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  1. #1
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    Default Shingle underlayment

    Sorry about the long intro, but I wanted you to know what steps I took before I posted this.

    I received a call from a realtor this morning. I reported that I found no felt underlayment at the eaves (pic included). The roofer allegedly told the agent that the felt paper can start 9" above the eaves. I have never heard that. The agent was dubious about the roofer's statement as well. The roofer has been around for years and apparently always does it this way. This is a mild climate, so no ice dam stuff is required.

    I looked-up 1507.2.8 in the 2007 CBC and got this:

    "Underlayment shall be applied shingle fashion, parallel to and starting from the eave and lapped 2 inches (51 mm), fastened sufficiently to hold in place."

    I do not know what brand/type of shingles used, so I went to the GAF site (hoping that their requirements would be similar) and downloaded one of their installation instructions which stated:

    "Cover deck with one layer of underlayment installed without wrinkles..."
    This is accompanied with a diagram that shows the felt installed to the eaves and over the drip-edge flashing.

    So, my question is: Does anyone have any documentation that refutes mine? Is there anything that states the felt paper underlayment can start 9" away from the eaves?

    Thanks.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I've never seen nor heard that 9" allowance, and every set of manufacturers installation instructions I have seen indicates it needs to run all the way down. I'd have him provide documentation to see where the heck he is pulling this from.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    I've never seen nor heard that 9" allowance, and every set of manufacturers installation instructions I have seen indicates it needs to run all the way down. I'd have him provide documentation to see where the heck he is pulling this from.
    Brandon,

    Yeah, that was what I stated in my email reply. I also provided the documentation. I am curious as to what he is going to say.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I am curious as to what he is going to say.
    "My Great, Great Grandfather learned how to do it that way back home, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and if it was good enough for him..."

    Michael Thomas
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    It is wrong. The most vulnerable part of the roof deck in my climate is the lower edge. The only time the paper can be started higher up is if there is an ice dam or poly strip laid down along the eave.

    Sometimes the old-timer roofers semi-retire and hire green employees to do the work. Could be the case here.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    This is what the NC IRC says. Yours may be different.



    R90S.2.7 Underlayment application.
    For roof slopes from

    two units vertical in 12 units horizontal (17-percent slope),
    up to four units vertical in 12 units horizontal (33-percent
    slope), underlayment shall be two layers applied in the following
    manner. Apply a 19-inch (483 mm) strip of
    underlayment felt parallel to and starting at the eaves, fastened
    sufficiently to hold in place. Starting at the eave, apply
    36-inch-wide (914 mm) sheets of underlayment, overlapping
    successive sheets 19 inches (483 mm), and fastened
    sufficiently to hold in place. Distortions in the underlayment
    shall not interfere with the ability of the shingles to seal. For



    roof slopes of four units vertical in 12 units horizontal
    (33-percent slope) or greater, underlayment shall be one
    layer applied in the following manner. Underlayment shall
    be applied shingle fashion, parallel to and starting from the
    eave and lapped 2 inches (51 mm), fastened sufficiently to
    hold in place. Distortions in the underlayment shall not


    I


    interfere with the ability of the shingles to seal. End laps
    shall be offset by 6 feet (1829 mm).





  7. #7
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I'll start by agreeing that it is 100% wrong and all of the major manufactures (GAF, Owens Corning and Certainteed) use what looks to be the same diagram showing the felt over the drip edge, but.......

    Maybe the roofer is interpreting the code to mean that as long as the felt extends beyond the exterior wall that he is OK because all of the "overhang" is the eave, and the code says starting at/from the eave.


    An eave is the edge of a roof. Eaves usually project beyond the side of the building generally to provide weather protection. Some buildings, such as Craftsman bungalows, have very wide eaves with decorative brackets.
    The word eave can also refer to the lower part of a sloping roof which projects beyond the wall or the soffit.

