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Cracks in Ridge Cap Shingles


Brian G
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Most of the time when I get on a fairly steep roof, all I can do is walk the ridges. Most (if not all) already have cracks in the cap shingles from being bent over the steep angle.

Is this a problem? Are these shingles more likely to fail early and need replacement? What do you gentlemen say about it in your reports?

Brian G.

Getting on 'Em If I Can, Movin' Slow [:-slug]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Most of the time when I get on a fairly steep roof, all I can do is walk the ridges. Most (if not all) already have cracks in the cap shingles from being bent over the steep angle.

Is this a problem? Are these shingles more likely to fail early and need replacement? What do you gentlemen say about it in your reports?

Brian G.

Getting on 'Em If I Can, Movin' Slow [:-slug]

It might be a problem if you don't see the cracks in front of you as you are walking the ridge, but when you start walking back on the return trip and you see them, then "Houston" you might have a problem! [:-jump2]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Most of the time when I get on a fairly steep roof, all I can do is walk the ridges. Most (if not all) already have cracks in the cap shingles from being bent over the steep angle.

Is this a problem? Are these shingles more likely to fail early and need replacement? What do you gentlemen say about it in your reports?

Brian G.

Getting on 'Em If I Can, Movin' Slow [:-slug]

It’s not much of a problem. Depending on how bad they are, they might need to be replaced before the rest of the roof, though.

FWIW, they don’t do this if the roofer takes the time to warm them up enough. I’ve seen some that were installed in winter that were in need of replacement within a year or two. The roofer had installed them while they were icy-cold.

Jim Katen, Oregon

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It's only a matter of time before the roofing manufacturer's come up with special-material 'ridge cap' shingles. The old days are indeed over. Ridge caps and valley shingles crack (fiberglass) and that is that.

I'll bet well see a special shingle for this purpose. Most I see are cracked, too. I simply say 'replace em'. Cracks=UV penetration to the subtrate..."no noguchi" and premature degradation can result. I don't care how 'common' it is, it needs correction.

CYA's boys...CYA's. ... Eventually the roofing manufacturers will respond to the problem...

It is 'their' problem...not ours...

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Per the Certainteed Master Shingle Applicator manual (great book for library).

Requires Immediate Attention: 3 tab- cracking Laminated Shingle-cracking.

There are accessory shingles for some of the Certainteed shingles such as the New Horizon and their Laminated shingles that are sold for capping hip and ridge. They are probably more costly.

We write up all cracked shingles.

Ellen

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Originally posted by E. Burns

Per the Certainteed Master Shingle Applicator manual (great book for library).

Requires Immediate Attention: 3 tab- cracking Laminated Shingle-cracking.

There are accessory shingles for some of the Certainteed shingles such as the New Horizon and their Laminated shingles that are sold for capping hip and ridge. They are probably more costly.

We write up all cracked shingles.

Ellen

The operative word(s) here are missing, i.e., degree of cracking. Of course Certainteed is calling it in their manual; their attorneys likely require it. Then there is the world of roofing & roofing contractors that we must exist in.

If one attends the Certainteed class, it takes about 30 minutes to realize that nothing is being done the way Certainteed thinks/wants/requires it to be done. The class then continues for another 3-4 days, & by the end of it, you are made well aware that the world is completely off axis.

The general disconnect, IMHO, is that very few, if any, individuals in the home inspection profession have any practical experience w/ roofing (or any other aspect of actually building stuff), i.e., no one has any sense of tolerances. If one spends just a few hours nailing down ridge caps, one learns very quickly just what tolerances are acceptable. Without that knowledge, one is left to analyze via the manual, which pretty much consigns all installations to the garbage pile.

Since our report SOP requires us to not just note the defect, but inform the client as to what it means, & as to what appropriate action is necessary, where does one reasonably go w/ "cracked" ridge caps?

Following the instruction manual is certainly safe, & provides maximum CYA, but excessive CYA always leads to mushy reports, & ultimately to the pedantic.

Spend some time nailing off ridge caps, & this question (more or less) answers itself.

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I tend to think there's not much to this because I've never even heard of anyone replacing the cap shingles before the rest of the roof (until Jim said he had). I threw it out here anyway just to see, because unlike what I always tell Mrs. Brian, I have been wrong before. [:-hspin]

I've only written it up once, on a very steep roof with more cracking than typical. I wonder now if they were put on in the dead of winter. I think pre-bent or extra-limp cap shingles would make a lot of sense on these roofs, but then you're talking more difficulty in manufacturing, stocking, etc., i.e. more money. We can't have that, merely for the sake of higher quality and value! [:-indifferent]

Brian G.

Keepin' It Real, Dogg [:-doggy]

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Kurt,

A couple of questions so I understand.

Why do the roofing manufacturers and manufacturers of other products put certain items in their manuals, instructions etc? Why would they have to cover themselves if it is not a problem and not a potential problem?

Have you ever used the "accessory shingles"? Do they manufacturer those to avoid the cracking and the exposing of the substrate at the ridge shingles.

I don't see anything wrong with saying," this typically happens because..........". But, I believe that it is the inspectors job to report it and explain it. Then let the client have the opportunity to do what they will. Our clients are smart and understand this stuff when explained.

Ellen

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Ellen,

Not too many roofs are applied with an unerring adherence to MFG's guidelines. All it takes to void a warranty is a few "cheater" courses to account for an out of square roof. Even if those courses are on the opposite side of the house where the failure is, chances are they void the warranty. The guidelines are for the MFG's benefit and work to exclude probably 75 percent of all installations from warranty liabilities.

At least that's what I think.

