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5 Signs of a Bad Roofing Job (How to Avoid It Happening to You)

February 21st, 2022 | 7 min. read

5 Signs of a Bad Roofing Job (How to Avoid It Happening to You)

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The roofing industry doesn’t have the best reputation. Honestly, it’s for good reasons, and this is coming from a roofing company. 

This reputation comes from roofing contractors doing bad work and taking advantage of homeowners like you. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you have a bad roofing job currently or how to avoid it happening from the beginning if you can't spot it. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has educated and guided homeowners through the ugliness of the roofing industry. Because of this, we’ll give you the signs of a bad roofing job and what it means to your roof investment. 

Keep in mind that these signs could be for your current roof or be used to help you avoid it happening to your upcoming roof replacement. With that out of the way, let's get to 5 signs of a bad roofing job. 

1. Your new roof leaks after the first rain

The first sign of a bad roofing job is that your roof leaks after the first rain. But this sign isn’t necessarily like the others. 

Because the truth is, mistakes happen, and the installers are humans too. So, it’s possible a couple of nails weren't driven in correctly, or an area wasn’t flashed properly. 

The important thing about this sign is what the roofing contractor does after telling them you have a leak. If they’re a reputable roofing contractor, they should come out, find the problem, and fix it as soon as possible. 

If they won’t take responsibility or ignore your call completely, there’s a good chance that more of your roof was improperly installed. If this happens, you’ll have to find another company to repair your roof, which means even more money out of your pocket. 

Like I said, this first one isn’t necessarily a sign of a bad roofing job. It’s more about the reaction of the roofing company who installed the roof if a leak does show up from installation errors. 

2. Your roof looks uneven and doesn’t have a uniform appearance

Our second sign also has to do with improper installation. But unlike the first one that has to do with leaks, this sign has to do with appearance. 

lifted shingles from improper installation

If your roof looks uneven or doesn’t have a uniform appearance, you most likely have a bad roofing job. When I say uneven and uniform appearance, I’m talking about lifted shingles, a bumpy/wavy look, or anything else that doesn’t look right compared to the rest of the roof. 

curled and wavy shingles from improper installation

This could be caused by improperly driven nails, cutting corners, or just lazy workmanship. But just like the last sign, a reputable roofing contractor will come out to take care of the problem. 

Even though this sign is about appearance, there’s a good chance your roof will leak down the road from the problems causing the aesthetic issue. 

3. Crucial roofing components were left off during installation

A roof is a combination of different materials and components that come together to form a complete roof system. The biggest (and most problematic) sign of a bad roofing job is leaving off these crucial roofing materials and components during installation. 

The main materials and components that make up a roof are: 

If even one of these is left off during your roof replacement, you’ll have problems down the road. Leaving off these items could be because of pure laziness or cutting corners to finish it faster. 

But the main reason a roofing contractor would leave off a material or component is to make their prices lower to win your business. If a contractor ever does this, run the other way because you’re signing up for a bad roofing job from the very beginning.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, go over your estimate line-by-line with your roofing contractor and make sure these materials are included. 

4. Your attic isn’t ventilated properly

Your attic’s ventilation system is crucial to your roof’s life. Without proper ventilation, the trapped hot and cold air in the attic will shorten your roof’s lifespan. 

This brings us to the next sign of a bad roofing job; your attic isn’t properly ventilated. Trapped hot air literally burns your roof up and causes the adhesives in the decking to deteriorate and your roof’s shingles to crack or curl.

roof sagging from compromised decking

On the other hand, trapped cold air will mix with the heat and moisture from the interior of your home, which causes condensation. This condensation causes your roof’s decking to swell and make your roof look wavy. 

No matter if it’s trapped hot or cold air, you’re going to have problems without proper attic ventilation. To help you avoid this happening, ask your roofing contractor if they’ll get into your attic during the inspection and for info about your attic’s current ventilation system. 

5. The roofing contractor didn’t change out rotten roof decking

Your roof’s decking is the wooden foundation for your entire roof system. When getting a roof replacement, your roofing contractor should check the integrity of the wooden boards and for any rotten decking. 

rotten roof decking(Rotten roof decking)

The decking needs to be replaced if they determine the wood can’t handle the installation of your materials. When a roofing contractor doesn’t change out rotten or compromised decking, it’s a huge sign of a bad roofing job. 

This leads to your roof sagging in certain spots because the decking can’t handle the weight of the new materials. It also can be a health issue for your family if rotten boards are left to mildew and mold over.

Just know the roofing contractor can’t determine how much decking needs to be replaced until they tear off your old roof. That’s why I always recommend that homeowners ask what will happen if rotten decking is found. 

But as long as they communicate with you and change out decking that needs to be replaced, you shouldn't have any problems. 

Avoid a bad roofing job by hiring a great roofing contractor with this checklist

Now you know 5 signs of a bad roofing job. I hate to say it, but these signs are all too common in the roofing industry. 

And the truth is, it all comes down to hiring the wrong roofing contractor. Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid this happening if you don’t know how to differentiate between a reputable company and one that will do poor work, or even worse, take advantage of you. 

You can do this through research and looking at reviews. But the best way to avoid a bad roofing job is by asking the right questions when meeting with potential roofing contractors. 

That’s why we created a checklist of 16 questions every homeowner should ask a roofing contractor. The checklist also includes the answers a reputable roofing company will give back. 

Avoid a bad roofing job from the beginning or find a reputable one to fix your current one by getting the checklist now. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof replacements to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We take extreme pride in our workmanship and back it up with a lifetime warranty if there’s ever a problem.

If you’re local to the Nashville or Middle Tennessee area, don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your roofing needs. 

Here’s The Checklist of 16 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor to help you find a great one in your area today.

roofing contractor questions checklist

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