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Last Revision
February 27, 2017

 

     



roofkey Roofing Guidelines

Revised - This Web Page Updated January 12, 2014

 

 

The roofkey Roofing Guidelines are here to help both the Property Owner and
Roofing Contractor
have a good quality roof installation.  Passing our roof inspections greatly reduces the chance of roof leaks, other roofing problems, callbacks and litigations.

 

We perform Roof Covering and/or above the roof slopes Exterior Wall Covering Inspections to determine if the roof covering and/or exterior wall covering materials and accessories are installed in a workmanship like manner following generally accepted roof covering and/or exterior wall covering standards that not only meet the local City’s/County’s current IBC and IRC Building Codes and their amendments but also the 2012 IBC and IRC Building Codes as well as current ICC Evaluation Services Reports, Roof Covering and/or Exterior Wall Covering Manufacturer’s Association Installation Manuals, and Manufacturer’s Specifications, whichever is more restrictive.

Building Codes and Manufacturer's specifications can sometimes be conflicting and can vary from one area to another.  See Building Code Conflicts web page. 

Each of the roofkey Roofing Guidelines listed below is recognized by one or more City/County Building Departments, however, which roofing guidelines they each recognize varies.  Most all recognize at least 80 percent or more and a some almost 100 percent.

Just because your roof is located in one area does not mean it should be roofed to a lower standard, thereby increasing the chance of developing roof leaks, or other roofing problems, callbacks and possible litigation.

Many Roofing Contractors will bid the roof to the local building code only, just to get the job.  They fail to let the property owner know of the many other choices there are to greatly reduce the chance of problems occurring.  The roofkey Roofing Guidelines below provide property owners with information so they can make the decisions, not the Roofing Contractor, on how they want their roof installed.

The roofkey Roofing Guidelines below are based upon the weather conditions that occur in Colorado that affect and dictate the use of roofing materials and their installation.  These weather conditions are known as the Minimum Building Design Criteria or in this case the Minimum Design Criteria for Roofing.

 

roofkey Minimum Building Design Criteria for Roofing

in the State of Colorado

Local City/County Building Design Criteria for Roofing will be used if more restrictive than what is listed below.  Example might be as you move west and up in elevation the wind speed and the ground snow load criteria increases.

 

roofkey Roofing Guidelines

The roofkey Roofing Guidelines listed below address only some of the roofing materials and/or circumstances that occur with roofing installations.  Failure to follow these roofkey Roofing Guidelines or any other requirements not listed here will result in a correction being written in our Roof Inspection Service Report.

Below are some of the more restrictive requirements taken from the above described Codes, Amendments, Specifications, Manuals, and other Industry Standards that are based upon the weather conditions as listed in the roofkey Minimum Design Criteria.  These weather conditions do affect and dictate the use of roofing materials and their installation.

Property Owners should be properly informed of everything that is listed here in our roofkey Roofing Guidelines web page.  Property Owners should also be informed of the risks involved if they should choose to Opt Out of any of our roofkey Roofing Guidelines that are not required by their local City/County Building Department.  If the Property Owner does elect to Opt Out of any of the roofkey Roofing Guidelines, we will write a Conditional PASS Final Roof Inspection Report.  Our Conditional PASS Final Roof Inspection Report will list any items from our roofkey Roofing Guidelines that were Opted Out of by the Property Owners but will contain the words "However this roof PASSES our Final Roof Inspection because we understand that the Property Owners have Opted Out of the above listed roofkey Roofing Guidelines and/or Corrections/Observations."

Again, Property Owners may Opt Out of some of the roofkey Roofing Guidelines listed below at their own risk that are not required by their Local Building Department.  However, if you, the Property Owner, incur damage as a result of your choice to opt out of any of the roofkey Roofing Guidelines remember it is at your own risk, not the Roofing Contractor's responsibility to fix it.

We highly recommend that you, the Property Owner, do not Opt Out of any of the roofkey Roofing Guidelines even if one or more are not recognized or enforced by your Local Building Department.  City/County Building Departments can and do make mistakes causing litigation between Property Owners or litigation between the Roofing Contractor and the Property Owner.

