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amazer 10-08-2007 12:13 PM

Wet roof a problem?
I have a question about our roof, on which our roofer has been replacing all the shingles for the last 3 weeks. The workers so far seem to have been doing a good, neat job, but they are making progress very slowly. (The other companies who bid on the job estimated that the total time would be 5 or 6 days)

Up to now, we've been luckily getting weeks of sunny weather. However, yesterday the rain started and since then it's been showering periodically. On the main part of our house, which is a cape, the shingles aren't quite completed.

In an area about 6 or 8 feet wide, they stop about 4 feet from the ridge. In that zone, tar paper continues up to the ridge except for an area about two feet wide on the edge alongside the roof's rake, where the paper curled up, revealing bare plywood below. Obviously, rain water is getting behind the curled up paper and dribbling under all the new shingles below.

Is this causing serious problems, or will all be fine when the rain stops and the job is finished? In other words, will the wood under the felt that's now getting wet be able to properly dry?

I'm a bit ticked at the roofer, since I asked him last Friday before we left for the weekend to make sure the roof was protected when he was done for the day.


Ed the Roofer 10-08-2007 12:39 PM

Not only is the water rolling under the newly installed shingles, but it probably has dripped in through the gaps in the decking and entered your attic area, possible creating wet insulation.

Refresh my memory, besides being a cape cod style home, how many layers were being torn off and how many squares of roof surface is being done?

3 weeks sounds like an awfully long time for most jobs, unless their are special circumstances.

Heck, we recently did a 58 square tear-off of 1 layer of cedar shingles plus 3 layers of asphalt shingles on top of a spaced board or skip sheathing deck, installed close to 180 sheets of 1/2" 4-ply exterior grade CDX plywood and all sorts of copper step and counter-flashings, along with a bell shaped turret tower which we needed 2, 60 foot extension ladders to do, and that job took just a little over 3 weeks to do with a 5 man crew. Also, this entire job was on a 12/12 pitch being mostly 3 stories, but the lower portion was 2 stories high.

A conscientious contractor will ALWAYS protect the home while work is in progress. We take that a step further and tarp up all as of yet unshingled areas on a daily/nightly basis for the customers peace of mind and always use the newest tarps for the home protection.

So, what are the reasons for this inordinate amount of time required to do your roof? Sure, it costs us more to take these extra precations, but the peace of mind is very well worth it.


amazer 10-08-2007 01:32 PM

Yes, the probability that some water is leaking onto the insulation in our attic did occur to me. I should probably take a peek, but that would entail taking a fair amount of stuff out of the closet with the access panel to the attic…then hauling a stepladder upstairs, etc., plus a part of me doesn’t want to see the wet cellulose.

The total job was estimated at 34 squares, but about a third of that goes on our garage, which has an unusually high roof for some reason. The actual work was straightforward—removing the original 21 year old shingles and installing ice shield, felt and Timberline Ultra. The reason that the job has gone slowly is that only 3 people at the most are working, and only one of them is doing shingle installation. The roofer’s wife (they are in their 20s I think) cuts shingles in the yard and does tasks like hauling away the old shingles., and another guy hauls shingles up to the roof and does assorted other tasks. On a typical day, they arrive between 10 and 10:30am, take an hour or 90 minutes for lunch, and quit at 5 o’clock. Not bad.

The long time they are taking is definitely a pain, but as you can image, the fact that he didn’t properly protect the roof from the rain has been aggravating. I asked him on Friday to make sure the roof was secured for the weekend, but he told me that they’d have the job finished by the next day, so the rain predicted for Sunday wouldn’t be an issue.

I guess I had this coming when I went for the company with the lowest bid. I’m kicking myself now, but I really had no way of knowing these guys would be so slow and irresponsible. I called a reference—a fellow who was himself a builder—and he said he was very pleased with the job they did at his house.

I think that the reason they are taking so long is that they don’t like to get up early in the morning and also that they are somewhat disorganized. When you work slowly and put in short hours, the schedule suffers.

So… will my roof dry out OK.. or will the moisture be trapped below the felt and mess things up?

Ed the Roofer 10-08-2007 02:56 PM


Originally Posted by amazer (Post 66961)

So… will my roof dry out OK.. or will the moisture be trapped below the felt and mess things up?

More than likely, there will be no long term adverse affects in the wet decking, as long as it is dried out for the final shingle installation. New construction homes are left exposed to the weather for periods of time and still get the shingles installed.

I disagree with that type of installation method though. I feel that if the decking was wet, it has to potential to swell and expand, depending upon the right spacing between each sheet of plywood or OSB, there could be some buckiling occur down the road from expanasion, without enough room to move.