    I don't know about California, but the thought of roofer in my area thumbing through a code book is pretty darn funny.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Thanks for all the responses. As I said, I had already done a bunch of re-reading and could find nothing to substantiate the 9" claim. I am going to fire back an email suggesting the buyer get a signed letter from the contractor stating that it is Ok and noting the specific references used.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I always love the contractors that state "I've been doing it this way for 20 years" - If I'm in a good mood I'll usually smile and thank them, and then go on to explain they have been keeping me very busy for 20 years


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Gunnar, you are 100% correct. That is NOT how you put on a roof. Any moisture that somehow gets under the shingles will go with gravity,following the felt paper down to where it ends, being emptied at the bottom of the felt, onto the roof deck. I guess his customers should be thankful he didn't start the shingles 9" up also. Curt


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    One other thing on that roofing, it looks like the edge of the OSB will remain exposed. I ran into issues with this on a couple jobs a few years ago. Apparently under some/many/newer standards of homeowner insurance wood sheathing edges at the eaves and rake are not allowed to be exposed. Must be covered by flashing, capping, etc.
    That roofer was really pissed, also a case of 'that's way I've been doing it for 20 years'. Agent wouldn't finalize the new homeowners policy until the sheathing edges were covered. I had to go out and verify. Happened on 2 or 3 jobs, one of the big Insurance providers. Don't remember which one.
    Don't know if that applies in CA though.

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  12. #12
    Thomas Thayer's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Shingle underlayment

    HA, HA! You busted him! What a cheap bastard! I bet he's been telling everyone that the underlayment doesn't have to start until the interior of the house... What, to save a roll of felt per house?.. Did you happen to see his fastener pattern? He is probably skimping on nails as well. Those nails can really ad up, you know???


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Have seen several houses here no underlayment at all.
    Find out just a few years age on a roof and start getting leaks.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Have seen several houses here no underlayment at all.
    Find out just a few years age on a roof and start getting leaks.
    I would bet that the leaks aren't due to the lack of underlayment/ felt.

    ADDED INFO:

    Code aside, Certainteed does not even require shingle underlayment on slopes over 4/12 for their standard roof warranty coverage (Shingle Applicator Manual, 9th addition)

    Last edited by Brandon Whitmore; 10-29-2010 at 06:05 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Code aside, Certainteed does not even require shingle underlayment on slopes over 4/12 for their standard roof warranty coverage (Shingle Applicator Manual, 9th addition)

    Warranty aside for the moment, what Certainteed "recommends" "strongly recommends" or "requires" depends on climate, slope and design. (see attachments).

    More generally, Certainteed "recommends the underlayment be installed but does not require it" at all locations where the it is not mandated in their installation instructions.

    So even when there is no "requirement", IMO a least in my climate "recommends" and even more so "strongly recommends" translates at least into "best practice".

    As in: "Do you want your roof installed as the shingle manufacturer recommends, or are you willing to settle for less?"

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Hello,

    Around here it is called "short sheeting". I have run into a few roofers that specialize in new construction roofing that do this junk. They made up the junk up to save a buck. It is not code compliant or manufacturer compliant. I have gotten them in trouble thru their insurance company because I was evaluating the roof for the insurance company and reported back what I found. They quit doing that practice.

    Damon


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Speaking of "fire back", and in all seriousness and kidding or "warnings" aside, Don't stop at Chap. 15 or shingle installation instructions, for Class A roofing assembly or California Standards for composition shingle roof.

    See Chapter 7A (SFM) , 2009 supplement to the CBC, esp. 704; in addition to Ch. 15.

    This is not C2S Fireblock OSB.

    http://www.fire.ca.gov/fire_preventi...Supplement.pdf

    Requirements date back to 2005, see also eave protection.

    Roof profile allows a space between the roof covering and roof decking, the spaces shall be constructed to prevent the intrusion of flames and embers, be firestopped with approved materials or have one layer of No. 72 ASTM cap sheet protecting combustible decking. No cap is visible, neither is cap sheet. IIRC you've mentioned seasonal winds before.

    Santa Rosa Fire Department, FIre Prevetion Bureau, Information Bulletin 052, Dated October 13, 2006, may also prove helpful ("Construction and Defensible Space Standards Within..."); see last page for your regional Designated Very High Fire Severity Zones Map, as of that date.

    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/doclib/Do...s/IB%20052.pdf

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-30-2010 at 09:23 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Hi (All) &

    Yessirree -- "UNANIMOUS" (for a change) !

    This is only 'correct' in his own small mind...



