Most common cause of leaks in a new roof



When you are called to repair a new roof that leaks, what is the common cause?



Sloppy, poor flashing work.


Sometimes they don’t leak yet but look so bad they need repair.


Like authentic said, its usually flashing issues. The second most common issue I come across is people not using the proper material on trouble areas (low slopes, crickets, dead valleys, ect), thinking they can just put down ice and water shield under the shingles and it’ll “never leak”.


Something to do with the chimney or water running directly into a wall( dead valley)


I was curious. I just had a roof done and the fellow thought he did a great job. I had all the material as hubby and I were planning on doing it ourselves then changed our minds. I asked him to install to specs, I had ice & water, silver, drip edge etc. The roof is done, there are numerous nails 1/8" to 1/4" off roof deck, some coming through where the main traffic was, the underlayment was not laid properly, some areas of the deck you see wood, some areas you don’t, you see it over the drip edge in some areas, 1" from drip edge in other areas, not at all in other areas … on the rake sides.

My biggest concern is he has numerous cut pieces overlapping and within the run of rows … he said that with these shingles you can do that … I am saying I don’t think so. I always thought that the only cut pieces should be at the rake ends, everything else is factory cuts butted. OC says 4 inch stagger and there is no attention to this at all. I see seams less than 4 inches and nails exposed in some of those seams.

Nails are above the Surenail strip and below. On the rake sides his nails are too far in. One area his nails are 5 3/4" from the drip edge edge … and there is no underlayment at that point. I see this flap as a great wind catcher.

I am concerned about leaking but he thinks I am being anal and he claims his roof will never leak. I have my doubts. I will post photos when I get back home and the reason is … he claims he did a great job. He didn’t do a great job and I think he needs to hear it from others in the trade. Maybe then he will believe it.


I am not gonna say its a bad job until I can see things for myself, however it is not sounding promising. Post some pics.


Here are some of the pics. I have many pics of nail sticking up, over Surenail, under, lots of overlapping … on and on… but this will give you an idea

I hope I can paste that here?


Yes it is a sloppy job but sorry to tell you that the industry standard for most new industry shingle jobs are on the sloppy side. IMO, you should have known better when he insisted on cash and wanted extra $ to give you a recpit. Good news is I don’t feel your job requires a full tear off and replace as from what I see its fixable.


I had asked if the dollar figure he mentioned was total including
taxes … he said yes. So, why would I think it to be anything else?
Why can’t I get a receipt for a cash payment. I can get gas 5 cents
less a gallon if I pay cash … and they give me a receipt.

So you would think it is fixable? How do I get the underlayment under
the areas missing? There are so many nails sticking up in areas that
have already sealed, you can feel the bump below the shingle … so
unsealing and fixing this would be okay? How about the stagger?
There are so many shingles less than 4 inch stagger … how do you fix
that without ripping a bunch out? Do you caulk these areas? The
reveal is excessive, how do you fix this? How do I fix the drip edge
without ripping it out?

It would be nice to not have to rip it all out but how are you saying
you remedy these things?



How about all the areas where there are pieces overlapping? What is your remedy for this?


It looks like you hired a handyman, where/how did you find this guy?


I had two other contractors that said they would stop in, they didn’t. I called the building supply store and asked who did roofs in the area. They gave me this guys number. He claimed to have done 24 roofs last season and many prior to, I asked about this. I have done 2 roofs myself … and they never looked like this. I am looking forward to island roofings recommendation on how to fix this without tearing it off.


This is his yellow page ad … so oh no, not a handyman … this is his specialty


Commercial Roofing, Emergency Roof Repair, Renovations, Decks, Fences, Garages, House Additions, Aluminum Roof, Asphalt Roof, Commercial Roofing Contractor, Concrete Roof, Flat Roof, Copper Roof, Chimney Repair, Shingle Roof, Roof Repair, Residential Roofing


Residential Roofing


It is one thing if you wanna pay your contractor in cash but it completely different if your contractor insists on it. It should have been a red flag from the start. And if that wasn’t already shady enough he asks for extra money in order to give you a receipt. There is no reason a legitimate contractor needs to operate like that, and if you really didn’t know that you need to stop being so naïve.

He either
-isn’t gonna pay taxes
-he owes someone $ so he needs to hide his income
-he doesn’t have the proper licenses
-wants to pay his guys in cash so he can get away with not having proper insurances on them
-doesn’t want a paper trail when homeowners like you tracking him down for sloppy work


Just to be clear, tearing off the roof and starting over again would be ideal, but I have serious doubts that you will get anywhere with this contractor (even if you take him to court). All of the instructions I am giving you is what I would be doing if I was in your situation.

-I would just accept that there will be some areas with no underlayment and let it go (from what I understand underlayment isn’t even code in Canada
-Any nail sticking up will need to be pounded down. I will tell you the best way to do this and not damage the shingles. You will need a hammer a small flat solid block of wood or metal(small piece of 2x4 would work nicely). Take your block and place it on the nails that are sticking up and hit it with the hammer till the nail is no longer sticking up.
-any nails found in joints of the shingles need to be caulked
-as far as the shingle overhang, your best bet would be to just cut your shingles flush with the drip edge. With an old pair of metal snips would be the easiest way to do it.
-The short staggers (less than 4") is the biggest (and most likely to cause a leak) issue. What I would do is fix these with “bib” flashings. You’ll need a small roll of aluminium coil. Cut out some 5"x5" squares. Everywhere where the stagger is less than 4" you will need to pry up the shingles and insert one of these squares (to cover the butt joint of the shingle below it). Nail down the bib flashing with 2 nails and caulk nails.

This will be a lot of work so its your choice if its worth it to you to have a go at it or bite the bullet and pay someone else to repair or replace your roof.


Is he a licensed and insured Roofer ???


Thanks for the info, especially about the bib flashings. There are in excess of 100 nails sticking up but the shingle has settled and sealed over them so I would have to unseal quite a few, plus most are driven at an angle. We did caulk all the exposed nails and ones in joints. So … unsealing shingles for that, ripping off all the short overlapping pieces - wouldn’t these be a potential problem site? The pieces are fortunately in two corners so that would be 1/4 of the roof to replace … and no underlayment is not code … our code is minimum standards. I just figure that it is extra security in the event of a blow off … which could likely happen now.


Yes, apparently … although I did not see documents … but he does have a business license which I think means nothing … just pay $100 a year to call yourself a business. . I think.


Sheila him having a business license means everything that means you can go
to Consumer Affairs file a complaint and Consumer Affairs we’ll go after
him take his license so he cannot operate or do any business and find him
several thousand dollars or whatever the total of your bill was until he
repairs the issue.