Today’s building code question.
“Do most recent codes (since 2003) require that asphalt roofing shingles be installed with nails as opposed to staples?”
Here is what the code says:
(2003 IRC) 905.2.5 Fasteners.
Note the date of this code—2003—we are now three whole code cycles past this date.
“Fasteners for asphalt shingles shall be galvanized steel, (or) stainless steel, ………. with a minimum 3/8-inch diameter head………” (The applicable parts selected out for use here.)
There used to be a lot of problems with shingles blowing off roofs prior to these changes in the code. As an inspector, it can be difficult to determine how asphalt shingles are attached because they can be stuck down so well. On a recent inspection I noticed that most of the roof penetration flashings were attached with staples—-as were some of the ridge cap shingles that were the last to be installed. This is often an indicator of the type of fasteners used throughout the roof installation and when I see staples on a new roof I am for sure going to see what they were attached with overall.
Since this roof was less than a couple of weeks old I knew that this was unusual and therefore I had to get a little more aggressive in determining what types of fasteners were used overall on the roof.
I was surprised and perplexed to find that the entire roof appeared to be improperly attached with staples. This leads to a variety of questions—-all revolving around “WHY.”
No self-respecting licensed roofing contractor would use staples any longer. This compels one to speculate that the roof was installed by “unlicensed” roofing contractors, or “Uncle-Harry-and-the-Kids.”
Either way what do I tell my buyer?
a. “You have a nice new roof.”
b. “You have a nice new roof that ‘may’ suffer wind damage in the future.”
c. “You have a nice new roof that has not been installed to code and ‘may’ suffer wind damage in the future.”
d. “You have a nice new roof that may or may not be under warranty, and it was not installed to code and ‘may’ suffer wind damage in the future—-then again it may not.”
I settled for option “d,” but that does not tell the whole story.
The problem I have with this type of defect is that it is a brand new $7,000, 30yr roof that has been installed, “not to code.” Without getting into the whole argument of what a poor choice of a roof covering asphalt shingles are—-do we have it ripped off, thrown in the dump and replaced with another roof covering just like it—–just because it has the wrong fasteners?
Why not perhaps get a credit of some amount from the seller for the faux pas but let the roof go until it fails—if it fails—to at least get some use out of it?
This particular one was thrown in the dump.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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