    CHEERS !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I always love the contractors that state "I've been doing it this way for 20 years" - If I'm in a good mood I'll usually smile and thank them, and then go on to explain they have been keeping me very busy for 20 years
    Yes, The old, "I've been do this for umpteen years and never had a problem" Of course, they never had a problem, they never went back and looked at the result of what they did. There are ripoff contractors accredited at the BBB with an A+ rating. No one bothered to file a complaint

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 11-01-2010 at 09:25 AM. Reason: left out a word
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I was a "Roofer" almost before I was anything else and I have never seen or heard of any appplication which doesn't require felt to start at the eaves.


  21. #21
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    You may request that the roofer provides a warranty statement from the shingle manufacturer stating that this screw up is a valid shingle installation procedure.

    While you are at it, ask him as well for the manufacturer's requirements (for the relevant warranty, of course) for the Ice and Water Shield installation. It might or might not be included in the warranty requirements that ice and water shield to be installed as well as the underlayments.

    Last edited by Joao Vieira; 11-01-2010 at 05:29 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Gunnar,

    Although this is a good discussion and nice to know what manufacturers recommend, it really doesn't matter. You, as the professional home inspector, have done your job and advised the client on what you believe is required and is good practice.

    I don't see any need to try to justify any of your recommendations to anyone else, especially the builder, the owner or the realtor.

    The burden is on them to:

    1. convince the client otherwise.
    2. to fix it.
    3. do nothing.

    Then it is up to the client to sort through all the information and make the decision YA or NAY.

    Is it different in CA? Are you required to substantiate your recommendations by law?

    If not, I wouldn't waste your time.
    (And "by the way" - good catch!)


  23. #23
    Steve Patrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    What utter non-sense. I used to be a General Contractor and roofed hundreds of homes back then. Anyone who does this is either incompetant or simply ripping people off. By the way, no homeowner's insurance policy states what type of flashing has to be on ANY building - just FYI.

    Steve Patrick
    Richardson, TX.


  24. #24
    Frank Suchodolski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Hey Gunnar, did you happen to check if there is "any" underlayment? Because if he can lie to you about that utter BS, then I would spot check the rest of the roof for underlayment.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    It is wrong. The most vulnerable part of the roof deck in my climate is the lower edge. The only time the paper can be started higher up is if there is an ice dam or poly strip laid down along the eave.

    Sometimes the old-timer roofers semi-retire and hire green employees to do the work. Could be the case here.
    Same here in Washington State. The rain hanging on the drip edge will wick-up 9 inches into that OSB. Wonder if the forementioned roofer used to roof grass huts in Haiti?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Suchodolski View Post
    Hey Gunnar, did you happen to check if there is "any" underlayment? Because if he can lie to you about that utter BS, then I would spot check the rest of the roof for underlayment.
    Other than at the eaves and roof penetrations in the attic, any other suggestions about how to do that?

    Michael Thomas
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Gunnar,

    Although this is a good discussion and nice to know what manufacturers recommend, it really doesn't matter. You, as the professional home inspector, have done your job and advised the client on what you believe is required and is good practice.

    I don't see any need to try to justify any of your recommendations to anyone else, especially the builder, the owner or the realtor.

    The burden is on them to:

    1. convince the client otherwise.
    2. to fix it.
    3. do nothing.

    Then it is up to the client to sort through all the information and make the decision YA or NAY.

    Is it different in CA? Are you required to substantiate your recommendations by law?

    If not, I wouldn't waste your time.
    (And "by the way" - good catch!)
    Sorry Ken, but I don't agree because what you are suggesting bare minimum service by the HI (report that something is wrong, and that is it). This only results in confusion and frustration for the Home Buyer (your client) because they have no support from you, they have not "amunition" to fight for those things that may need fixing. At that point your client is heavily invested in the home purchase and unless the problem is catastrophic, most likely they will want the issues fixed rather than walk away. I think one of the things that differentiates a "great" HI from a bare-bones one is the level of service they provide in helping the buyer prioritize the issues and given them the ammo to fight for their case.

    I agree with what the OP is doing; by doing providing this level of info and coming to this forum for additional insight (getting support for his "amunition") he is providing a great level of service to his clients; and I am sure this gets him lots of referals. Sure it may go beyond what is required, but that is what makes him different from the run of the mill HI's out there. He is providng his clients with the means to fight for fixes or price reductions in addition to given his clients peace of mind (at the end of the day, what you sell as a HI is "peace of mind", that is it).