 

            roofkey Roofing Guidelines General for all Sloped Roof Coverings

  1. Existing Roof Coverings:  Removal of All Roof Coverings down to the Roof Decking including Underlayment is required.

  2. Deteriorated Decking:  The decking must be removed where the decking is water soaked or deteriorated.  Additional decking will be required if the existing decking will not provide a sound, level, and rigid surface.  Example: Old 3/8 inch decking will need to be overlaid with new code approved decking material.

  3. Underlayment:  All underlayments are required to be labeled with the appropriate ASTM numbers.  If using ICC-ES approved "Alternate" Underlayments they must be applied in the same fashion as the Standard Underlayment they are an Alternate for.  If 2 plies of Standard Underlayment are required the 2 plies of the "Alternate" Underlayment is required.

  4. Ice and Water Membrane:  An Underlayment of an ASTM D 1970 Ice and Water Membrane (self adhering polymer modified bitumen sheet) or equal is required at ALL eaves of sloped roofs applied directly to the decking and up the roof slope two (2) feet past the exterior wall line.  As the elevation of the location of the structure increases so does the application of the Ice and Water Membrane extend up the roof slope from the eave.   In the case of a patio cover that has a minimum of three (3) open sides, an Ice and Water Membrane is only necessary three (3) feet up the roof from the eave.  Exception: Detached accessory structures that contain no conditioned floor area do not require an ice and water membrane.

    1. The Property Owner could Opt Out of this guideline if not required by their Local Building Department as long as they understand that there is an increased risk of damage to their structure from moisture getting in due to Ice Damming that may not be covered by their Property Owner's Insurance Company.

  5. Metal Drip Edge:  A metal drip edge is required at the eaves of all roofs.

  6. Fastener Heads:  Fasteners shall be flush with the roofing material's surface, NOT over driven, under driven, or crooked for all roofing materials.

  7. Fasteners:  IRC/IBC approved Corrosion Resistant Fasteners are required with the installation of all roofing materials and accessories including battens.

  8. Weather Exposure:  Maximum weather exposure shall not be exceeded.  Check manufacturer's specifications before installation.  When a staggered installation is performed, the coursing of all roofing materials must be dropped so that the distance between the butt of the lowest roofing material in one course and the highest butt in the course above does not exceed the maximum weather exposure allowed.

  9. Flashing:  All rusted, damaged, or deteriorated roof flashing, vent flashing, metal edging, drain outlets, collars, and metal counter flashing must be replaced.

  10. Exterior Wall Coverings:  Siding, Stucco, Brick or Stone veneer and any other type of exterior wall covering must be kept up off the roof surface a minimum of 1 1/2" for Steep-Sloped Roofing and 12" for Flat Roofing at all rake walls, head walls, parapet walls and chimneys.  Exterior wall coverings of any type cannot be setting down on the surface of the roofing material.  Check with the manufacturer of the exterior wall covering because some, such as James Hardie http://www.jameshardie.com/d2w/best-practices/quick-start-hz5-us-en.pdf, require their fiber cement siding to be a minimum of 2" above the surface of the roof in areas with elevations above 4000 feet.

  11. Through the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing and Vertical Blocking:  (See our web page Roof to Wall Intersections for more information, photos, and drawings.)  A Through the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing and in most cases a Vertical Blocking/Backing piece of lumber are to be used at all Rake Walls, Head Walls, Parapet Walls, and Chimneys for the termination edge of all exterior wall coverings. 

    1. If the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing has not been previously installed: cut the existing exterior wall covering up off the roof deck far enough to allow for the proper installation of the new Through the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing to be installed up behind the existing Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap), if there is any, without damaging the existing Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap).  Cuts must be made straight.

    2. Vertical Blocking/Backing Lumber: is required to be near the thickness of the exterior wall covering but not thicker.   For example, a nominal 1" x 6" piece of Lumber is actually 3/4" and would be used where the exterior wall covering is 3/4" to at most 1" thick.  If the exterior wall covering is 3" thick then the Vertical Blocking/Backing Lumber must be a minimum of 2 3/4" but no more than 3" thick.  The Vertical Blocking/Backing Lumber is fastened directly to the wall and set with the top of the board a minimum of 5 1/2" above the surface of the roof decking on Steep Sloped roof areas for most types of roof Coverings; but a minimum of 6 1/2" for most Clay and Concrete Tile Roof coverings and a minimum of 12" on all Low Sloped/Flat roof areas.  This top edge of the board is what the ledge of the Through the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing sets on.  The Underlayment and Roof Flashing is placed on the outside of the Vertical Blocking/Backing Lumber and behind the Through the Wall (Z bar) Flashing.  The goal here is to move the Roof Flashing out to the same plane as the exterior wall covering to better drain water off the roof and into the gutters without having to use large Kickouts at the Eave to Gutter to Rake Wall Intersections.  (See our web page Roof to Wall Intersections for more information, photos, and drawings.)

