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Roofing/New 3 Tab Roof waves


Just had a new 3 tab roof installed by a licensed roofer; permit pulled.  

Maybe my expectations are too high, but I expect a professional roofer to run the shingles straight both horizontally and vertically.  I am scheduled to meet with a representative from the roofing company this weekend.  The roofer’s attitude is that I am being picky so wanted to get your assessment.  

Front -  Was very wavy but instead of doing a proper job the roofer just tore out and redid the middle section so it looked less wavy.  And yes is it less wavy.  Here is a picture of how the front looks now:

Question 1 -  Would you consider this acceptable?

1)    The roofer instead of starting at an edge; started roofing from the center and in my opinions did not plan the layout very well.  So at the drip edge the shingle ends at a tab giving the edge a jagged look.  Here are pictures.

Question 2 _ Would you consider this jagged edge acceptable?

2)    The shingles in the back wave both horizontally and vertically.  The roofer said the two adjacent townhouses shingles did not align and that is the reason.  But the original roof overlapped the neighbors roof and it did not wave and none of the other neighbors roof are wavy like this.  I measured 18 feet from the roof edge and there was a 3” delta in the shingles from one side to the other.  Just seems like they could make up the 3” over the 18’ rise and not have wavy horizontal shingles.  As justification for this waviness the roofer showed me the neighbor’s house where one row had a 5.5” exposure as opposed to a 5” exposure.  Seriously that is the reason for row after row of wavy shingles!!.

Here are pictures of the shingles in the back

Question 3 _ Would you consider this horizontal waviness acceptable?

3)    And of course the back was not aligned vertically either.  Below are pictures

Question 4 _ Would you consider this Vertical alignment acceptable?

4)    I started to notice gaps in the shingles Below is  pictures of the small gaps

Then I noticed there were large 3”-4” gaps that had a single tab shingle just placed on top and it was not even tarred down.

Question 5   Would you consider these gaps acceptable?

Where do I even start with this? I even thought it might be easier by phone.

The term “licensed roofer” means absolute nothing. No test is ever given. No experience is required. In most places you go to the township, county or state and pay a fee and walk out with a license. The idea is supposed to be that if you screw up too many times they will suspend your license but even then it has to border on theft and not just poor workmanship.

A “permit” is just an extortion fee from the township to let the roofer work. They usually will not come out and rarely will they ever climb a ladder. A roofer can have the entire job done before any inspector knows what happens. The idea here is supposed to be that an inspector will be on top of things to make sure they are done properly. If he did his job he’d be arguing with almost every roofer out there since most all roofs are done improperly in one way or another. But in your case it was done improperly in many ways. You could also put your township on the spot and demand that they stand behind what they authorized. After all, why did you have to pay the fee? Didn’t the township fail to protect you?

There are 2 things to consider here.
1.   No roof leaks – this is the most important.
2.   It should look good even if there are no leaks.

Sometimes shingles can look bad but be functional. Sometimes leaks can be hidden if the roofer puts nails in the wrong place like in cutouts or if nails are exposed. If the roofer is so bad that he can’t make a roof look good then it is likely that he didn’t know how to keep the roof from leaking and will probably have hidden issues that will show up over time.

Picture “r9UWmMgc3tn”:
Some of your pictures are worse. This is the better parts but still bad.

Going up he failed to keep he shingles straight. When there are transitions between different shapes or angles it takes experience to make them come out right. But your angles don’t even start until higher up in this picture. He didn’t even get the straight parts right. He apparently stuck to the horizontal lines and then when there was a change in roof shape he didn’t know how to compensate for it. So by the time the shingles started up the center section the angle was slightly off and he insisted on continuing that pattern.

Also, the edge shingles look like they were cut with an axe.

Some shingles look like they are sticking up. Sometimes this could be a problem underneath or it could simply be stiff shingles that will settle down over time or on a warm day.

Picture pDEMiZMeGgW:
That is called the “rake” edge and not the drip edge. Shingles should not start in the center or you have TWO messy edges to handle instead of one. The shingles could have been better laid out mathematically so the other side ends better or you could still add a small piece to cover that ugly edge. Sometimes you can’t help the layout. For instance, you have good layout of the shingles on the lower section but it transitions into an upper section that will cause a messy edge pattern. You have to pick one or the other to calculate off of. Even then there are ways to make it look good at the messy edge.

When you have a neighbor’s roof you are trying to tie in with then patterns change. When the houses were built it was one row of shingles all the way across. When only one house wants to redo shingles many roofers make a seam in the middle but this will always be vulnerable to leaks. The shingles are supposed to interweave with the neighbors just as they do on any other part of your roof. Seams are just always prone to leaks. If the neighbor doesn’t want to get their roof done then you start shingling at the neighbor’s side. In other words, you just continue the neighbor’s pattern onto your roof. You just have to go with the neighbor’s pattern. If the neighbor’s pattern is really off then I’d have to think of some mathematical way to gradually compensate for it. There is no exact answer as every case is different. I can’t tell from your picture if he did a seam in the center. If he did do a seam then there could be no excuses with the neighbor’s pattern as you would have your own pattern on your side. Whatever, it should not come out like yours is.

The steeper a roof is the more visible mistakes can be seen from the ground or by the public.

Picture Naq55xMmgk:
This is due to someone not starting rows equally as they work up the roof. This is just slightly cosmetic and might not be noticeable from the ground.

Picture AistELmUrOIC:
This is due to him starting from both ends and then trying to meet in the middle. Can’t do that. It is possible to pull this off and not have it leak but my guess is that if he’s so bad at making a roof look good them he probably doesn’t know how to keep it from leaking either. But why do it in the first place.



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Brad Zacharia


All aspects of residential Roofing. This includes shingles and flat (low slope) roofs. I have knowledge in the installation as well as the design of roofs from an engineering standpoint.


I have been doing roofing for 40 years. This was my father's business and I took it over in 1980.

I have written responses to artcles that I felt needed a response to and those responses have been published in roofing trade magazines.

BSEE Drexel University

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