9yr roof with multiple recurring leaks

I have an architectural shingle roof that is about 9 or 10 years old (roof was replaced before I bought the house). I have been experiencing multiple leaks for the past 5 years. These leaks aren’t in valley or around flashing, they are often in the middle of a field of shingles. During my repairs I’ve found the that installer did a sloppy nail job and quite frequently nailed below the nail strip, not to the point that the head is exposed, but as the shingle moves from temperature changes, water is wicking under the shingle edge and through the nail holes that are right under the edge. My whole roof (ranch, 2500 sq ft, 4/12 pitch) was done like this.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone up to separate a shingle and seal the nails…it seems like a weekly occasion. The fear of leaks has given me an obsessive/compulsion complex…every time it rains I’m up in the attic checking for leaks and then up on the roof at the next opportunity trying to fix. I lose sleep over this :cry:

Most of the leaks are not dripping water…they are wetting the 1X6 wood board sheathing.

The dilemma…water and wood usually don’t mix well, but am I over-worrying about the boards getting wet during each rain storm?
Can I stop fretting about the seeping leaks that wet the sheathing and worry only about the ones that drip?

My wife thinks that many homes have leaks that wet the sheathing or drip because of the thousands of nails that go into a roof…not all of them can be set perfectly. She thinks that most homeowners don’t know or care about it because they aren’t crazy enough to run up to the attic during every rain storm. She is getting really tired of going into the attic and knocking on the leak areas with a stick while I’m on the roof…

Have any of you experience with long-term seeping leaks and whether or not I need to fix them all or leave them alone?


It sounds like the problems will never end until the roof is re-done professionally. The older the roof gets this kind of problem will only worsen. The roof may not be level and the water is entering where two shingles fit together and probably not wicking back underneath as you stated. Did they install the architects over another roof?

I’ve seen this many times where an architectural shingle is improperly installed over another roof on a low slope 3-5 on 12 and it leaks due to being unlevel. Water must continue downward or you have a problem. They could have also placed nails right where two shingles fit together or near it. Or the shingles may not be offset properly. ( Each shingle should be offset 5 inches or more from the one below and above it ) A roof can need to be replaced due to a bad installation. In that case the age of the roof doesn’t matter.

Hey NavyGuy. First and foremost, I’m not a roofer. I’m a homeowner and the guys in here have forgotten more about roofing than I’ve ever known so take anything I say here with a grain of salt.

Having said that, I had a very similar occurrence with my roof several years ago . My roof is very different from yours so it may not translate to your situation but here’s what I found.

My roof was 14 years old at the time, an inexpensive ‘builder grade’, 3 tab shingle over 15 lb. felt had been used. In 2004 Hurricane Charley paid us a visit and within a month or two, I saw water stains on two separate areas of my interior ceiling forming, in areas that would be in the middle of ‘a field of shingles’.

I climbed upon my roof and the shingles themselves had actually fared very well. But I had leaks, and like you, I was convinced that something was compromised right in those areas. I did my dead level best to re-create those leaks with my garden hose, saturating those spots with water and…nothing. Not a drop of water got through. I could not get it to leak.

Turns out the source of entry was not through the roof at all but rather the cheapo aluminum ridge vent had been pulled loose. The water was making entry underneath the ridge vent, made it’s way below the felt and was running down the decking, underneath the felt until it found a gap in between the 4X8 sheets of plywood. From there it dripped enough eventually to saturate my insulation and drywall and the interior stains formed.

A new properly installed and sealed ridge vent stopped the penetration immediately. Might be worth a look anyway. Best of luck.

NG - you already know it is problem, your here confirming what you suspect…you need a new roof.

The leak calls I usually go look at are typically from HO’s who purchased the home not so long ago. There are just some people out there that don’t care, all they want is to say the roof is new when selling the home. The fact is they go with the low bid and the unsuspecting new HO is unaware of the poor installation. Your home inspector could have lifted a few shingles to spot check the nailing, he failed you also.

Those wet spot on the sheathing will turn to rot over time and add to the cost of your roof replacement the longer you leave it.

Thanks so much for you feedback. There is only one layer of shingles. I forgot to mention…the installer racked the shingles up the roof with only a 3 to 5 inch stagger where two shingles come together in one row in relation to where two shingles come together in the row above. Also, there are nails smack in the middle of the gap where two shingles come together. It is a terrible install with errors that are hidden from view without physically separating shingle layers.

Every time I fix a few leaks I am reinvigorated and think that the problem isn’t so bad and naively convince myself that I won’t have any more problems. Then the next rain comes and I’m up in the attic for an hour scrutinizing every dark spot on the sheathing with my moisture meter…it is insanity.

Of course I’m angry about this because I paid for the new roof when I bought the house and with the market crash, I’m upside down. I know millions of other homeowners are in the same boat…

That’s bad news, especially on a 4/12 slope. It would be best to replace the roof as soon as possible. In the mean time, you will just have to do the repairs from time to time but look on the bright side. Your gaining a lot of valuable experience fixing roof leaks and I may be needing a helper pretty soon. :lol:

Yep. Re-roof before you have to re-deck and re-insulate and re-drywall and re. . .

Jeremiah Tomaske

I prefer you to reinstall a roof with a professional roofer besause if you repair your roof again you find same problem so reinstalling is a best option .