    3. Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing: Install the new Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing extending the upper portion of the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing up the wall a minimum of 3".  The Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap) and exterior wall covering is placed over this upper portion of the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing.  If there is no existing Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap) the upper portion of the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing is hand sealed to the wall.  The lower portion of the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing is extended down the face of the Vertical Blocking/Backing Lumber 3 1/2".  The Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing ledge where the exterior wall covering intersects is normally slightly beveled for better water drainage and less chance for the edge of the exterior wall covering to soak up any moisture.  The bottom edge of the Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing is made with a 1/2" flat hemmed kick.

    4.  The Property Owner could Opt out of this Guideline and not use the highly recommended Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing if not required by their City/County Building Department as long as the installation of the Primary Roof Flashing can be properly installed.  The proper installation of the Primary Roof Flashing without installing the highly recommended Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing would require: not damaging the existing exterior wall covering; the Primary Roof Flashing must be installed so that it can be easily adjusted with each course of the roof covering; the Primary Roof Flashing must be properly installed not only behind the existing exterior wall covering but behind the existing Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap).  The above criteria must be met so moisture will be able to drain down the Water-Resistive Barrier (House Wrap) over the Primary Roof Flashing and back out onto the surface of the roof covering as it would if the highly recommended Though the Wall (Z Bar) Flashing were used.

  12. Roof Ventilation:  Proper ventilation as required by the 2012 IBC and IRC is required for all roof installations for both new roof construction and when replacing an existing roof covering.  Some Asphalt Shingle Manufacturer's Warranties could be voided if the underside of the roof decking is not properly vented.  Check structure for Cathedral Ceilings.  Check for a minimum of 1" gap for air flow between the top of the insulation and the underside of the roof decking.  Soffit or Eave Vents may need to be added in addition to Ridge Vents.

    1. "Provide net free ventilation area of not less than 1/300th of the vented space where at least 40% and not more than 50% of the required ventilating area is vented as Exhaust Vents in the upper portion of the Attic or rafter space with the balance of the required ventilation of at least 50% but no more than 60% is provided by eave or soffit vents as intake Vents as is stated in the 2012 IBC and IRC.

  13. Material Defects:  The Roofing Contractor is responsible for culling out all off grade and detectable defects in all roofing materials and accessories.

 

           roofkey Roofing Guidelines for Asphalt Shingles

  1. Layers of Roofing:  The maximum number of layers of roofing is one (1) with Asphalt Shingles in Moderate or Severe Hail Prone Areas such as Colorado.  When one (1) or more layers of roofing exist, all layers of roofing including the Underlayment must be removed prior to the installation of a new roof.

  2. Existing Decking:  New decking overlay is required for asphalt shingles if old existing decking is made of lumber which is larger than 1" x 6" pieces of lumber or if the gaps between the boards are more than 1/8".

  3. Minimum Slope:  The minimum slope is 4:12 for standard single ply underlayment installation.  For slopes above 2:12 and less than 4:12 an underlayment of two (2) plies (lapped 19") of  ASTM D 226 or D 4869 Type I or II  underlayment (commonly referred to as15# or 30# base felt) or equal is required.  Other approved equal underlayments that are ASTM numbered may be used as long as they are also applied in the same two ply fashion.

  4. Primary Step Flashing: Primary Step Flashing must be properly laced with each and every course of shingles.

  5. Metal Drip Edge:  A metal drip edge is required at both rake edges and eaves with Asphalt Shingles.

  6. Number of Fasteners:  A Minimum of six (6) fasteners are required for all strip type shingles.  (Some shingles require 8 nails for higher wind areas.  See manufacturer's specifications.)

