Why "Cheap" Shingle Roofs Fall Apart So Quickly

Why “Cheap” Shingle Roofs Fall Apart So Quickly


Shingle failure is one of the most common roof problems in America. As such, many think this is a natural part of having a shingle roof. In reality it isn’t, in fact a properly installed and maintained shingle roof can last for decades without a single failure! The reason why it occurs so often comes down to one thing, someone went too cheap and cut corners. Whether those corners were in the form of cheap labor or materials the end result is the same, the homeowner pays the price both in money and headaches.

While mistakes happen to even the best roof contractors, installation problems are most prevalent among the roof contractors who undercut their competitors on price, especially those that offer roofs for thousands less. Material costs are largely the same no matter who the roof contractor is, so the cuts have to come from somewhere and since experienced roof installers command higher salaries, those cuts will usually come in the form of cheaper, inexperienced laborers and that’s where the problems start.

It’s all about the installation, especially the “small things” like fastenings, if not fastened properly shingles blow off, and when this happens you will be responsible for going after the roofing contractor or pay for the repairs yourself as improperly installed shingles are not covered by manufacturer warranties.

Experienced roof contractors know shingles must be installed exactly to manufacture specifications. Otherwise the warranty will be voided. Unfortunately there are a lot of roof contractors out there who either cut corners or are ignorant of these requirements and the result is homeowners are left with a roof with voided material warranties, oftentimes without the homeowners knowledge until it’s too late. It happens all the time, especially on roofs that have been air-gunned and not hand-nailed!

How can a poor shingle installation void a warranty?

1.Over-driven nails rip through the shingle and make it very easy for the shingle to be blown off by gusts of wind. Common when nail guns are used.

2.Under-driven nails will hold up the shingle above, preventing it from properly sealing down to the shingle below. This can let dust in which will prevent the sealant from activating, and allows wind to catch the shingle and tear it off.

3.Nails that are driven crooked into the shingle cut into the shingle on one side of the nail, while the other side holds up the shingle above. These two things combined makes for a perfect opportunity for shingles to be blown off by wind.

4. Nails that are too short. Nails must be long enough to penetrate through the shingle and all the way through the sheathing. If the roof decking is thick, nails must penetrate up to 3/4″ into the wood.

5.Too few nails. Each type of shingle requires a certain number of nails to be used per shingle, the average is 4 nails placed evenly.

6.Improper placement of fasteners – Each type of shingle also has a “nail line” where nails are required to be placed to achieve the designed performance. If the nail line is missed, then blow-offs are more likely to occur and are not covered by the manufacturer warranty.

Avoid roof problems by doing your homework and hiring only the best roof contractors with a reputation for quality, not cheapness.

If you’re having shingle problems, contacting the roof contractor who installed it should be your first move, if they are still in business. If they are they should repair it at no cost. If you are in the Metro Atlanta area and can’t reach them or they try to charge you, contact Atlanta Roofing Specialists for a free estimate at 770-419-2222 and we’ll advise you and make sure your roof is done right!



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