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Podcast: Why Do I Need A Shake “Specialist”? Don’t All Roofers Do Shakes?

Posted August 26, 2017 by Daniel White

In this episode, Daniel talks about the difference between a roofer who knows how to get on a roof with a nail gun and replace a couple shakes, versus one who knows how to properly replace or install them. It’s the difference between going to a general practitioner for your health condition, versus seeing a specialist. If you have a shake roof, you want a shake specialist.

Podcast Transcription: RoofLifeB025-186

 Shayla: Welcome to the Roof Life of Oregon podcast. I’m talking with Daniel today. Daniel, let’s talk a little bit about shakes in Oregon. Roof Life of Oregon, you are shake specialists. Would you agree with that?

Daniel: Absolutely. We’ve been doing roof maintenance for over thirty-five years now and we’ve been doing it for a long time, and we started in shakes. That was our number one. Obviously, the market changes, and composition comes along and there’s more things that you can do with roofs, so we do all varieties of roofs, but shake is where we started. We know it like the back of our hand. There are other contractors, there are roofers that do roofing, and, yeah, I do roofing, so I can do shakes also. Or you have other contractors that are shake specialists. But there are multiple different styles of roofs out there.

Shayla: What are you seeing when you go out for maintenance on roofs? Are you seeing contractors that have done shake roofs incorrectly?

Daniel: Absolutely. I looked at a roof just this week. The homeowner called us out for a well care check. She has a beautiful shake roof. She said, hey, I just want to see what we need to do to keep this thing going. So I climb up, get a good look at the roof, and I can see the past repairs. You can see the newer shakes versus the older ones, especially if the roof has not been treated. Once it’s been treated, they do a good job of blending everything together and it’s a natural product, you don’t see it. But if it hasn’t been treated, they stand out like a sore thumb until that’s done. So I climb up on the roof and I can see the past repairs and I’m thinking, okay, we’ll inspect those while we’re here. When we’re looking at a shake roof, we’re looking at erosion holes, split shakes, missing shakes. Erosion hole is where the wood has worn away between the two shakes, and I can see the felt paper. Those would want to come out and you’d want to replace them. So that’s what the past roofer was trying to repair. Unfortunately, this particular roof, this guy must not have been a shake specialist. He must’ve been just a regular roofer because all the repairs were wrong.

There’s a specific way that you want to put a shake repair together. The old shake comes out, the new shake goes in, and there’s a specific place the nails need to go to make sure that they’re secured and that no water’s going to get to them. This contractor clearly didn’t know that, so some of the nails, where the two shakes come together, the new shake goes in between and that keyway where there’s a spot open, he put the nail right there. The problem with that is, that’s where the water travels. So the keyways where all the water’s going to funnel right over the top of that nail. That was on of the problems that he was doing. The other one, he was missing what’s called the skip sheeting. So underneath a shake roof, there are wood slats. All the shakes go onto those wood slats. And there’s a gap to allow them to breathe. So there’s a slat, a gap, a slat and gap. You need to hit the slat with the nail. If you don’t, you’re nailing into basically paper. There’s no holding power.

Well, when I got up to this roof, I started looking at it, I could physically pull his shakes back out. All the ones that had nails in them, because they were nailed to nothing. So not only does she need to have the repairs done on the erosion holes, and the parts and pieces that normally happen with wear and tear and weather, we also have to re-repair the past repairs. So she hired a contractor that may call themselves a better value or may cost less, but now she’s going to pay double that price to correct the past repairs.

Shayla: So it may be a good idea, if someone has had a shake roof installed in Portland, if it wasn’t Roof Life of Oregon in the first place, don’t you think should call you just to make sure everything is working properly on their roof?
Daniel: Absolutely. We do well care check on roofs that have just been put on. One year later, hey, we want to get our roof looked at. We’ll look at those. Hey, we just had our roof repaired, will you come out and take a look and give us a well care check? Absolutely. We’ll take a look at it. One of the other tricks that roofers like to use is the bundle charge. So when you get to a roof, there are a certain amount of shakes that need to replaced after ten, fifteen, twenty years. And there’s a little trick that they like to use on homeowners called a bundle. And so, they’ll tell the homeowner, well, you need one, two or three bundles of material. Well, homeowner doesn’t know how many individual shakes are in that bundle. They use it because there’s no way of you verifying what they did. I actually had a client say, well, the last contractor said I needed three bundles. And I asked her, “Do you know how many pieces are in a bundle?” “Well, no.”

We use spots. If I say you need 350 spots, that’s how many spots we’re going to replace, rather than this blind bundle number. If you really wanted to check us, you could put a ladder up or binoculars and you could count the spots. Yep, there’s 350, rather than going by bundles. So give us a call. We’ll get out there, we’ll look at it, we’ll tell you exactly what the roof needs.

Shayla: Alright, so if you have a shake roof on your home that wasn’t installed by Roof Life of Oregon, give them a call. Like Daniel said, they can do some well care maintenance, make sure everything is installed properly so that you don’t end up paying more in the long run. If you have any questions about anything Daniel spoke about today, reach out to the team at Roof Life of Oregon. Thanks, Daniel.

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