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Shingles Nailed Above Nail Line.. Help!!

36453 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  larson1951
Our house is 6 1/2 years old and we've had problems with shingles flying off the house whenever we get a bad storm..

The builder has had his roofer repair it twice and since were having more shingles come off, I started looking into it more.. in addition as we lay in bed on windy nights, you can hear the shingles flapping..

Bottom line is I inspected all the ones that came off the roof this time.. a dozen or so, and none, yes NONE of them have the nails on the nail line and thus the nail does not penetrate the second layer on these dimensional shingles.. Plus the underlying course then has the nails too high up on those shingles. Some of the ones that flew off have 3 nails, but most have 4 that may not be evenly spaced (and all above the line).

The builder is supposed to have it looked at and repaired this week (I think with a newer roofer for him) and I'm going through the steps with Certainteed (manufacturer) to confirm the product is good and it's not just a bad install.

Help!! Assuming that the manufacturer confirms the bad install, should the entire roof be ripped off and a new one installed or is it OK to roof over the old one.. I'm look for opinions on what I should insist on from the builder and what an "acceptable" resolution might be. In a perfect world, I get a new roof (not one on top and not a repair), but I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worst (legal actions)..

Please comment.

Thanks in advance.

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6 1/2 years old and the builder is still servicing the warranty. That's a good builder for you.

Sounds like major installation error. You may also check if the nails were sunk deep enough.

It is commonly accepted to install over an existing roof in many areas. I, as a roofer, prefer not to. If leaks aren't your problem then you may as well go for the lay over. If your also experiencing leaks in addition to your blow-offs then insist on a new roof.

It's always hard to give home owners advice like this without actually seeing the house. I have to assume that what you say is 100% accurate, and it's been my findings that usually the home owner has no idea what they are talking about. In this case you seem as if you have educated yourself so I will trust that is true.

Call a roofer and offer to pay him for an inspection. Don't go into too much detail about why, but let him know you think your roof was installed improperly and you want an expert opinion. It'd be nice if you tip him too ;)

Thanks for your $.02!..

Yes, Out builder has been quite good to us (as good as the builder-buyer relationship goes). We actually did have the roof looked at by a highly trusted roofer of 20 years that did my in-laws roof recently and he didn't get up on the roof but he inspected the shingles as well and gave us the number for certainteed to at least go through the claim process.

I read there is some acceptable variance from the nail line, but after I flipped the shingle over, it's clear that it would be better to be below it to penetrate both layers vs above it and you miss the one layer all together... All of these missed both layers.

Builder states that I live on a very windy street, but the Landmark 25 shingles are rated at 70 mph and 80 if 6 nails are used... I'm far from a roofing expert, but did print out the installation instructions and have surfed the net to see what is correct.. Heck, I installed the roof on my 12 x 16 shed and not a single shingle has flown off .. And all of my 21 neighbors have no problems either. As for less than 3 nails or u evenly spaced nails, the builder told me once the shingles adhere to each other, that's not an issue (phooey I say!).

Thanks again for your opinion.

P.S. We do have one leak that we discovered as I got dripped on in bed, but it's where shingles are missing and the builder & roofer were supposed to come today to look at the roof and we've put a bucket in the attic to catch any water..

Take care,

Not good! I repaired a two week old roof once (new contruction) and found some 15 different problems with the installation. The homeowner got a new roof. I would demand a tear off. Two layers on a 6.5 year old roof is insane. The roofers that did the install should be working at McDonalds.
Maybe the roofer was working at mc'donalds and pulled a weekend side job ;)

Stranger things have happened.
Yes it should be ripped off. A 6 1/2 yr old roof should never haveto be replaced in the first place. If the manufacturers confirm a bad install, call teh contractor who did the roof and give them a copy of the report. then have them replace it. Tear off, dry in and re-roof. If you don't want them to touch it again, and I wouldn't blame ya, Find a reputable co. Hope this works out for you.
I havn't seen anyone say anything about the plastic film over the seal. The installer may have left the film over the seal preventing the new shingles from properly sealing together. This added to the fact it sounds like they didn't use nails long enough to reach the sheathing leads to some future problems big time. I'd say you have no choice now, it's got to come off.

The film on the back on my shinges states "do not remove this tape".. and from what I've read, it's designed to help prevent the shingles from sticking together in the bundles..

Someone correct me if I'm wrong..


That's the theory. Once the shingle gets hot enough, the tar strip is supposed to melt through the plastic and bond with the shingle below. On the other hand, I've had a discussion with a building inspector who swears that in most of the blow-offs he's investigated, the tar strip did not melt through the plastic, even under hot conditions.
Unregistered said:
The film on the back on my shinges states "do not remove this tape".. and from what I've read, it's designed to help prevent the shingles from sticking together in the bundles..

Someone correct me if I'm wrong..


If it is high nailed. The mfr won't do anything. The plastic strip is opposite the tabbing cement on the next shingle in the bundle. Not in the way of tabbing cement after the shingle is installed. It's the high nails causing the problem. Whoever roofed it did it wrong.
I must say first that I am impressed your builder is still sticking by his construction 6 & 1/2 years later, that is pretty unusual.

