Asphalt roof installation

I had a call-back regarding an inspection I did months ago. A Contractor looked at the roof recently and said that the life-span of the roof has been significantly reduced due to the butt joints of the shingles lining up every second row (please see pics attached). The shingles line up every second row fairly consistently through-out the roof.

It is my understanding that this (racking) is an aesthetic issue only not a performance or a life-reducing installation. What is your recommendation and or opinion. Thank you.

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Most shingles have this disclaimer

Shingle offset varies based on the type of shingle specified.
Consult the application instructions for the specified shingle for details.

This is in ever report I publish

I, as an inspector am a generalist and do not claim to be an expert in any one area or field. I was hired to provide a written opinion on the specific items and their function during the time of this inspection only and have signed my name to it.

In the event a qualified licensed contractor or expert disagrees with my statements, in this report, I suggest they provide written documentation supporting their opposition and sign their name to it.


That is just a lazy roofer right there. They should have stepped them out better and made an actual run like you would with a 3 tab. Not only would it look better, but it will last longer. I don’t know why they wear out quicker when put in like this but they do.


Please furnish any documented proof, as racking comes up often.
I’d like to have something to give clients that goes beyond “a cosmetic issue”

Thanks in advance

Do you write up racking in your report?

No, I normally will not write this up.

Barry, I wish I had some pics, but just from working on roofs and seeing some of the stuff I tore off from this kind of install I recognize it. Like I said I don’t know why it wears out quicker but it does , in my opinion. Just seems like they last longer with the joints staggered or stepped out instead of just cutting one shingle which is how you end up with the pattern in the pic.

But I have seen this type of install that also looked fine after 10 years also. So, who knows.

From “Professional Roofing” magazine, by Googling “Racked Asphalt Shingles”.

short excerpt:


Asphalt shingle performances varied greatly. Recently manufactured asphalt shingles (both three-tab and laminated) that appeared to meet current building codes seemed to perform well. However, blow-off of older, lightweight asphalt shingles that did not appear to meet current building codes was common. Also, the performance of asphalt shingles (regardless of age or style) installed by the racked method was noticeably worse than the performance of asphalt shingles installed using a conventional method. (For more information, see “The hurricanes of 2004,” September issue, page 22.)


Always appreciate your info!

As I understood it and the article verifies lack of or poor fastener application was the reason for excessive wind damage not the racking method itself.

I’m not advocating racking, I think it looks horrible and also believe it’s only done to save time and effort, but am looking for definitive proof “normal life expectancy is reduced” so that a client can use to go back on an installer.

Acts of G-d withstanding is normal wear affected, as stated by the contention that has arisen from the original post?

Mark and I really could benifit from this.

I don’t make a big deal out of it.

From the Certainteed Site…Note every other course lines up.

The article did state that the “Racked” shingles were in much greater disarray than the stepped installations.

Thats the closest that I could find for the subject at my immediate disaposal.

Also, the Certainteed and some other brands of shingles, for “Some” of their higher end Luxury shingles actually “Require” them to be installed in the racking method.


That’s what I thought.

My .02 cents
This is a bad install technique, not recommended. If someone were to do this on my roof, I would probably kick him off my job. However, I don’t really know if this shortened the life of the roof. Perhaps if it leaks it would, and this way it is more likely to leak. When I installed roofs, it was every 5 rows the seams lined up with dimensional. (for a while it was 7)
I don’t think they have any leverage against you though, you cannot possible be expected to predict the life expectancy of any roof ( see InterNACHI S.O.P section 2.II.b) I suggest chalking this up to a free learning experience. :slight_smile: