Roofing/Siding contractor fails to replace flashing!
Earlier we posted the article on the poor chimney flashing done by this contractor on a home in Brookfield, WI. It is important to note that the contractor hired to do this work did both phases. The roof was done first and then the siding later. We might have a different opinion (or at least be less critical) had two different contractors been hired for each phase. When looking at an exterior renovation project, the whole scope needs to be considered. Insulation, ventilation and flashings are often overlooked because these facets add to the cost and difficulty of the project. This shouldn’t prevent the contractor from educating the customer, nor does it absolve him of the responsibility to do so. Let the customer choose.
Now, since this contractor was responsible for both phases, lets look at the workmanship. In this picture we see the old step tins left in place. There was an opportunity to replace them with the new roof and again with the siding. More difficult – yes. Vitally important – also yes. The customer had problems in this area with leaking. No wonder – the spacing integrated with the shingles is wrong. The existing step tins were installed with a shingle that had a different exposure than the new roof. The improper spacing resulted in leaks which the contractor fixed with ??? You guessed it – caulk. Do your best, caulk the rest… We don’t think so. Proper step shingle flashing does not leak even in heavy rains. To make matters worse, the step tin flashing has large gaps (see the green arrows).We were alerted to this when looking in the attic space at the insulation levels. We could see day light coming through were the roof and wall met. The customer was surprised and commented on the leak problem. What about that fix, though. The contractor could see the problem, yet he chose to just squirt some caulk rather than to fix the job he had been already paid to do. Replacing these step tins with new ones that color matched to the shingles would have resulted in a much better job technically and aesthetically.
Take a look around the corner at the wall apron flashing. We have lifted the new flashing slightly to photograph, but the original gap was very noticeable. The old flashing was left in place with the roof replacement. When the siding was redone, again the old flashing was left in place. A new, thin, aluminum flashing was applied over the top. It would have been almost no effort at all to remove the old flashing with the siding off. With expansion and contraction, the old flashing has worked loose and is buckling the thin, new flashing. A definite leak spot with wind driven rain and snow. This is a key spot to improve a home’s performance as is the case with the upper picture as well. Proper underlayments such as ice and water barrier can be extended from the roof plane up the wall. Then the exterior house wrap can be brought down over the ice/water shield and wall apron flashing and taped into place. The result is a much tighter seal with less air infiltration and less likelihood of leaking from wind driven rain and snow. This flashing should have been fabricated from the same metal that the chimney (see previous post) was fabricated from. This metal is much thicker and appropriate for the wall apron flashing application. This thin aluminum is what is used to wrap the fascia and window trim.
How can you protect yourself from workmanship like this?
I sound redundant, but ask questions and ask to see pictures of their work (including detail work like chimney and other roof flashings). Let the contractor know you would like to take pictures of the progress. When you see something that doesn’t appear correct – ask the contractor to explain it. If it doesn’t pass the smell test, don’t settle. Talk to the building inspector. Ask to see what the roofing manufacturer recommends. Then decide. You can always call us. Our consultation fee is a lot less expensive than the repairs that could result from letting the contractor have his way.
Or have us come in at the outset. We can educate you and write a plan of action to use when interviewing prospective contractors. Put our years of experience to work for you. When you are ready to take that step, please give us a call.