What you are experiencing is a problem we see all the time, cheap labor, bad craftsmanship. Clearly the high install would indicate the installer either did not care about quality, or did not know what he was doing.

I cannot see the manufacturer standing behind a bad installation, but I have heard (read) crazier things before. If your general contractor is willing to make some sort of deal with you on this roof, even though I am quite sure there is no labor warranty in force any longer, he is totally out of the ordinary, and you should feel very lucky.

If you are in fact in a high wind area, you should consider stepping up on the quality of shingle, and a high wind installation.

My opinion with going over existing shingles, is don't do it!! We rarely do this. You are better off with new underlayments, and sheeting inspection, then new shingles....basically start fresh.

Thanks for your $.02.

Just for an update, the builder did have his roofer fix the the biggest area (prob 12 feet wide by 3 feet), but we still have 3 other areas where there's from 3-8 shingles missing.

I'm moving forward on getting the samples to the manufacturer to get it in writing that they were not installed according to manufacturer's specification (OK, it's a technicality, but it helps my case).

I haven't heard back from the builder since the roofer came and fixed some of the roof and I'm waiting for him to return my call.

Related to him working with us, he's been great so far.. we'll see how it goes after I talk to him and we see what his roofer says (if he's any good and not the guy who originally did it, he'll suggest the same.. ripoff and new roof).

Otherwise, if the builder cannot agree to that, I'll have to look into what my rights are in litigation and name him and the original roofer (if I can find out who that is) as the defendants. He's the contractor and ultimately responsible for the bad workmanship of his trades. Sure it's 6 1/2 years old, but it's been a persistent problem and I don't think time (in this case) dismisses his contract to build a home properly..

I'm willing to pay for a portion of the new roof (exclusive of tear-off costs) related to the 6.5 years we have had the home.

I'll keep you posted and thanks for all the advice!

You may not have rights if the workmanship warranty has expired. I don't know your local laws.

To find out who the roofer was check the permit, assuming one was required. In my area when we have to get a roofing permit, or a builder gets a permit, a state lisensed roofer must be listed.

As far as your financial liability, don't volunteer to pay for a tear off. You may be better off figuring the depreciation of a roof as based on local insurance depreciation values. Perhaps ask your insurance agent what those values are... Or anita ;) This way your only paying for a small percentage the roof had aged.
Half the time the tape falls off anyway, I always remove it. Never had a call back yet. .......Knocking on wood here.

Oh, sorry that was a lie, had a storm pull up about a square of modified about 2 years ago, but it pulled and broke, the ply, the blackboard and a section of rafter too. Insurance co. called it a (micro burst?) Hell of a thing, this midwest crap.

I'm having a similar problem with the last roof the old roofer did for the builder I work for. I would have done the roof but the old roofer had $2,500 in water damage on a previous job so he did the labor on the problem roof for swap. He had his air pressure turned way to high and blasted through 80% of the shingles. The shingles are Certainteed New Horizons and they don't seem to be sealing correctly on the ends or were they butt together. When you lift up the ends the nails come out of the shingle half the time. The builder doesn't want to pay for a tear off or re-roof as the home is only 2 years old. A call to Certainteed yeilded $25 per square for taring which is ok. The ends should also be re-nailed which may get spendy. The roof is a 32 sq. 6/12 so it's fairly simple. To top that off the home just had some nice hail move through so it will be interesting to see what the adjuster says.

I got calls on six roofs this week so far with shingles that blew off, all were New Horizons. The wind was over 60 mph though. I was sitting in a restraunt/motel this last Sunday and watched litteraly hundreds of shingles blow off the neighboring building, they were also New Horizons. The workers had to section off the parking lot due to shingles hitting and scuffing 6 vehicles. I'm done selling New Horizons on tear offs, Landmark 30's from now on.
Grumpy, here in Minnesota no permits are pulled for new construction roofing. Anybody with a business name and there proper insurance can shingle, or a roofing contractor can hire anybody for cash if he wants.

The problem with the permit pulling system is rarely does the licensed roofer even crawl up on the roof to see the finished product. He hires or subs it out to non licensed roofers which kind of defeats the main purpose of being a licensed roofing contractor.
Certianteed is in litigation for their horizon shingles I hear.

I'm all for contractor regulation because I believe we are all professionals. There are some areas like Florida that take it too far, but if that were to happen in Florida (the lisenced contractor subbing to an unlicensed contractor) they would lose their lisence for aidina gna abeting an unlicensed contractor.
Virginia has a contractor board to issue licenses, made up from 12 reps, picked up from the 12 largest contractors in each field.

I agree with licensing but isn't the above like the shark telling the guppy where to swim.

Then you take a roofer like my father who has been installing shingles for over 30 years who won't get a license because his son has one! He's the highest quality roofer I've ever seen, but he legally can't do a residental tear off, kind of stupid. The main reason why licenses are required is so the homeowner has somthing to go off of if no work is done and the money is gone, in my opinion. If taking a 100 question test and passing makes you a good licensed contractor I must have missed something. Besides paying $200 to go to 16 hours of classing were the instructors basicly teach you how to pass the exams is not going to make you a better contractor. I feel every time I pay my license fee I'm wasting $100.
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