  7. Location of Fasteners:  Corrosion resistant fasteners shall be located per manufacturer's instructions and not placed in factory applied adhesive.  Nails must also penetrate both parts of a laminated shingle.  Check manufacturer's specifications and association manuals for the correct placement of nails across the length of the shingle.

  8. Over Driven Fasteners:  Fasteners that have been over driven require the sealing of the over driven fastener head and adding a new properly placed and driven fastener.

  9. Mansard Roof Shingle Fastening:  Mansard roof applications also require the butts of all asphalt shingles to be hand sealed down in addition to six nails for each shingle per the Asphalt Manufacturer's Association Manual.

Call for a roof inspection before shingles are fully and completely sealed down.
This makes it easier to properly inspect the fasteners.

 

           roofkey Roofing Guidelines for Cedar Shakes and Cedar Shingles

  1. Solid Decking:  Is required for Cedar Shakes in Wind Driven Snow Areas.

  2. Minimum Slope:  Minimum slope is 4:12 for cedar shakes and 3:12 for cedar shingles with reduced coursing.  For shake roof coverings over non-living areas with slopes above 3:12 and less than 4:12, an underlayment of an ice and water membrane is acceptable by many in the roofing industry including us and some Building Departments for re-roofing only, but not new construction.

  3. Underlayment/Interlayment:  In addition to the required single ply ASTM D 226 Type II underlayment (commonly referred to as 30# base felt) or equal, an 18"  ASTM D 226 Type II interlayment (commonly referred to as 18" 30# lace felt) is required to be laced in between each course of shakes.

  4. Primary Step Flashing: Primary Step Flashing must be properly laced with each and every course of Shakes or Shingles.

  5. Metal Drip Edge:  A metal drip edge is required at both rake edges and eaves with Cedar Shakes and Shingles.

  6. Shake Placement:  Correct placement of the shakes or shingles is critical.  The maximum gap between the sides for each shake is 5/8".  The maximum gap between the sides for each shingle is 3/8"¯.  The sides of each shake or shingles should never touch.  The minimum side lap is 1 "½" between joints in adjacent courses for all cedar shakes and shingles.

  7. Location of Fasteners:  Corrosion resistant nails shall be placed to the manufacturer's specifications and industry standards, not too high or too low or too far from the sides of the cedar shake or shingle.  See Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau's www.cedarbureau.org specifications.

 

           roofkey Roofing Guidelines for Clay and Concrete Tile

  1. Minimum Slope:  Minimum slope is 3:12 for standard installation of most concrete and clay tile.  For slopes 2 ½":12 to 3:12 an approved flat roofing membrane is required.  The tile and battens are then attached without fasteners penetrating the flat roofing membrane.  However, the minimum slope is only 5:12 for some clay tile.  Always, check with the manufacturer for low-slope application specifications.

  2. Underlayment:  An underlayment of two (2) plies (lapped 19") of ASTM D 226 Type II underlayment (commonly referred to as 30# base felt)is required.  Other ICC-ES approved "Alternate" Underlayments may be used as long as they are also applied in the same two ply fashion.  A single ply of ASTM D 6380 or D 3909 Class M mineral surfaced rolled roofing (commonly referred to as 90 pound granulated rolled roofing) may also be used as an alternative underlayment.  An Ice and Water Membrane that complies with and is labeled ASTM D 1970 applied in single ply fashion may also be used as the underlayment.

  3. Vertical Battens:  Vertical battens or risers of a minimum 3/8" thickness and made of cedar or decay resistant treated wood or other decay resistant materials are required under the horizontal battens and over the underlayment.  (vertical battens are sometimes referred to as wood lath which is generally 1 1/2" wide and 4' long)  The spacing depends on the size of the horizontal battens based on the total roof loads for deflection.  (See manufacturer's specifications.)

  4. Horizontal Battens:  When using nominal dimensional lumber for horizontal battens such as 1 x 2s, 1 x 4s, 1 x 6s, etc. the minimum dimensions are ¾" x 1 ½", ¾" x 3 ½", ¾" x 5 ½" respectively.  It is ok to use lumber that is slightly shy of the minimum dimensions as long as the distance between the vertical battens is narrowed appropriately.