    Kind regards,

    Robert


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I like to think of myself as supplying an "evidence based" inspection and report, for example by including when possible a link to documentation of my opinions - not only is it a good marketing tool, but it cuts WAY down on post-inspection questions.

    Michael Thomas
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  29. #29
    Randy Yates's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Kudos to all of you that even found code references. I 've been under the impression up till this point that there were no code references regarding underlayment applications with the exceptions up North where the climate requires ice dam shield. What I've been telling people is if the manufacturer requires it, then it has to be. I don't know of any composite shingle manufacturers that say you don't need it. As for the 9 inches, wonder where he learned to shingle roofs at? Thanks Gunnar for posting the question! You've brought about some good discussion here!
    Randy


  30. #30
    Frank Suchodolski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Other than at the eaves and roof penetrations in the attic, any other suggestions about how to do that?
    Start with those if you find some underlay there maybe he just cheated at the eaves, otherwise I pull a nail at the butt end of the shingle, when you lift it up with the shingle above it you should see the underlay. I inspect roofs only so I've done it quite often. As home inspectors you should suggest that a roofer do the checks, unless you're good with a flat bar.


  31. #31
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    I am amused already for the usual
    "I have been doing this for 25 years and ...etc, etc..
    .


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Belated follow-up:

    I ended up meeting with the buyer, the selling agent and the roofing contractor. He told me that he had started doing roof installations in this fashion more than 50 years ago when he installed roofs for the U.S. government. Apparently, they had provided him with an installation detail that required the paper to begin after the starter course and he has been doing it that way ever since. "If it's good enough for the government, it's good enough for me."

    He is in his 90s and has a defibrillator implant, so not likely long for this world.

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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Belated follow-up:

    I ended up meeting with the buyer, the selling agent and the roofing contractor. He told me that he had started doing roof installations in this fashion more than 50 years ago when he installed roofs for the U.S. government. Apparently, they had provided him with an installation detail that required the paper to begin after the starter course and he has been doing it that way ever since. "If it's good enough for the government, it's good enough for me."

    He is in his 90s and has a defibrillator implant, so not likely long for this world.
    So ... he is saying that if he has been doing it wrong for 50 years, and that there is no need to keep up with changes in material, technology, and installations (changes which occurred BECAUSE there were previous installation errors, defective products, etc.), that ignorance of those advances is itself a reason not to change???


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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Actually Jerry, it was better than that. He stated that the installation instructions printed on every package of shingles was for homeowners and handymen who did not know how to install shingles properly.

    Wait, what?

    He really did say that.

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Actually Jerry, it was better than that. He stated that the installation instructions printed on every package of shingles was for homeowners and handymen who did not know how to install shingles properly.

    Wait, what?

    He really did say that.
    He's 90 - hallucinogens no longer needed !!!


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Shingle underlayment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Sorry about the long intro, but I wanted you to know what steps I took before I posted this.

    I received a call from a realtor this morning. I reported that I found no felt underlayment at the eaves (pic included). The roofer allegedly told the agent that the felt paper can start 9" above the eaves. I have never heard that. The agent was dubious about the roofer's statement as well. The roofer has been around for years and apparently always does it this way. This is a mild climate, so no ice dam stuff is required.

    I looked-up 1507.2.8 in the 2007 CBC and got this:

    "Underlayment shall be applied shingle fashion, parallel to and starting from the eave and lapped 2 inches (51 mm), fastened sufficiently to hold in place."

    I do not know what brand/type of shingles used, so I went to the GAF site (hoping that their requirements would be similar) and downloaded one of their installation instructions which stated:

    "Cover deck with one layer of underlayment installed without wrinkles..."
    This is accompanied with a diagram that shows the felt installed to the eaves and over the drip-edge flashing.

    So, my question is: Does anyone have any documentation that refutes mine? Is there anything that states the felt paper underlayment can start 9" away from the eaves?

    Thanks.
    Gunnar, here are a few pics from today's inspection of why there should not only be underlayment / felt, but it should over lap the drip edge by 1.25 -1.5 inches. In the 2nd image, the felt doesn't even cover the fascia behind the gutter.

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