By Lee Williamson
Felt Removal – Should the old felt be removed (felt removal) when the new roof is installed or not? That’s a question I get quite a bit, and the answer is no. The old felt can’t be relied upon to shed water since it has nail holes and tears in it from the shingle removal, so without question you need new felt.
To tear off the old felt serves no purpose other than to make the jobsite and the neighborhood harder to keep clean. Some people ask about our ability to inspect the deck or roof sheathing for rotten wood. That’s a very important step in the reroofing process. When the old shingles are torn off, the nails pull thru most of the time and stick up the thickness of the shingle they were nailed through. In order to prevent the new felt from being torn by these nails, we go over the entire roof and hammer in the nails so that they are flush with the decking. If you’ve ever struck a rotten piece of plywood with a hammer, you know it reacts totally different than good solid wood. Therefore, since the nails are approximately six inches apart and staggered going up the roof, we cover the entire roof with our inspection.
If we discover rotten decking, we tear off the felt in that area to determine exactly what needs to be replaced. It is very important to inspect the decking and replace anything that will not properly hold a nail. If the wood will not hold a nail, the result is blown off shingles. If you look at the roof deck from the attic side, you will sometimes see water stains where your roof has leaked in the past. Those stains pose no problem, as the integrity of the wood has not been compromised.
Our crews are trained to look for bad wood, and they have an incentive to find it. We hold our crews responsible for their labor in our warranty, and they have to do any repairs at no charge when there is a problem. We also compensate them for the labor involved in replacing bad plywood.