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The Roofing Wall of Shame

The photos were taken in Oklahoma and Colorado in 2009 and 2010. This is the best way to illustrate the disparity between our organization and the 'competition'. While the photos seem rather extreme, the truth is that greed and ignorance in our industry make this type of 'Shame' commonplace. This absolute abandonment of safety practices and manufacturer specifications is much more prevalent in Oklahoma and Texas than Colorado because roofing permits and contractor licensing are not required. The end result is roofs have NO manufacturer's warranty of any kind, are apt to leak or blow off with the next thunderstorm, and severely diminish the heating and cooling efficiency of the homes they are intended to protect. The foremost reason for this problem is that consumers have been battered into accepting the idea that their roof is simply an inconvenient maintenance cost rather than a valuable aesthetic and structural feature of their home. Who can blame them? When a hailstorm hits, the typical homeowner may receive a hundred or more flyers on their doorstep and experience incessant telemarketing calls from 'contractors' wanting to make a quick buck on the roof & gutters. The widespread notion that a roof is not worthy of conventional consideration (as a kitchen or bathroom would be) has been established by the idea that another hailstorm is just around the corner and the roof, as a commodity, is simply not worth the trouble. 'Roofing Contractors' milling about by the thousands trying to distinguish themselves by offering the 'cheapest fix' and 'best deal' drive this mentality home. The truth is, a relatively small percentage of property owners in storm-prone markets experience hail or wind damage that warrants a roof replacement more than once every 10 years. Many homeowners in Oklahoma City, for example, have a roof that is 15 years old or older. The pressure to 'save money' and get a 'great deal' has reached critical mass. It is raping home equity and property values from entire communities.

wos 1

These roofers in Oklahoma City were moving at a frantic pace. Their rapid progress seemed to impress the neighbor across the street but a closer look at what they are doing in impressive in another way.

old flash

These landscapers/roofers are trying to earn a buck but clearly do not have any formal training in proper roofing techniques, do not understand building code and didn't bother to read the shingle wrapper to follow basic manufacturer specifications. The rusted flashing are clearly going to be re-used. When the skylight leaks, the roofing materials around the skylight will need to be removed and the flashing replaced. The roofing shingles removed for the repair may need to be re-used after the repair because matching shingles may no longer be available on the market. The interior damages will generally NOT be covered by a workmanship warranty IF the company doing the work is even still in town to respond to the homeowner's call. Also, these multiple layers of roofing felt have created a vapor barrier rather than a vapor retarder; compounding the problem of this structure lacking proper ventilation. The next roof replacement (if the old felt is actually removed) will reveal decking that is orange, swelled, and possibly rotted due to condensation buildup. At that time, the homeowner will most likely incur the cost of replacing bad decking out-of-pocket, simply because the 'roofers' were too lazy to remove the old felt. Also notice that the old shingle nails have been pounded down rather than removed. This is bad because the nails will work themselves loose as they start to rust (from condensation) which will cut holes in the new felt and start wearing the shingles from the underside.

old or new

Which is old, which is new? The shingles that you see are new. At the hip, they are cut off and the wood decking is bare at the gap where the decking meets on the hip framing member. The roofers will be relying on new hip shingles 'caps' to keep the roof water-tight rather than properly wrapping the felt over the hip. There is a good chance that wind-driven rain will cause this roof to leak until the hip caps fully seal over the next few days, weeks, or months. That moisture will evaporate from the attic or become a petri dish for mold and mildew. Also notice that the new felt is installed diagonally over the old because it seemed convenient for the roofers. By the time the homeowner returns from work, new shingles will be installed and the shortcut will be a secret. However, if roofing materials are not installed according to the manufacturer's specifications, there is no warranty. Unfortunately, if this batch of shingles happens to be a defective one, the manufacturer will decline to act because the warranty was voided by this improper felt installation among other things.

