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Wood Shingle Repair & Maintenance

Wood shingle roofs have been used for hundreds of years. The quality of the roof depends upon the grain (“edge” grain or flat grain), the thickness (¼” to 0), exposure of each course, ventilation, and proper care and maintenance.

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image_coming-26168_200x200Tree/bush Over Roof
This can break the shingles and damage the roof. It also can shade the roof, causing it to take too long to dry out, which can cause dry rot in the roof. The solution is to trim the tree/bush away from the roof line.

image_coming-26168_200x200Debris On The Roof
This can cause water to back up and allow seepage. It also causes dry rot in the shingles, which in turn leads to premature roof failure. Remove the debris.

image_coming-26168_200x200Shingles Too Narrow
Some shingles installed are too narrow, and do not have enough side lap. When there’s not enough side lap, water can get under the roof. Adjust, shim and/or flash the area or replace with a new shingle.

image_coming-26168_200x200Overexposed Shingles
This is an installation error. If there is not enough overlap, it can cause premature roof failure, or not work at all and the roof has to be replaced. The top course of shingles is overexposed; maximum exposure is 5” per course. The top of the overexposed shingles and the course below are not as thick and will wear out faster (shingles are tapered ¼” to 0”) than the rest of the roof. Therefore, it typically will need repair sooner and more often than the rest of the roof. Replace the shingles or shim.

There are too many cracks, too close together, and too many courses in a row, which can allow seepage. Repair weak and damaged areas by adjusting shingles and/or installing shingles and/or brown sheet metal.

IMG_3213-93959_200x200Shingles Curled Up
This is caused by the “grain” in the wood. When the wood gets wet, it dries from the top down, causing the wood to shrink on top and curl up. If the curled shingle exposes the sidelap to allow seepage, it needs to be repaired. If it does not, it is a cosmetic issue.

jpg9-138695_200x200Shingles Missing
The shingles may not have been nailed (short nailed) and have slid out. The shingle cracked in a place that wasn’t fastened and slid out, or the shingle had a thin spot which deteriorated and broke off. Replace these with new shingles.

jpg7-123059_200x200Ridge Missing
When the wood gets wet it swells up, putting pressure on the nail and causing it to loosen. The wind puts pressure on the fasteners. The sun breaks down the wood. Over time, if the roof is not maintained, it can blow off in strong winds. Replace with a new ridge.

jpg7-123059_200x200Ridge Cracked Open
When the wood gets wet it swells up, putting pressure on the nail, causing it to loosen. The wind puts pressure on the fasteners. The sun breaks down the wood. Over time, if the roof is not maintained, it can split open. Replace with a new ridge or flash the apex under the ridge.

IMG_4137-97315_200x200Ridge is Loose
When the wood gets wet it swells up, putting pressure on the nail, causing it to loosen. The wind puts pressure on the fasteners. The sun breaks down the wood. Over time, if the roof is not maintained, it can come loose. Re-nail the loose ridge.

image_coming-26168_200x200Gap at Plumber’s Flashing
This space between the flashing and the pipe should be sealed. Some people use sealant, which has to be resealed. Some people seal with tape, which is better. Some people seal with an EPDM collar, which is guaranteed for the life of the roof and is the best solution. Reseal to prevent seepage.

sm_plastic_boot_used1-24340_200x200Plastic Gasket Cracked Open or Concave
The sun eventually damages the gasket that is mechanically fastened to the galvanized base, which can leave a large opening for water intrusion. Replace the flashing or seal with rubberized asphalt.

image_coming-26168_200x200Abandoned Plumber’s Flashing
Often during a remodel, when plumbing is moved, new flashings for pipes are installed and the old flashings are left open. Cover the hole in old flashings with sheet metal.

image_coming-26168_200x200Plumber’s Flashing/Vent Base Popped Up
In strong winds the flashing can come loose and pop up, allowing seepage. Reanchor the flashing vent base.

image_coming-26168_200x200Vent Cap Rusted Out, Damaged, Missing
Over time, exhaust from appliances will corrode and deteriorate the vent; damage from termite fumigation people or wind can cause the top to blow off. Repair or replace as needed.

jpg27-63874_200x200Collar at Vent Missing/Not Sealed
The collar may never have been installed. Install if needed. Apply sealant between the pipe and collar to prevent seepage.

image_coming-26168_200x200Chimney Flashing Not Oriented Properly
Improperly installed chimney flashing will allow seepage. Reorient flashings or replace with new.

image_coming-26168_200x200Counterflashing Not Sealed/Loose
Over time the mortar/sealant can come loose. If it is not repaired, seepage will cause interior damage.

image_coming-26168_200x200No Step Flashing in Top Roof
This is a shortcut which will allow water intrusion to the roof below. Cut siding and install proper flashing to prevent seepage.

image_coming-26168_200x200Step Flashing Not Behind Siding
Proper orientation for step flashing is to put them behind the siding or counterflashing so water will not get under the roof and seep into the structure. Either apply elastomerics and polyester fabric to counterflashing or cut the siding and orient the flashing correctly.