  5. Batten Fasteners:  Corrosion resistant staples with 7/16" crown may be used to fasten down the horizontal battens if the vertical battens or risers are on a maximum of 12" centers.  Greater spacing of the vertical battens or risers requires 8d common corrosion resistant nails.

  6. Field Tile Fasteners:  Corrosion resistant nails or screws with minimum 5/16" heads are required for fastening of filed tile.  Approved fasteners shall penetrate through the horizontal battens but not penetrate the underlayment.  Approved corrosion resistant # 8 screws may be used as an alternate.

  7. Field Tile Fastening:  Each and every Field Tile is required to be fastened down with one fastener if installing lugged tile and two fasteners if installing a non-lugged tile.

  8. Hurricane Clips:  Hurricane clips are required for each tile at all eaves placed near their butts.

  9. Secondary Flashing:  A secondary flashing is required to be roofed into/over the underlayment at all Plumbing, Heat, and Mechanical Vents, Rake Walls, Head Walls, Chimneys, Skylights, Swamp Coolers, Curbs, and any Other Protrusion through the tile roof.

  10. Primary Flashing and/or Weather Blocking Material:  A primary flashing and/or in some cases other approved UV resistant and corrosion resistant materials must be installed over the Field Tile to keep moisture on their surface of the Field Tile as much as possible.  This Primary Flashing and/or Weather Blocking Material is required at all Plumbing, Heat, Mechanical Vents, and along all Rake Walls, Head Walls, Chimneys, Skylights, Swamp Coolers, Curbs, any Other Protrusion through the tile roof or objects setting on the roof and under the Hip & Ridge Trim Tile but over the Field Tile.  This Primary Flashing and/or Weather Blocking Material must be installed fully down on the surface of the Field Tile so that wind driven snow or rain cannot get up under it and under the Field Tile.

    1. From the 1997 Concrete and Clay Tile Roof Design Criteria Manual for Cold and Snow Regions: "Flashing for tile roofs must do more then just keep water out of the building; it must also keep water out from under the tile."  "The tile surface shall be flashed to prevent water from getting below the tile.  This is critical in snow areas since the tile can be lifted by the collection of ice below the tile."

    2. From the 2010 Concrete and Clay Roof Tile Installation Manual for Moderate Climate Regions, "Openings at the Hips, Ridges, and Head Walls including Chimneys, Skylights, Solar Panels, and Down Slope Horizontal Abutments shall be fitted with weather blocking material to keep water on the surface of the Field Tile."  "Step Flashing is typically used in areas where debris can accumulate".

 

           roofkey Roofing Guidelines General for all Flat Roofing Membranes

  1. Layers of Roofing:  The removal of All existing Roof Coverings is required where there exists (2) two or more layers of any type of Roof Coverings.  (1) One overlay over (1) one existing layer of an approved flat roofing membrane is permitted provided the existing Roof Covering's surface has been properly prepared to the manufacturer's specifications.

  2. Minimum Slope:  New construction shall have a minimum ¼" slope and Positive Roof Drainage (no standing water after 48 hours). Re-roofing of an existing structure must also have Positive Roof Drainage (no standing water after 48 hours).  Sometimes extra drains/scuppers and/or crickets will need to be added.

  3. Drains / Scuppers:  Secondary or overflow drains/scuppers are required 2" above the primary drains on all roofs having walls/parapet walls and shall discharge above grade and be independent of primary drains/scuppers.

  4. Ballasted Roofs:  Ballasted roofing membranes must follow the criteria set forth in the IBC and ANSI / SPRI RP-4 for the amount of ballast used in the field, at perimeters, and at corners, etc. depending on the height of the building and its parapet walls and if building is in an A, B, C Exposure.  Depending on Exposure and Height of structure, a ballasted roof system may be prohibited.  (See Section 1504.8 of the 2012 IBC.)

The roofkey Roofing Guidelines above may change in the future as Building Codes, Evaluation Service Reports, Manufacturer Specifications or Manuals evolve.  Also, the above roofkey Roofing Guidelines may change if there is some other new roofing material and/or circumstance that occurs with roofing installations that we become aware of or an existing one rises to the degree of being a major problem.

End of roofkey Roofing Guidelines.

Revised - This Web Page Updated January 12, 2014