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Question DetailsAsked on 11/5/2013

My roofer said it's normal for some of the slats to split and break away when your roof is replaced? True?

Roof was replaced 4 years ago. I have missing slat sections and some slats are split.

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3 Answers

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I am intrigued - I can't think of what the "slats" are you are talking about. If you are talking asphalt shingles, then definitely NOT normal - a few might split in installation due to occasional bad nail placement (too close to edge) but should have been replaced at that time.

I am going to guess you are talking shakes, not slats - wood shingles if you will, except shakes are split rather than sawn on at least one side, and are thicker than shingles - typically about 1/4 inch or more at the uphill end.

When the roof was replaced, there should not have been any loose or missing shakes. However, over time (especially in climates with severe sun exposure or alternating wet and dry conditions), some of them will split, generally at the nails - and thin pieces will eventually work their way loose and go missing in winds.

A bit much to go into here - I suggest you google this search term - split and missing shakes - and read the first few articles (except for the one on banana splits - that one make up and drink while reading the rest) on inspection and repair of split and missing wood shingles and shakes.

This is not a disaster, but not more than a few percent of them should be split or missing after only 4 years. However, the roof water shedding system is predicated on the overlapping layers never having gaps (or splits) over the gap between shingles in the next layer below - so some splits may have created this situation, meaning the roof wrap or tarpaper under the shingles could be your only line of defense against water at those small isolated points. In a wet climate that would eventually make for roof deterioration and leaking - in a very dry climate like southern California or the desert southwest it might not cause problems for decades.

I would have it inspected and the split ones replaced (preferably) or renailed and caulked (with bitumastic caulk), and missing ones replaced with new.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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We also have found split and broken slats in our roof, which was reroofed a year ago as the result of hail damage. Slats are the boards that the asphalt shingles are nailed to in older homes that were built before plywood was commonly used as the roof decking. We can see at least one place where the shingles have "bubbled" up on the roof, and the underlayment is beginning to come through the opening in the slat into the attic below. We can see many more places where the slats are broken or split. These appear to be where nails have been shot close to the edge of a board, causing it to split or break. The "bubbled" place looks like a leak in the making and we are concerned about the integrity of the rest of our roof. Has anyone else had experience with this?

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9954436

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Oh - you are talking the battens or roof planks. I can't imagine a roofer these days putting shingles over battens instead of overlaying them with plywood sheathing. OVer full-width planks maybeif fairly tight fitting, but even then you are going to get a fair number of nail skips - just bad practice for anything other than maybe a barn or outbuilding where you don't want to spend the money on the plywood and a few drips do not hurt much.


Anyway, certainly you are going to have splitting of some of them as the shingles are nailed on - and a fair number of misses with the nails into the cracks too, which could be causing your shingle bubbling up issue and unnailed sections of shingle bow up.


I would think the underlayment bulging down through the gaps between the battens could be due to one of two causes - a vacuum being pulled in the attic in heavy winds sucking slack out of the underlayment (though there should not be much slack) and down into the cracks, or water accumulating on top of it (leaking through the shingles) and causing the underlayment to sag due to water ponding on the underlayment - again, there shouldnot have been enough slack to allow that - maybe you have an underlayment that REALLY stretches.


Either way not a great situation, but other than locally pulling up shingles at the bulges and relaying and renailing them so they are actually nailed into wood (putting in new battens from underneath as needed), I don't know what else you could do short of a total reroof - again.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD




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