image_coming-26168_200x200No Water Channel
Some installers put shingles to the apex of the valley. This does not allow for a water channel for the water to escape, which can cause water to back up and seep in, especially if there is debris. It can also cause the flashing to rust and fail prematurely. Trim the shingles to allow for a water channel and proper drainage.

image_coming-26168_200x200Electric Insulator Not Sealed
The original insulator was installed on the original roof; the roof was replaced and the insulator left in place and never sealed. Install a water diverter above the insulator and seal around the insulator with rubberized asphalt.

image_coming-26168_200x200Gutter Popped Out From Eave, Loose
The gutter was never fastened properly and/or the downspout was clogged and the weight of the water caused it to come loose. If the gutter is not reattached and oriented properly, the eave will get wet and dry rot will result.

image_coming-26168_200x200Open at Hip/Ridge Intersection
Water will get under the roof system and allow seepage. Reorient the hip/ridge pieces and/or install flashing.

image_coming-26168_200x200Rotten Spot In Roof
Roof rot is caused by debris and/or the roof never drying out due to being in the shade. Replace the damaged area and/or flash the area or if severe enough, replace the entire roof.

image_coming-26168_200x200Solar Installer / No Diverter
The solar installer never installed a diverter above the anchor that holds the solar panels to the roof. Without a diverter and proper sealant, this area will get super saturated and cause seepage. If possible, install a diverter above the anchor and seal without removing the solar panel. If there is no access, have the panels removed, then effect the repair.

jpg9-138695_200x200Hole in Roof
Over time, the thin or weak spots in the shingles wear from the rain and UV rays from the sun, which creates holes, exposing the inside of the attic. This is usually on the south side, which will wear faster than the east, west, or north sides. If the roof was maintained properly, it would never get holes. A small hole can be shimmed. A large hole may require taking the roof apart and installing new shingles. Animals can also make a hole.

image_coming-26168_200x200Skylight Installed Improperly
If flashings are not interwoven into the roof properly, seepage will occur. Reorient flashings.

image_coming-26168_200x200Tie-in at Flat Roof Incorrect
The roof system must be integrated correctly or there will be seepage. Reorient the intersection of the two roof systems.

jpg51-53016_200x200Broken Skylight
The amount of time it takes for the plastic dome to break down depends upon the quality of the plastic used to make the skylight. The dome can sometimes be replaced. It is easier just to replace the whole skylight. Some manufacturers give a lifetime warranty, even for plastic domes. Glass is heavier and more expensive than plastic. Glass has a higher R-value and lasts indefinitely.


image_coming-26168_200x200Less Than a 3/12 Pitch
Anything less than a 3/12 pitch is an improper pitch for a shingle roof. A shingle roof installed on a pitch of less than 3/12 must have a built-up roof under it with a grid of 2” x 2” boards embedded in the built-up roof and attached to the structure with 1 x 4 space sheeting on top. Then the shingle roof can be installed for aesthetic effect. Check with the local building official for their requirements.

jpg37-149496_200x200Chimney Chase Leaks at Top
A chimney chase is usually a wood framed box.  The pipe for the fireplace goes through the box and out the top.  Typical roof chimney flashings are installed then siding covers the framing and overlaps the chimney flashing.  Last a metal top is installed which allows the chimney flue to go through to the outside air.  The metal top usually has a metal piece that prevents water from flowing down the opening in the metal top.  The flue usually has a collar that overlaps the metal piece on the metal top.  The flue usually has a metal top to prevent water from going down the inside of the flue.  Any one of these items in this assembly can leak if not done correctly or if it has deteriorated.  Invest all the potential issues and effect a repair.

image_coming-26168_200x200Less Than 4/12, Not Less Than 3/12 Pitch
This must have a solid roof deck and a minimum layer of 30 lb underlayment installed before the shingle roof is installed. If this is not done, there will be seepage and premature roof failure. The only way to correct this is to replace the roof. Check with the local building official for their requirements.

jpg87-89888_200x200Skylight- No Overlap of Flashing
The flashing does not go up high enough for the skylight frame to overlap the flashing and the wood curb is exposed. This is openand will allow seepage. Remove the skylight and install a counterflashing on top of the curb that overlaps the flashing on the side.

jpg14-77989_200x200Plastic Gutter
Plastic gutters do not come with a wing. The plastic gutter company makes a plastic diverter to divert the water into the gutter. If it is not installed, the edge of the roof deck will develop dry rot.

IMG_26101-79067_200x200Gutter in Stucco
When the house was built, the sheet metal installer put the gutter too close to the stucco paper. When the stucco was applied, it went around the gutter, not behind it. Over time the gutter joint can deteriorate, allowing seepage in the wall. Remove the gutter, cut the end back, reinstall the gutter end, repair the wall with waterproofing materials, then reinstall the gutter.