In many ways, the growth of Do-It-Yourself culture is exciting and inspiring. It’s always great to learn how to be self-sufficient and there is nothing more satisfying than building something with your own hands. And in this day and age, it almost seems inevitable — information has never been easier to get.
The problem occurs when an inexperienced person takes on a job that they have no business doing. Jobs that when done improperly can have long-lasting, far-reaching consequences. It’s one thing to build a planter box out of an old pallet, where the worst thing that can happen is a smashed thumb. But it’s entirely another to attempt a skilled trade like roofing.
As roofers, we’ve seen it all too often: home repairs and poor workmanship on roofing problems that could have and should have easily been handled by a professional. Instead, a homeowner will watch a video online or call an unlicensed person who promised to do the work for cheap. But what usually happens without the skills and training for roofing jobs is that small problems with easy fixes turn into expensive catastrophes.
Licensed roofing contractors take years of education and put in many hours to gain experience before they even begin working. And for good reason. There are many things to know about roofs and how to work on them safely, especially in a place with drastic weather like Vancouver.
When you hire someone with no experience or attempt to do roofing repairs without the proper tools or knowledge, there is a lot at risk. Not only a person’s physical safety is in danger, so too is the integrity of your home. This, in turn, puts your family and all your belongings at risk as well.
We don’t mean to sound alarmist, but the importance of hiring a reliable and experienced roofing contractor can’t be overstated. We’ve seen countless problems on roofs around Vancouver that could have been easily fixed while they were still minor issues. Instead, by the time we were called in, the problems had become enormous and even dangerous.
We’ve documented some of these situations to illustrate our point.
Case 1: No diverted flashing
In this case, water freely runs behind the siding. In a city like Vancouver or anywhere in the Lower Mainland, this will cause substantial rot in the walls and will lead to mold and decay.
Case 2: Missing termination Course
Here we find that the last shingle is not even nailed in, and the roof is missing a termination course. Also a flashing should have been added to mitigate any wind and rain from entering the structure.
Case 3: Back-pan Is Incorrectly Installed
The ‘dummy’ shingle is not required and is clearly hiding a deficiency. This is always something to be wary of, since a quick or random fix often means there is something much more serious lurking underneath. Furthermore, the backpan is cut incorrectly, and there is no capillary cut for drainage and no sealant in the corner. Again, this will result in substantial rot, mold and decay.
Case 4: Starter Shingle Installed Poorly
The starter shingle was poorly installed at the eave, and a step flashing was flattened and put in place. There is poor workmanship on the cut of the ridge capping.
We could go on, but we’d rather not. Coming upon this type of workmanship is not something we enjoy!
And to the credit of many homeowners out there, one doesn’t always know what they are getting until it is too late. There are even people who pass themselves off as experienced professionals and confuse people who don’t know better with false credentials.
That’s why it is always important to do your research, and that means more than watching a How-To video online. When it comes to roofing, the long-term risks far outweigh the rewards of saving a couple of dollars up front and we highly recommend hiring a reliable roofing company.
Hiring professional roofing contractors to assess and fix roofing problems is the only surefire safe way to go. But it’s still up to you to do your due diligence. Don’t forget to check reviews and the company’s online presence, call and ask about credentials, ask for a quote, and make sure they have the proper tools to keep themselves safe, as well as your home.
Don’t forget, your roof is your first line of defence for your home. Keep it strong so you can keep you, your family, and your home safe.
Brad Gordon and his team of professionals have been installing roofing, waterproofing and architectural sheet metal systems in the Greater Vancouver area for over 20 years.