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Question DetailsAsked on 4/26/2016

Is it normal to have "slivers" of shingles that look like they have been cut to fill in areas all over a new roof?

There are partial pieces of shingles all over the roof and it looks terrible. It's almost like they laid the shingles starting from opposite sides and filled in gaps where the met. Is this normal? It looks terrible.

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If you mean asphalt or composition shingles, absolutely not. Generally the partial-shingle cut (which should not be less than a full tab in width) section would be placed at valleys or where it runs up against an adjacent wall or such - in other words, they should start at the free roof edge and work towards areas where cuts would normally be needed anyway. That way it does not disrupt the appearance of the roof by putting in uneven slot/tab spacing.

Cuts due to the roof length not being an even multiple of shingle widths would normally be handled at the end shingle - usually, the end (usually gable end) shingles are kept near full length (at least 2 tabs) to resist wind tearoff, and the end of the shingle away from the roof end is trimmed at necessary to maintain even tab slot spacing. Teh end away from the roof end because a cut end should not be exposed to the normal wicking water at the gable end. If the end remnant would end up being a narrow piece, then it is usually left near full length (at least 2 tabs) and the second shingle from the end is cut back a tab or so in width (but maintaining uniform slot spacing) to allow both to be more than a tab wide. However, other than that the spacing from the gable end to the first slot will obviously be variable ifthe roof width is not an even multiple of slot spacings, the spacing of the slots and the apparent tab widths should be the same all across the roof until you get to the end shingle.

Of course, with architectural shingles you hvae (with some variable width tabs, so there is no uniform slot or tab spacing to worry about - and some architectural shingles do blend in some quite narrow tabs with the wider ones. Hopefully this is not your situation, because when you were choosing the shingles you should have seen that at that time. I agree it looks hokey and amateurish, if that is what you got, but some people like the truly random width look.


With wood shakes or shingles - ditto to above if uniform width or "dimensional" shingles - they should be laid out the same way, working from the most visible or "good" end of the roof across to the other end. If there is no difference between the two ends then direction of lay depends on whether roofer prefers to work left or right handed and is working from above or below the row being laid down.

Random width shingles or shakes are laid out row by row (or by "laddering" sections), choosing shingles for each location that are an appropriate width to maintain at least 1.5" overlap on each side of the gap in the underlying course, any "filler" shingles should be randomly spaced across the roof, and all shingles should be at least 3 or 4 inches wide depending on which manufacturer association guidelines or building code applies in your area or to your manufacturer. Generally, but not universally, hemlock/fir/pine (ouch if pine) shingles have to be 3" or wider, cedar/redwood/yew and similar more brittle and split-prone ones 4 inches wide minimum.

Again, lay should begin at the "good" end and work towards valleys and abutting walls that will be flashed, and the shingles along valleys should generally be at least 6 inches wide - you do not want 3-4" filler pieces exposed at an edge. Ditto at the other end of a roof run - if you are getting into a narrow piece at the edge, to avoid wind blowoff issues, the edge shingles should be chosen wider and the next one or second one back would be chosen narrowed or split to fit the underlying course gaps and maintain a good width shingle at the roof edge.

If you google your shingle type and combined with the word images like this - wood shingle roof images - or - asphalt shingle roof images - you can see many pictures of typical installations - the poorly done ones pop up real obviously. Really bad jobs can be seen by googling - terrible wood shingle roofing job images - or - terrible asphalt shingle job images.

You say it looks like they started from both end and put filler pieces in the middle where they met - I have seen trashy work like this - if that is the case it should be obvious (if dimensional shingles) that the spacing trips up in the middle of the course, which is not acceptable procedure. One should never lay from both end towards the middle unless there is a "cut point" where they meet - a valley or dormer or such which will require cuts anyway. I would bet if they were laying from both ends there is also probably an angular mismatch where they met two - the row coming from each end not being parallel with each other ?

What you do about it - you would have to get a professional opinion from probably an architect or civil engineer who deals in residential construction to document that it is contrary to good practice and violates the building code or nationally recognized guidelines like from ARMA - the Asphalt Roofing Manufacuter's Association or NRCA - the National Roofing Contractors Association manual, or specialty association like the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.

Or you could download the info sheet (or find one lying around if the trash from the job is still there) provided by the manufacturer - you might find guidance there which he violated.

Unfortunately, if he did the job this way at first, what are the chances he will do better a second time around. Personally, my preference in this situation would be to convince him he is better off getting nothing for the job and walking away (after you get back any deposit and you get lien releases for any vendors or subcontractors), then having his bonding company pay to redo the job at the original bid price, or you get another contractor to tear it off ancd redo it right - though that will likely cost more because I would bet this was a low-bidder situation.

Clearly, do not pay for the job if not satisfied - and if they did work from the ends and put odd width fillers in the middle of the runs, sounds like at least half the roof will have to be torn off and redone - and because of the difficulties in matching color lots, quite possibly all of it to get color match. Torn off shingle should NOT be reused - the existing nail holes will weaken the shingles and also constitute leakage points. Note the underlying water barriers have to be replaced too where the shingles are torn, off, because they will be full of nail or staple holes.

If the contractor will not redo it right then your recourse would normally be to either sue, or call his Bond to have the bonding company pay to have another contractor come in to do it right - which for the new contractor to grant you a warranty would almost certainly mean a total tearoff and redo because they are not going to warranty a roof partly done by another contractor, especially if poorly done.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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