Have the contractor put in two saw blades and cut the joints on the wet decking, to allow for a slightly larger expansion joint between those sheets.

You might also want him at his cost for time, to remove the wet sheets and replace them, since it was his fault for them being allowed to get wet in the first place.

While the sheet is removed, you can climb up there and safely peek inside the attic, but wear one of the contractors safety ropes and body harnesses, since you are not used to being on steep roofs, for your own safety please.

If any of the insulation and the craft paper attached to it shows signs of being wet, he should replace those sections of wet insulation with a similar R-Value insulation so you do not suffer energy loss due to his lack of care for your property.


amazer 10-08-2007 03:22 PM


What part of the installation technique do you disagree with, besides the fact that he didn't put a tarp over the tar paper?

If the roofer had done a better job of tacking down the paper and had brought it up to the ridge and had it extend over a ridge to the other side, that probably would have prevented any water from contacting the plywood decking.

Now that water has presumably gotten under the felt and dribbled down under the lower shingles as well, the only other option would be to rip up all that work and reapply the felt and shingles, which would be a bit crazy.

Hopefully, the water will eventually be able to evaporate out from behind the damp felt and back of the shingles.

liinspector 10-08-2007 03:28 PM

HOW LONG? WOW. I had a roof replaced on my cap, with a rip off in ONE DAY!

The roof decking will dry out, it may take longer with the felt and roofing materials installed.

My big concern would be MOLD. Mold will grow only on an organic surface that becomes wet, especially if it stays wet for any period of time. Wood is an organic surface. Mold can be toxic, it can deteriorate the wood as it grows, and it has become the single largest concern of new home buyers in the USA over the past few years.

How will the roofer assure you that mold will not be a problem?

Jamie Schaefer
NY State Licensed Home Inspector

amazer 10-08-2007 03:35 PM

Under these circumstances, is mold really a problem? A one-time drenching of the outside of the plywood (admittedly the water is behind the shingles).

If a roofer applies felt and shingles to decking that's either wet or damp, does this create a situation that's commonly known to foster mold?

adawg 10-08-2007 03:58 PM


Originally Posted by amazer (Post 67010)
Under these circumstances, is mold really a problem? A one-time drenching of the outside of the plywood (admittedly the water is behind the shingles).

If a roofer applies felt and shingles to decking that's either wet or damp, does this create a situation that's commonly known to foster mold?

Wouldn't that create a situation where the deck gets warm, attempts to dry the wood, moisture trapped by felt and the steamy environment would then be a breeding ground for mold.

amazer 10-08-2007 04:02 PM

Yes, but my expectation is that once it dries out below the shingles, that environment will remain dry. If it takes a week or 10 days to dry (is this realistic?), then probably serious mold would not be an issue... right?

Ed the Roofer 10-08-2007 05:55 PM


Originally Posted by amazer (Post 67007)

What part of the installation technique do you disagree with, besides the fact that he didn't put a tarp over the tar paper?

Isn't that enough to disagree with?

Your roofing contractor is supposed to provide you with the security that your home will remain water-tight both during and after the roofing removal and replacement is taking place.

How much additional effort would it hav taken to instal another section of felt paper, at the MINIMUM?

Also, since they were calling for rain in the short term forecast, don't you think that they should have tarped up there exposed decking and felt paper too? Now the exposed felt paper, which is an organic compound usually, also has absorbed moisture. It will wrinkle and buckle slightly, even after the shingles are installed.

No, I would not think it to be reasonable to remove the 3 weeks worth of shingling to inspect the wood decking, but it would be reasonablwe to remove the exposed felt paper which had gotten wet and install fresh smooth dry felt paper.


amazer 10-08-2007 06:28 PM

Thanks, Ed. Good points, just wanted to make sure I understood what you meant. And I'll follow your advice and ask them to replace the exposed tar paper.

I'll chalk this one up to another lesson learned the hard way!

Ed the Roofer 10-08-2007 06:56 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Here is the roof we are working on today.

Every single night on every single job, this is how we leave the roof covered. The shingle delivery got delayed, other wise more than half to 3/4 of this roof would have been installed today if we would have been able to start at 7:00 a.m. like usual.


the roofing god 10-11-2007 11:39 PM

nothing like a little advertising,huh Ed:laughing:

Ed the Roofer 10-12-2007 02:56 AM


I guess I didn't know that the job sign was in that batch of photos?

No area code on it though, so it would only apply to local people who recognize the logo and name.


the roofing god 10-12-2007 09:11 AM

you must be slipping:yes: :laughing:

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