Racking vs. Pyramid

Agreed.,but that was the O.P’s initial inquiry.

Ya we are racking archs. I am at a point in my roofing career that Im starting to get a lot of my own roofs and I pyramid on my jobs. I would like to do the same on his but he is just so stuck on his ways. He is a great roofer otherwise, he has taught me a lot, its just this one thing that really bugs me. I hate having to defend the technique for him when another contractor asks why we are racking and that its not the right way. It sucks cause I agree with him, but on the other hand I want to defend the work I am doing, ya know what I mean? (QUOTE)

His boss expects him to install architectural shingles using the rack method.He wanted to know what the problem is with that type of installation.

The topic bypassed the arch installation with racking right to the racking of 3 tabs.

And he is trying to be noble to his boss/mentor but in reality his boss might as well be saying.,“Hey Fourthcliff.,.,when you see the homeowner bend over to pick up that morning paper run over there and cram this in their 1/20/20”.,same thing IMO.

Might as well use their bathroom and not flush or kick their dog.Or when they tell you what a hard worker you are slap them in the face and tell them how much of a push over tard they are for thinking that.Oh and that check better be in the mail or I will put a lien on your property.I gotts tah git payeed yo.,

And Fourthcliff.,no need in trying to defend your work.,.,if its right that is.

Defend is a cool word.It can be used in different ways along with different phrases too.Instead of trying to defend something that is wrong or incorrect try defending the homeowner against crooked contractors who use shoddy improper installations that are ripping the homeowners off.They work hard for their homes.It is the American dream to be a homeowner.

Try preserving that thought and provide them a service that includes professional installations.Try doing that and your customers will defend your name by giving you a great referral.Doing that will insure that you will never have to defend your workmanship.It will speak for itself.

I wasnt really tring to be argumentative. I totally agree and chuckle at your “tard” reference.
I “grew up” around some of the “best”. Was it ever mentioned to rack “archs” no. In fact some say if you do not follow the offset measurements to exact measurements, the double laminate parts will group and look like crap. Ok. What do the instructions say. That is how it is to be done. There are variences in technique, we all must find our own, but the roofing gods have established the laws for each brand and style and we must abide.
Now back to a off topic. I dont do it, but racking three tabs is a acceptable method for Certain Teed and I think it looks great done with a very skilled hand and installed on a steep slope where it is seen.

Jason.,I was not taking your reply as argumentative.,far from it actually.

I have racked tabs in the past and they have looked fine.But like you say it is according to ones abilities to work the magic called craftsmanship.But material is a very small part of roofing.

I have used this phrase before but IMO it makes sense.


I will take a Certainteed XT20 about $65 per square and install it to spec.Installer Z takes Certainteed GrandManors about $300+ and throws it on.My $65 per square material will look and perform much better than the $300 per square Shangle will.

You know and I know as well as other roofers/contractors here and within the trade know that these specifications are in place for a reason.Just because someone pays for a license,some magnets,permits and some comp and GL and successfully completed Certainteeds Master Shingle Applicators program does not mean that suddenly they are smarter than these testing facilities.

And I am not knocking the program because I too took the Master applicator,Quality Master,Roof Wizard,Shingle Quality and the Master Craftsman for vinyl siding and Polymer Shakes.It helps there are many educational programs out there.But the trick is applying what you know to everyday practice and being disciplined enough to be consistent.

Someone can stand on their head and nail shingles might look goofy but if they are allowing proper exposure,overhang and keep a consistent nail pattern then it is right.Visually humiliating yes but your positioning on the roof whether on your head or laying down won’t affect any workmanship issues if your installing to spec requirements.

What annoys me is people that are smart enough and tough enough to do it right the first time but act like tards or they are simply lazy.Roofing isn’t a tard trade or a trade for lazy minded people.But it seems like it is full of them.Overflowing with stupidity and ignorance.

