I was amazed to discover only wood under the shingles of my house, which
was redone about fifteen years ago.
A neighbor said several roofers have told him that's the best way to do
it, and he intends to nail his shingles directly to his planks in the
future. Roofers have told him roofing felt shortens the life of
shingles by causing them to get hotter in the day.
I don't believe the felt makes shingles hotter, but I wonder about
moisture. Is it possible that in some circumstances, the layer of felt
can make shingles more hospital to fungi?
Has anyone else heard the theory that it's better to skip the felt?
The original roof on my house (Central Ohio, 1973) had no felt; after
32 years, four plywood panels had to be replaced with the
new roof. I don't know if that's a lot or a little. The roof itself
held up pretty well. The new roof has 15# felt.
Bottom line is to go with what the manufacturers say. I have never
seen a bundle of shingles that didn't say right on it to use felt along
with specific instructions on how the felt is to be applied.
I've also heard the theory that the world is flat.
The NY State Residential Code, based on the IRC with some minor
revisions, requires underlayment. The manufacturers of every roofing
shingle I've ever run across require underlayment.
Who exactly are these roofers that know more than the manufacturers and
feel they can ignore code?
I inherited the house my parents had inherited from my grandparents.
Fifteen years ago they hired the roofer my grandfather had once hired.
I think the roofer once had a good reputation, and his family still does.
The first time it snowed, my parents had leaking and found that he had
violated the building code. He would not make repairs until they hired
Ever since, there have been occasional leaks in several rooms. They're
hard to trace because they happen only under certain conditions
(presumably wind direction and speed).
A week ago I discovered a hole in my roof. That's when I discovered the
roofer had not used felt. Near the peak, between the chimney and the
eave, the roofer had put in short planks without nailing them. They had
fallen against the soffit, leaving enough of a dip for the shingles to
leak. Down at the valley, the water from that leak had for fifteen
years been rotting planks, rafters, and shingles.
I can't complain to the roofer. He ended up driving a taxi. He was
murdered one night. The killer was assumed to be a robber. Maybe he
was a homeowner.
When I mentioned the lack of felt to my never-wrong neighbor, he told me
many roofers have told him that's the best way to do it. Should I ask
his wife to tape a shingle over his mouth?
My roof has a 6-in-12 pitch. I plan to reroof myself. Does roofing
felt provide decent footing? (Shingles with loose grit underfoot can
make a guy a little uneasy.)
6/12 is a walker, no big deal. Don't get nervous and don't make the
mistake beginning rock climbers make. If you lean into the roof,
you're putting outward force on your feet. Stay upright, wear the
right footing, tie yourself off if your feel better or use a chicken
ladder (not really necessary). Or you can use roof jacks.
If it's hot out the building paper rips more easily, so you want to
make sure it's well stapled. Try to work in the shade or cooler parts
of the day if possible.
My BIL has exprience with shingles and will help me. He's busy, so I
want to do as much as possible alone. If a staple hammer is a stapler
swung like a hammer, he has one. He used nails to patch my roof with
felt, so maybe he doesn't know about stapling felt as mentioned below.
Stapling sounds faster than nailing. What size staples should be used?
How should they be positioned? If his staple hammer isn't available,
would a stapler work?
My BIL's roof is probably 6/12. Years ago I helped him put metal on the
north slope. Then I painted it with three coats. Then I installed and
maintained an antenna mast, including lowering the mast to work on the
amplifier. At that pitch, traction on the metal was unreliable, but I
didn't mind because the roof broke to a lower pitch below. Traction on
the shingled south slope began to worry me as the shingles deteriorated.
Don't you have to kneel, sit, or lie to work? A neighbor redid his
12/12 roof fifteen years ago. He used a piece of foam rubber for
comfort and traction. It's rolled up on the joists of his garage. Is
foam that old reliable for roof work?
In stepping off the eave onto a ladder a slip could be disastrous.
Having the ladder long enough so I can stay upright and grab it near
shoulder height seems to make the stepoff more foolproof. Where else is
it important to stay upright?
I suppose soles shouldn't be stiff or slippery. Are there other requirements?
What's a chicken ladder? I have used a rope when working near eaves.
I like the idea. It would also provide a place for tools and bundles of
shingles. Afterward, are the nail holes sealed with roofing cement?
In summer I try to stay out of the sun from 9 AM to 6 PM, or at least 10
to 5. That still leaves time for lots of shingles. Is nailing still
the best way? Using asphalt to stick a nail to the face of the hammer
sounds like a time saver. (My BIL told me that trick.)
The whole roof is about 20 squares. For now we're thinking of doing a
section of five squares, separated by peaks from the rest of the roof.
Does that sound good?
These are not your daddy's Arrow 50 staples. Roof staples are a lot
bigger and shot with a pnumatic gun. If you live in a place where the
wind blows don't use staples!
They are not even legal in Florida these days.
You are correct if referring to staples used to fasten the -shingles-.
A standard t-50 tacker or swing tacker with standard staples is
sufficient for the tarpaper. I haven't seen any roofer using a
pneumatic gun for fastening the paper.
The roofer was formerly an ex-con and a used car salesman. Some
people will say anything to save a buck They save the cost of a few
rolls of felt, a few nails, and an hour of labor. Of course the
homeowner still pays full price for the job. Felt has been used since
men moved out of caves. I'd tell that lying son of a bitch roofer
where to go, and also call City Hall, ask for the building inspections
dept., and report these crooks for fraud. Then tell your neighbor
he's been a victim of a scam.
On Sat, 09 Jul 2005 18:08:07 -0400, Choreboy
FWIW, I put an addition on my home about 16 years ago. At the time, I
used some fiberglass shingles - I'm not going to mention the brand
because I am not certain I remember it correctly. The manufacturer
said to NOT use felt. It was a big mistake. They began to leak at 10
years (they were 25 year shingles) and I ended up stripping the thing.
I re-roofed with IKO 30 year architectural asphalt shingles and put
Grace Ice and Water Shield under the entire thing.
On the main part of the building, I had Bird asphalt shingles which
were supposed to be 20 year shingles. They had been applied over
felt. It's interesting to note that at 25 years, they still didn't
leak at all.
As far as I'm concerned, any roofer who tells you not to use felt is
simply wrong (a more polite way of saying what others have already
told you). It doesn't raise the surface temperature - how could it,
as it's buried under two layers of shingle? It offers limited
protection, though. If you're in the North and have the money, you
can use Grace or Bithuthene under all of it. If not, you ought to use
it at least on the edges, as it provides a water seal even without a
Were they cedar shingles? The Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau says felt
isn't usually used for shingles.
"Although not commonly used, a breather-type underlayment, such as
roofing felt, may be applied over either solid or spaced sheathing."
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