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Signs of a Bad Roofing Job 

How Lowball Contractors Put Your Home at Risk

Signs of Bad Roofing JobContracting someone to repair or replace your roof may be the single most important decision you’ll make about your home’s maintenance.

After all, your roof protects everything inside your home, including your possessions as well as the integrity of the structure itself.

And like they say… “good work ain’t cheap, and cheap work ain’t good.”

So when it comes time to hire a roofing contractor, that’s the time to be 100% sure you are selecting a reputable and experienced contractor that will do a great job.

In this post, we’re going to look at some common signs of a bad roofing job, so you can make sure these things don’t happen to you.

Roofing Shortcuts That Ruin Roofs

Lowball roofing contractors can leave a trail of destruction in their path. Let’s start with a look at some of the worst ways roofers cut corners.

Bad roofers (and there’s a lot of them) do these things:

  • Charge too little, sacrifice quality
  • Leave out vital roof components
  • Hire inexperienced subs
  • Underpay or no pay subs
  • Use cheap, shoddy materials
  • Install things poorly
  • Reuse old flashing materials
  • Install too few nails per shingle
  • Ignore attic ventilation needs
  • Do not install drip edge
  • Misrepresent their company
  • Are not state licensed & insured
  • Hit you with “extra” charges
  • Leave you with a bad roof job
  • Leave town and never come back

Roofing jobs that suffer from any of the above create roofs that fail. And a failing roof allows water to leak into your home.

Most Common Signs of Bad Roof Installation

The ways in which a bad roofing contractor can really mess up your roof are numerous.

Each one presents a risk for leaks.

Here we will look at some of the most common signs of bad roof installation.

Along with pictures of bad roofing jobs.

Crooked Shingle Placement a Sign of Bad Roofing

#1 – Misaligned Shingle Placement

The most obvious sign of a bad roofing job often start with misaligned shingles.

A roofing job installed by an inexperienced roofer can go from bad.

To worse.

Just take a look at how bad it can get when crooked shingles reach the peak.

Misaligned Shingles Get Worse the Higher You Go

Misalignment and crooked shingle placement multiplies as the installer goes up the roof.

It gets to the point that nothing can fix it short of tearing the roof off and starting over.

Crooked shingle placement is an indicator of a very inexperienced crew…

And usually points to deficiencies in other aspects of a bad roofing job.

#2 – Poorly Installed Roof Sheathing

When unscrupulous roofers charge a lowball price to replace your roof.

They need to save money on materials and labor just to avoid going broke.


They cut corners… sometimes literally.

Take a look at this roof deck.

These big gaps will absolutely lead to early shingle failure.

Instead of buying the proper amount of materials to do the job right.

This contractor chose to hack together remnant pieces of OSB decking.

Bad roofing.

#3 – Incorrect Nail Patterns

When it comes to shingle installation…

Correct nail placement is extremely important.

Improper nail placement can mean that your shingles lift more easily during a strong wind.

Or in worst cases.

That they simply detach from the roof, because the nails were entirely placed in the wrong spots.

Take for example this shingle job.

The shingles tore loose in a moderate wind.

Take a closer look at nail placement.

And you will see that they are placed way too high on the shingle.

Proper shingle installation dictates that on the upper course (row) of shingles are supposed to go through the top of the shingle below.

This creates more holding power.

When nails are placed too high on the shingle, they are installed wrong and will tear off more easily.

Roof Shingle Nailed Too High

#4 – No Ice & Water Shield

Ice and water shield is a special type of underlayment.

It is thicker and meant to provide more protection in valleys and along eaves.

Ice and water shield should be installed on roofs in Oklahoma.

Especially after all the roof ice dam problems we’ve seen recently.

Ice & Water Shield Installation

This is a hidden roof component that you’ll never see.

Unless you watch the installation process.

But it can mean the difference between having a dry roof.

Or one that leaks.

Don’t let your roofing contractor skimp on this.

#5 – No Starter Strip Shingles

Starter shingles along your roof eaves and rakes are an integral part of your roofing system.

Starter strip shingles help prevent uplift during wind.

They also provide protection in the “cut out” gap areas on the lower part of your first course of shingles.

Starter Shingle Strip

Starter shingles include an adhesive strip.

This adhesive is critical as it forms the foundation for the edges of shingles above to adhere tightly at vulnerable spots on your roof.

A cheap roofer may overlook this vital component.

#6 – Poor Shingle Install Around Vent Pipes

Vent pipe installation requires a flexible seal and flashing.

To prevent water from leaking into your roof

There are some standard installation methods for installing vent pipe flashing.

This is not it.

Improper Shingle Installation Around Vent Pipe Flashing

The shingle course on the sides of the vent pipe…

Should be overlapping the flashing.

Not the other way around. 

How to Avoid a Bad Roofing Job

These are just a few examples of bad roofing.

Unfortunately, if you notice any of these signs, your roof was probably installed poorly throughout the job.

If you want to avoid bad roof installation…

Find a roofer that has proven they can do the job right.

It really comes down to finding a reliable roofer who is honest and does great work.

Need help finding a great roofer?

Check out our blog post with tips for how to hire a roofing contractor you can trust.

Examples of Great Roofing

In Conclusion

When you need a new roof or major roof repairs (especially after a storm), you may feel that you’re under the gun to act fast in hiring a roofer.


In truth, when you need your roof replaced, it is important that you take your time to check prospective roofing contractors for quality and reliability.

Select an experienced, local roofing contractor that will be here for you next month, next year or 10 years from now.

We hope this helps you feel more comfortable as you make a great decision hiring a roofer.

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If you are in or around Tulsa, Oklahoma and need roofing services, give us a call at (918) 250-7663 or contact us here.

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