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Roofing Update and Guidelines

Post Date:12/13/2018 5:08 PM

The entire City of Louisville was hit with large hail in June 2018. Usually only small parts of cities or towns feel the impact of such storms. The size of the storm and hail damaged most skylights and even hail-rated solar panels. The City has issued over 4,500 permits so far this year for reroofs due to the hail storm. The City hired five additional roofing inspectors, two who work full-time and three who work afternoons and weekends. Two of our inspectors are fluent in Spanish, as well. The City tries to educate roofing contractors about the process at the mid-roof inspection. The City also hired four additional administrative staff to handle the back log of roofing permits, which has been difficult as there have been over 100 roofing permits submitted daily.

The City requires two inspections for reroofs: a mid-roof inspection and final roof inspection. There are many jurisdictions that do not inspect at mid-roof and only do a final inspection. The City requires a mid-roof inspection to verify that the contractor is installing the shingle correctly and that they installed the ice and water shield before the roof is covered up. During the mid-roof inspection, inspectors will get on the roof and inspect the following:

  • All Roofs areas less than 4/12 slope have underlayment complying with the IRC Chapter 9. Specifically in sections of the International Residential Code R905.2.3, 905.3.3, 905.4.3, 905.5.3, 905.6.3, 905.7.3, 9056.8.3, 950.10.5, 905.16.4.2.
  • The underlayment and roof decking were inspected and must be found to be in an acceptable condition or have been replaced in accordance with IRC Chapter 9. This is a snap shot of the entire roof we find a lot of the decking that needs to be replaced but we do not inspect every piece of sheathing on the roof we are hoping the contractor does their part, as well.
  • The flashing is inspected and must be found to be in acceptable condition or it shall be replaced with Chapter 9 of the IRC.
  • The shingles that are being used must be verified to be in compliance with either ASTM D 3161, Class F or ASTM D 7158 Class H or G; and were labeled at the time of inspection on the bundle wrappers (for or High Winds).
  • The number, type and location of fasteners were found to be in accordance with the manufactures installation for the 115 MPH wind speed. The inspector looks at the nail pattern and depth of nails.
  • Ice and water shield was installed per ASTM D1970 and section 905.1.2 of the IRC at the time of the inspection. The inspectors looks to ensure the required amount of Ice and Water shield is installed.

Usually at mid-roof inspections, roofs are 40-60% completed. Inspectors may require contractors to pull some areas back to complete the inspection. The City tries to perform mid-roof inspections the day after they are requested. This is where the City fails many inspections because contractors have not installed the roof to the minimum standards of the code or manufacturers’ installation criteria.

During the final roof inspection, inspectors will inspect the following:

  • The entire roof must be completed to the minimum standards of Chapter 9 of the International Residential Code if it is a Residential Building.
  • All of the drip edge must be installed or in good condition if the used the old drip edge.
  • Exposed nails must be sealed over
  • Shingles must be adhering to each other per the manufactures specifications
  • If gutters are installed they must not be pushing the shingles up to where the wind could blow the shingle away.
  • Observation of the roof to ensure there is no damaged decking from the guys working on the roof.
  • All flashing was installed per code, kick flashing, straight flashing.
  • We don’t normally get on the roof for a final inspection with fear that we would damage the roof from walking around on roof either the shingles are hot or cold and could crack or rip out and we could spend an hour inspecting the roof but there is still no guarantee that it won’t leak.

Almost of all of these items can be observed by inspectors without getting on the roof. Inspectors will do a final inspection on top of the roof if the home owner has concerns or if the inspectors has concerns from previous inspections. It is the contractor or owner’s responsibility to ensure there is a ladder on-site for these inspections.

On final roof inspections, inspectors can only look at what is covered by the building code, which is a minimum standard. Gutters are not part of the inspection. If the owner tells the inspector that the gutters are part of the contract, the inspector will fail the inspection until the gutters are complete, as well. The code does not require gutters to be put on any home. The City cannot inspect workmanship of gutters since they are not part of the building code.

If you have follow-up questions for the Louisville Building Department, please contact us at 303.335.4584.

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