Roofing is a trade that you can get by with crap installs.The reason is the height factor.Not too many homeowners get on their roofs.And the lower sloped roofs are sometimes hard to detect a junk install because of the multiple stories with low pitch.

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This is the roof that was racked with arch’s.You can see the offset.IMO the seams are very noticable.The roof looks horrible and the entire roof is scheduled for rebuild.

The mentality of these “Roofers” who rack these arch’s is offensive to the trade IMO of course.These knuckleheads even used staples to fasten the starter strips.

With the valley pix you can clearly see a seam inside the valley meaning a positive area for concern with leaking.

Also no overhang with the shingles or the starters.,actually the starters are above the shingle becoming useless.

The RidgeVent was nail over with ridge cap.The installers started the ridge cap at the rake and ran over the top of the vent across the length of the ridge then down the stop point of the vent.Creating a continous length instead of a start and stop point.

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Final Set

In my casual visual survey of roofs in Canada (Windsor) and roofs in Michigan (Detroit metro), I noticed Canadians staircase their roofs, whereas I see a lot of racking on the US roofs, even those houses with a low 4x12 pitch. Canadians have more pride in their workmanship. I think racking should only be reserved for those houses with a steep pitch.

I would not compare U.S roofers based on what you see in Michigan.Especially Detroit.(Motor City).Casually speaking.,

I know only a couple roofers in Michigan.,they are cool but on some of the other online forums alot of homeowners have posts from Michigan complaining about hack roofers coming down from Canada (Windsor) jacking up their roofs.

Except for Kage and B.C Demon them northerners are cool.lmao

I pyramid all my shingles except the designer lines that require racking. Racking just looks ragged when your done. I follow 2 rules, follow the instructions on the shingle wrapper and never have an offset less than 4".

Since this lines up the shingle butt joints every other course, this is considered a less watertight roof and may leak.

Installing roof shingles in a ladder pattern is not recommended by any roofing manufacturers.

Manufacturers also claim that shingle color patterns may create splotches or stripes if laid this way.

Instructions for Grand Manor & Carriage house say to rack them.

A racked roof is just as watertight as a stepped roof, the reason to avoid racking is aesthetic.

Any more misinformation you’d like to share?


I thought the same thing but didn’t want to pick a fight. Lol I am sick of people recently saying racking can cause leaks.


One more small issue stems from Racking: it voids the shingle warranty!

Could you post any documentation that shows that is a true statement?


That depends on the shingle, and it’s still because of aesthetics.


The reason you don’t rack most shingles isn’t just aesthetics, its because they blow off the same way they were installed. They blow off easier and more shingles come up when they do. That is why the manufacturer’s don’t like it. They don’t warranty looks but performance, if racking didn’t cost them more money in warranty repairs, it would be allowed. In other words, unless the shingle instructions say otherwise, racking is an inferior installation method that makes a roof more prone to wind damage.

People say similar things about racking all the time but no one has ever provided any documentation backing it up when I ask. Just to be clear I don’t rack arch either but I don’t believe a racked roof will perform any worse then a stair stepped roof.

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Not hard to find. I see this somewhat regularly where I am where sections blow out in high winds.

Im not following, how does racking make it more prone to wind damage? If that was the case then why would any shingle be allowed to be racked? There are manufacturers out there that are perfectly fine with racking on certain shingles. When I first started roofing, I was taught by racking them. And to this day, my old boss still racks them. He has been in business 25 years and only works off of referals. I personally dont rack them because I think they look like crap by seeing the lines run up the roof. And its a lot harder to sell a roof that looks that way.

To address the leak concerns, if the shingles were installed to manufacturer specs then water would need to run sideways 6" in a 3 5/8" window for architecturals to leak, 6" left or right in a 3" window for 3-tabs and sideways 4 1/2" in a 6" window for say Grand Manors. And I personally have a hard time believing that water would move more laterally then downward that much/quick to cause a leak.