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Originally posted by E. Burns

I don't see anything wrong with saying," this typically happens because..........". But, I believe that it is the inspectors job to report it and explain it. Then let the client have the opportunity to do what they will. Our clients are smart and understand this stuff when explained.

The first part of that sounds reasonable enough, but without a clear recommendation I doubt if most clients will know what to do...I don't. I can always call for further evaluation I suppose, but I'd rather not if it isn't really neccesary. Too many roofers I've seen will find the need for work on any roof you put them on (asking the fox if there's any need to eat a few chickens). [:-mischievous]

Brian G.

Don't Mind Me, Just Thinking Out Loud [:-bigmouth]

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Originally posted by E. Burns

Brian,

We do make the recommendation to replace those shingles, when the substrate is exposed.

Here in the Hot Hot South we very rarely (maybe twice a year) see the cracking to the ridge shingles.

Hopefully Kurt can give us some insight into the assessory shingles.

Ellen (F.O.K.)

The accessory shingles I am aware of are "starter" shingles, hip & ridge cap shingles, & a couple other products that I've never worked with.

The hip & ridge accessory shingles are coordinated to be compatible in color and design w/specific Certainteed lines, i.e., same color, reveal, texture, or whatever. The units come in bundles, are pre-formed, & provide a very nice finish to ridges & hips.

I've seen them on 2-3 residential roof systems, all extreme high end installations. As an industry "standard", they don't seem to exist in my market (Chicago).

99% (or thereabouts) of all installations I see use the same tabs for ridges as the rest of the roof; a laborer sits for hours & cuts them by hand on a jig. Seemingly an expensive manner to obtain ridge & hip caps, but apparently cheaper than the Accessory shingles.

The Accessory shingles, due to pre-forming, are vastly superior to hand cut tabs; cracking is essentially eliminated.

While not wishing to condone "cracked" ridgecaps, I am a realist. Triple coverage ridges have to be nearly non-existent to leak; minor cracking just doesn't do anything. Yes, it can accelerate, degree dependent on cracking, i.e., what's major & what's minor.

As an aside, what about ridge vents? There is an open space approx. 1" wide running the length of the roof on both sides of the ridge. Is this a potential leakage location? Not according to the mfg. According to Certainteed, a cracked shingle is a problem, but not a ridge vent. Do you get my drift here?

It is helpful to have some hands on experience w/ the product if one wishes to convey meaningful information to their client. Reiterating the contents of a mfgs. instruction manual can be very pertinent w/ certain products, but in the case of ridge cap shingles, I'm not sure it is useful information in all cases.

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Originally posted by E. Burns

We do make the recommendation to replace those shingles, when the substrate is exposed.

Here in the Hot Hot South we very rarely (maybe twice a year) see the cracking to the ridge shingles.

Fair enough on the recommendation. Do you know if anyone actually does it? Just wondering.

When you say "south" is that latitude only, or cultural as well. I'm told the lower 1/2 or 1/3 of the state is about as "Southern" as New York or Havana. Last time I was in Tampa I heard the phrase "up in the South" (big S).

Kurt, thanks for the info and perspective. I'll have to slip around and see if I can get a look at some of those accessories somewhere.

Brian G.

Up in the South

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I don't see 'organic-mat' ridge shingles cracking 'routinely'....it's the 'fiberglass-mat' shingles that do. Organic-mat shingles tend to put up with more radical flexing.

Same for valley shingles. However, ridge-cap shingles could leak (no impermeable membrane) to roof but valley shingles 'might not' due to the membrane (if present).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay,

As posted the caps are three layers, manufacturers find miniscule installation variants to exclude warranty,and cutting 60' of caps takes about 15 minutes! These cracks are not a concern unless when in the attic, you can see daylight! Valleys are different for obvious reasons. If you feel thje need to say something, ther is roof cement in a tube that will fill the crack and still look good

Ralph

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For 26 years, I've used a fairly simple test.

Is it right or wrong, as it is right now??

Do I like you well enough to want to back and pay for a new one if this WHATEVER GOES FLOP IN THE NIGHT or someone else points it out to you?

If the answer to either question is NO - I report it. Reporting it does not always have to be a REPAIR. It can be a simple statement like:

"We noted that some of the composition shingle ridge caps are starting to split. In our opinion no repair is needed at this time, but we suggest monitoring them on an ongoing basis. If the shingles or their condition deteriorates repairs may be needed".

Dan Bowers, CRI

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"We noted that some of the composition shingle ridge caps are starting to split. In our opinion no repair is needed at this time, but we suggest monitoring them on an ongoing basis. If the shingles or their condition deteriorates repairs may be needed".

Dan Bowers, CRI

________________________________________________

"On-Going basis"??? What, about every 10 minutes or so? Any longer, you might miss the time they actually split open. Who should monitor....Client up on the roof?....hire a roofer every so often? I might write this up a tad different ("Replace split shingle tabs.").

"Starting to split"???...they're split, or they're not. Reminds me of a Client who called... their expert HVAC guy said their heat exchanger was "starting" to crack (& I musto missed)....he thought they should get a new furnace. I re-inspected...no crack, but told them to call me when it REALLY "started" to crack.

Sarcasm...?...a bit, but 3 Crown Royals to the wind. And would still call a split/crack a split/crack.

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Maybe I didn't make the point clear enough - everything in a house does not need repair right now.

Example: (1) The paint has started to get a little thin and will need painting in the near future - monitor this condition. (2) The ridge caps have started to crack, monitor them in the future - if the surface cracks don't keep going, no repair is needed in my opinion (you've got a wrinkle on your brow - should you get a facelift because of that).

(3) The ridge caps are split open all the way through down to the black felt felt below - repair or replacement is needed at this time.

Dan Bowers (KC)

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