Reshingling Your Roof? - Warning

ohmmm_gwAugust 1, 2014

This was decade or more in the past. What to watch out for.

Home was a split level with attached garage. Built in 1964.

Local contractors.

I think this was the third roof job since the house was built. One owner house.

Job quote was around $8,000 for complete tear off of the two prior layers.

First problem, only ONE guy on the crew spoke English well enough to get the point across. They were all Russian I believe.

Second problem, during tear off, debris was everywhere all around the house. They used sheets of plywood up against the house to protect things and some tarps. But the place looked like a freaking tornado hit it.

Third and costly problem. The original plywood sheathing in many spots had dry rotted to the point where it would just disintegrate when stepped on. I went up on the roof and looked for myself. Yea, big problem. Job was re quoted and skid load of plywood delivered. Added $4,000 to the bill. Now at $12,000.

Fourth problem. They tore off the crappy plywood. And before they had all the new plywood down, save for the ridge areas, they started hauling up the shingle bundles. Now I know those bundles are freaking heavy. And they were dropping the suckers on the ridge area. The entire house was shaking every time a bundle dropped. I was home at the time.

Fifth problem. All seemed well after job was done until a few weeks later when it was windy and I heard flapping when I was upstairs. Hmmm...what is that. I go out in the back yard and am looking and...viola...the aluminum soffit on the upstairs had pulled away from the channel on the house and was flapping in the wind. This soffit never had any issues previously.

I assume this was caused by the combination of them dropping the bundles on a roof that was not fully decked. Thus causing too much outward force on the roof framing, which in turned forced the fascia board outward with each bundle drop.

I managed to cobble together a repair. But it was clear the fascia boards in that area were no longer in their original location and were further outward...permanently.

And later when needing to go into the attic to do something, noticed full length sheets of decking that when they used their air nailers, they completely missed hitting the roof framing in long sections.

Holy cow. What a nightmare of a roofing job.

My advice:

A. Make sure the entire crew speaks English.

B. If major amount of decking needs to be replaced, no shingles brought up until after all the decking is properly down.

C. Don't drop the bundles on the roof!

D. Forget shingles, just get a metal roof.

E. Don't buy a house. Just live in your car.

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My neighbor down the road has a standing seam metal roof on her log home. It looks gorgeous. But she says it's not so much fun in winter when the metal heats up and 2 feet of snow slide off and pile up in front of the house. And it can be a little noisy during a real heavy rain.

Most of the houses in my town were built in the mid 1800s. They still have the original roofs. Slate.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:29AM
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We still use tarpaper over the plywood,(then the shingles) hope they used that,& didn't jam the pieces together or they will buckle, hope they used enough nails or whatever in their guns so that the shingles don't just lift up in high wind & go sailing. Some houses have a lot of metal showing around stuff on roof, others most of it is hidden including the ridge areas. Depends on roofer & some have little experience.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 6:22PM
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christopherh, your neighbor with the metal roof needs snow cleats up there! They will keep the snow from sliding off until it melts. They use them in heavy snow areas - I see em at ski resorts. Thinking about getting some for my shop building, it has up to 20 linear ft. of roof and when15" unloads from up there, that's a lot of snow on the sidewalk!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:58PM
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ohmmm, how frustrating.

I wish I could have referred you to my roofer. He's been in business in our small city for 25 years or more, with a stellar reputation. The entire crew (all 10 of them) spoke English - most likely born and raised locally.

We did the tearoff ourselves (I have teenaged sons), but the roofer provided a truck for the debris, backup up to the garage. He quoted tearoff separately, in case for some reason we weren't able to do it.

He and his crew showed up at 8 am on a Saturday, and were finished shortly after noon. Like you, our house is a split entry with an attached garage - not a complicated roof at all. Luckily the sheathing was all in good shape.

When they were finished, they went around the house with a plastic pail and a big magnet in the bottom, to collect any nails that had fallen off the roof. There was hardly any evidence that they had even been there - except for the pretty new shingles.

Oh, and the bill was less than the bid. He bid the job in early May, but we didn't get on the schedule until September - because he has such a good reputation, he's in high demand. He ended up getting a good deal on our shingles, and passed that savings on to us.

Several neighbors were so impressed with the speed and quality of the work that they came over to ask us who did it. I don't think the roofer even bothers to advertise - word of mouth gets him all the work he needs.

There ARE reliable, efficient, conscientious contractors out there, if you can find them!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Around here, most of the laborers and some of the building trades don't speak English. It has no bearing on their ability to do the job, as long as the supervisor can communicate with them. I appreciate the OP's sense of humor in the situation, but I'd say that a reputable contractor is the most important factor in any work on your house.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:54PM
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We know all about the cleats. The homes with the slate roofs have them.
But I think she's the type who says you don't need them in summer, and in winter the weather's too bad to install them.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:07AM
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I'm the same way about getting gutters on my shop building. I don't care in dry weather, but when the water's coming in around the windows, I wish I had done it!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:32PM
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