call at Sioux Falls Roofers and we will give you an honest opinion of the roof and siding of the home you are about to buy. You should have access to the knowledge of whether your home truly is up to standards. We will inspect the roof and give you a written report of what we found, if anything. And provide you with pictures. Much like a home inspection, but more detailed. As licensed contractors and certified installers we can point out the issues that most will overlook. If they are simple repairs, we just do it. We often can review the home the same day, while you’re even looking at the property. Ask your realtor to use Sioux Falls Roofers for a professional opinion on roofing and siding conditions!