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Why is Proper Roof Installation Important?

November 3rd, 2023 | 7 min. read

Why is Proper Roof Installation Important?

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The day your roof is installed is the most important day in its life. Think I’m overreacting? Well, the future of your roof investment all hangs on the quality of installation.

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t fully understand just how much proper roof installation impacts their home, wallet, and way of life. I want to change that. 

For 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand every single aspect of their roofing project. And none is more important than installing it right. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • Why is proper roof installation important?
  • What causes an improperly installed roof?
  • What are the signs of an improperly installed roof?
  • How do you avoid an improperly installed roof?

Why is proper roof installation important?

The main reason why proper roof installation is important is because a roof is a big investment. With the amount of money you’ll spend, you should fully expect your roof to be properly installed. 

architectural asphalt shingle roof

However, the importance of proper installation goes much deeper than that. In fact, an improperly installed roof can void warranties, deny claims, and much more. 

You’ll spend less money in the long run

While replacement is costly upfront, a properly installed roof actually saves more money in the long run. The repair costs you’ll face are staggering, and this is before considering internal damage costs.

These repair costs add up quickly and even lead to another roof replacement well before you should need one. This is especially true if you hire a cheap contractor who doesn’t stand behind their work, uses incorrect roofing techniques, or poor quality materials.

Your roof’s life will be maximized

As I said, you’ll spend a lot of money on your roof. So, it makes sense to want to get as many years as possible out of it. 

With a properly installed roof, you’ll reach or get as close as possible to the roofing material’s maximum lifespan. Depending on the type you have, this could be 25, 30, or even 50-plus years.

Your material warranties from the manufacturer won’t be voided

When getting a new roof (specifically asphalt shingles), your materials come with warranties from the manufacturer. However, these warranties only apply if the materials are installed by strictly following the manufacturer’s installation instructions. 

If you try to use the warranty, the first thing they’ll look for is if the roof system was installed correctly per the provided instructions. Something as simple as nails not being properly placed is enough for the manufacturer not to honor their warranty.

You don’t have to worry about insurance denying your claim

If you have an RCV policy, insurance will pay for a new roof in the event of storm damage. However, they can actually deny your claim if they find your roof was improperly installed. 

This not only leaves you with a storm-damaged roof, but it also means you’ve been paying premiums on a policy you can’t use. Even worse, you now have to pay out of pocket for your replacement.

You get peace of mind

When a roof is improperly installed, it’s not a matter of if it will leak; it’s a matter of when. Once the leaks begin, you have to worry and stress every time there’s rain in the forecast.

You have too much going on in your daily life to think about your roof. With a properly installed roof, you get the peace of mind that your home, your valuables, and your family are protected. 

What causes an improperly installed roof?

Now you know why proper roof installation is important to your roof investment, wallet, and peace of mind. But even knowing this doesn’t make your roof immune to installation issues.

The main ways a roof is improperly installed are:

  • Poor or lazy workmanship
  • Not following installation instructions
  • Inadequate attic ventilation
  • Excluding roofing components
  • Poor weather conditions during installation 

While the reasons above are separate, they all come down to the roofing contractor you hire. That’s why the number one cause of improper installation is hiring the cheapest roofing contractor offering the lowest prices. 

Once a bad roofer knows you’re looking for a low price, they smell blood in the water. They’ll use cheap materials (or leave some off) and labor to make their prices look great on the surface. 

In reality, you’re getting a poorly installed roof with low-quality materials and a short workmanship warranty. And once leaks show up, you’re looking at extensive repairs or another roof replacement.

What are the signs of an improperly installed roof?

It’s great knowing what causes an improperly installed roof to help you avoid it. Unfortunately, avoiding it is easier said than done if you can’t actually identify a bad roofing job. 

Let’s look at the signs that your roof is improperly installed. 

Experiencing leaks during the first rain

If your roof leaks in multiple areas during the first rain or even down the line, it’s most likely improperly installed. Now, installers are humans, and mistakes can happen when getting a new roof. 

However, you can also identify a bad roofing job by how the contractor reacts after telling them you have a leak. If they won’t take responsibility or ignore your call completely, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with an improperly installed roof.

Lack of a uniform appearance

If your roof looks uneven or doesn’t have a uniform appearance, you most likely have a bad roofing job. This could be lifted shingles, a bumpy look, curling, dipping, or anything else that doesn’t look right compared to the rest of the roof. 

improperly installed architectural asphalt shingle roof

Seeing exposed nail heads is also a huge sign your roof wasn’t installed correctly. This means they didn’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and their warranty is now voided. 

Your roof is wavy or sagging

While this sign plays into the one before, it’s on its own because it’s an installation problem caused by inadequate attic ventilation. Without proper attic ventilation, your roof will have a wavy look when the decking swells from condensation. 

roof sagging from improper roof installation

There’s also the issue of compromised roof decking. If the roofing contractor didn’t change out rotten or compromised decking, the weight of the materials leads to sagging or a potential cave-in.

Certain roofing components are missing

Getting a roof replacement means replacing your roofing material and other components. If even one wasn’t replaced or installed, you’ll have an improperly installed roof.

The most common component left off is drip edge, which rots your decking’s edges, causes leaks, and leads to a failed home inspection. Not replacing roof flashing is also common on improperly installed roofs because it lowers costs even more.

How do you avoid an improperly installed roof?

At this point, you know why proper roof installation is important, what causes improper installation, and how to identify it. As I said, the number one cause of improper installation is hiring a bad roofing contractor.

Because of this, the only true way to avoid an improperly installed roof is to hire a great one. Unfortunately, this is harder than it’s ever been due to the saturation in the industry. 

That’s why I wrote another article with tips homeowners need to spot a reputable, local roofer out of the sea of options. 

Check out 7 Tips to Find a Great Roofing Contractor to find one in your area and avoid getting an improperly installed roof from a bad roofer. 

roofing contractor questions checklist

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