How to Identify a Poorly Installed Roofing System
May 11, 2023

Most homeowners are unlikely to climb onto a roof to ensure their roofing job is satisfactory. But there are some visible signs that your roofer didn’t do a good job that you can often spot without climbing onto your roof. Here are some of those ways to identify a poorly installed roofing system.


Chances are that leaks may be one of the reasons you hired a contractor for a roof replacement in the first place. If you have leaks in your house or water stains in the ceiling after a new roof is installed, that’s a significant sign that your roofer didn’t do quality work.  

Missing Shingles

Another sure way to identify a poorly-installed roofing system is when you spot shingles that are no longer there because they were blown right off your roof. However, remember that in some areas where higher winds are common, missing shingles may not necessarily mean your roofer did a lousy job. Shingles are classified by their ability to withstand wind. Most shingles can withstand speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. Higher Class H shingles can typically withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Your roofer should install the appropriate class of shingles for your area, but even that isn’t a guarantee that a strong storm won’t tear some of your roof. But, generally, outside of unexpectedly powerful storms, your shingles should stay in place once installed. If they don’t, they may not have been installed correctly. 

Poorly Sealed Flashing

You can sometimes tell from the ground that shingles around chimneys or vents were improperly sealed. Sometimes gaps or cracks are visible without climbing onto the roof. These gaps or cracks allow water to seep under the shingles to the roof deck and cause damage. Shingles with poorly sealed flashing are also prone to loosening and becoming damaged. They can be the result of flawed installation or reused flashing.

Additionally, a drip edge diverts water from the fascia into the gutters. A poorly installed drip edge can impede a roof’s drainage and allow insects into the home if the drip edge is covering any gaps. Some instances of poorly-sealed flashing are not visible from the ground, so having your roof inspected is necessary.

Buckling & Curling

When shingle roofs are not installed properly, they can begin to buckle and curl, appearing as if they are being pushed up from underneath. Not using enough nails or using the wrong size or type can cause shingles to buckle or curl. Shingles that have not been stored properly before installation can also be prone to buckling and curling.

An Uneven Roof

Another way to identify a poorly-installed roofing system is to check for uneven spots in your roof, often visible from the ground. A qualified roofer will address an uneven roof when installing any roofing system. Uneven roofs not only impact the appearance of your home but can also affect the performance of roofing materials and lead to improper drainage or ventilation, shortening the roof’s lifespan. 

Tips for Avoiding a Bad Roof Installation

You can take steps to avoid the cost and frustration of dealing with a poorly-installed roofing system. Hiring an experienced roofing contractor can save you a lot of stress and expense. Here are some things to look for when hiring a roofing contractor.

  • Check for licenses and insurance —Any responsible roofing contractor will have a current license and be covered by insurance that will protect you from any accidents or damage that might occur during the job. If a roofing contractor has no license or insurance, that should be a major red flag that you may not be dealing with a professional. 
  • Hire experienced roofers — You may have a friend or family member offering to save you money by doing your roofing job for you. But a quality roof is a vital part of protecting your home. Ensuring that it is installed by an experienced roofing company with the expertise to handle various roofing projects will help ensure the job is done right and you don’t spend more money on roofing costs by hiring someone to fix work that was done incorrectly. 
  • Check for references — A reliable, experienced roofer should have a track record of doing an excellent job for other customers and should be able to provide you with references of customers willing to give them a testimonial. Speaking with other customers can give you an idea of what it’s like to work with a roofer before you hire them.
  • Check online reviews — Online reviews can also give you a sense of how happy a roofer’s customers are. However, keep in mind that online reviews tend to sway toward unhappy customers, so they may not give you an accurate assessment of how good a roofer is. But even if the reviews are negative, you can learn a lot about a roofer by how they respond to their reviews. Are their responses courteous, professional, and prompt? If so, then that’s an indicator that the roofer cares about their customers and is willing to provide them attention and service when something goes wrong. That’s an essential trait for any roofer. 
  • Ask about warranties/guarantees — A qualified roofer should be willing to stand by the workmanship of his contractors by providing customers with a warranty or guarantee that covers their work. If something goes wrong with your roof repairs, you want to be sure they will be there to fix it and understand what circumstances will be covered by your warranty. How long a warranty lasts for materials depends on the material. Some roofing materials are warrantied for 20 years or more, while others can have warranties for as many as 50 years. It’s essential to ask about the warranties on materials your roofing contractor uses. 

Schedule a Roof Inspection With ALP Roofing Today!

Knowing how to identify a poorly installed roofing system isn’t always easy. The visual indicators above are good signs to look for, but they aren’t a substitute for having your roof inspected by a qualified professional. Because of the cost of replacing a roof, it’s a job you want to make sure is done right. 

If you see any of the signs above or suspect your roofer didn’t do a good job, don’t hesitate to schedule a repair before any damage worsens. ALP Roofing is a family-owned and operated company that provides residential roof replacement in Bel Air, MD, and the surrounding areas. Our highly-trained inspectors know how to identify a poorly-installed roofing system for different types of roofs and can locate the cause of any problems — causes you may be able to see and those you may not be able to see. Contact us today if you need a roofing inspection or repairs due to improper installation or storm damage in Harford County, MD.