This is exactly what you want to avoid. The installer did not wrap the hip with felt means that the hip cap shingle is the only thing between your home and a leak. Notice that on the lower cap, the nails are high so that the sealant from the cap above never made proper contact. It was probably a matter of days or weeks before this hip cap shingle blew off, exposing the framing and attic below. We estimate that this homeowner's roof had been leaking for EIGHT YEARS. Roofing shortcuts may save money in the short term but NEVER pay off in the long run.

wos 2

This 'roofing' company DID send Ice & Water Shield for the 'roofers' to install in the valleys in an attempt to meet manufacturer and code specifications. Unfortunately, this crew doesn't know the first thing about roofing or proper installation. Allow us to point out a few things: Firstly, the gas vent flue; notice how it is canted to the right? This is because the roofers pulled on it when removing the old roofing and accidentally disconnected it from the gas water heater or fireplace. Now, the gas exhaust and associated fumes will leak into the house or attic. Secondly, the ladder. Ladders (according to OSHA) should extend to three rungs above the fulcrum (eave/gutter line), be tied off/secured, and be tilted so that the feet are back from the wall approximately 1/4 of the height of the fulcrum. If and when a member of the roofing crew falls off this ladder and is hurt, who will pay? The roofing company may carry liability insurance but clearly subcontracted this job to an illegal crew. They may have a general liability insurance policy for the damage that their work causes to the property but most assuredly not damage to a worker. It is highly unlikely that they carry workers' compensation either. Medical bills and lost wages will require the crew member to file suit and the homeowner (or if properly insured, the homeowner's insurance company) will have to pick up the tab. Thirdly, notice the mess. It is apparent that tarps were sent by the roofing company to protect the property during the re-roof but are being uses as little more than a decoration. Wayward debris is allowed to blow in the wind and accumulate in the homeowner's landscaping. This homeowner should not be too surprised when he or she steps on a nail or a lawnmower throws a nail at someone or something they care about.


I&W over felt

Here you can see HOW the Ice & Water Shield and felt were installed. Unfortunately for this homeowner, Ice & Water Shield MUST be installed directly to the wood decking to properly bond. Also, roofing felt must be installed in lateral courses starting at the eave progressing course by course up the roof - not vertically. Felt must also overlap the Ice and Water shield by at least 6 inches to property direct any moisture that overcomes the shingles into the valley. Based on this installation, the Ice & Water Shield will not seal and any water that ever penetrates the shingles will run down the felt, under the Ice & Water Shield and into the home.


Unfortunately for this homeowner they decided to battle their insurance company on their own and clearly came up on the losing end. The result is patchwork that contributes to a look that is cheap and reduces the 'curb appeal' of their home, invariably devaluing it.

Property Casualty insurance is called indemnity coverage because it does not pay a set benefit. It is supposed to pay as much as the policyholder needs (up to the policy limit) to "restore and insured to the SAME financial position after the loss that he or she was in prior to the loss". In the language of insurance, to indemnify someone means to make them whole again. This means that they should not be paid less or more than what it takes to properly restore the home. In this instance, the homeowner bought into the idea that a roof is simply a water-shedding device and completely discounted the financial impact that a reduced 'curb appeal' would have. They accepted less than what would indemnify their property and allowed the insurance company to save money at the expense of their home equity.


The weather was fair in Denver, yet these materials sat on the roof for three weeks before the fellow you see pictured and his partner showed up to start 'working'. More details below.

roof load

Based on the age of this home, 'dimes to dollars' the old roof deck is plywood. Yet the installer has chosen to place these cheap wood chip and glue Oriented Strand Boards (OSB) on the roof instead. (In the way the OSB is placed, we could substitute "Wind Missile" for the term OSB). An inordinate amount of materials are stacked on the garage risking permanent damage to this home's framing members.


A hand truck on the roof.. Really? Does that sound safe? Clearly this homeowner wanted to cut costs but this extreme is unacceptable. Hiring a roofing company with proper crews that are strong enough to handle the materials in a safe manner should not be a luxury.

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