How to Replace Roof Shingles That Have Come Loose or Become Worn Out

Asphalt shingled roofs are everywhere. They’re economical, durable, and available in a vast range of colors and textures. Over time, however, shingles can start to break down. As roofs near the end of their lifespans, homeowners may start finding shingle granules in their gutters and at the base of their downspouts. Following a heavy storm or a rooftop maintenance project, you might discover that you’ve got curling shingles, shingles that are bent or torn, and shingles that are outright missing. The good news is that could be possible rectify some of these problems yourself. This is all the more true if your builder or your roofer has left a few extra shingles behind.

However, one of the most important things to understand before performing any do-it-yourself shingle repair is that there’s often an underlying problem. This may be age or installation-related, the result of insufficient attic insulation, or signs of a developing pest infestation. No matter what the cause of shingle damage may be, it’s important to always address both the damaged shingles themselves and their underlying cause. If you don’t, you could find yourself back on the roof with your toolkit in hand in almost no time at all. Some of the most common causes of missing or damaged asphalt shingles include:

  • Damages caused by walking on the roof
  • Occasional damages from wind storms
  • Incorrect installation
  • Hailstorm damage

How and why shingles are damaged ultimately determines the best methods for fixing them. With hail damage, you may need to take photos of your roof and contact your insurance company. If your roof shingles were never installed correctly to begin with, you can always contact the roofer responsible for the work to have a warranty repair performed. With poor installation, you also have the option of seeking out a new and more competent roofer to do the job instead. When roofs have reached the end of their lifespans, fixing or replacing shingles is merely a short-term solution. Having a high-quality and functional roof is absolutely essential for keeping your home properly insulated and protected. Finding the right solution to shingle issues is important for preserving your home’s curbside appeal and resale value, controlling your home heating and cooling costs, and staving off a host of moisture-related problems.

The Common Signs and Symptoms of Damaged Shingles and How to Fix Them

Shingles that are loose or outright missing are an obvious sign of roof trouble. However, if you’re cleaning out your gutters or examining your roof from the sidewalk and notice:

  • Dark patches
  • Nail heads that are exposed
  • Cracked or curling shingles

These are also signs that your roof needs repairs. Keep in mind that certain shingle problems may present themselves in the form of higher electricity bills, discolored ceilings, paint bulges inside or outside of the home, and discolored siding.

It’s not uncommon to find one or more damaged or broken shingles after a particularly bad wind storm. Hail doesn’t usually tear shingles off, but it can leave them cracked, bruised, and looking generally worse for the wear. Cracked and curling shingles are sometimes a sign of drying, which is an age-related issue, and an indication that the roof is old and ready to be replaced. With age-related shingle damages, you have to decide whether replacing a few missing shingles will provide the seamless protection that your home deserves. Although a full-on roof replacement can be a costly endeavor, the benefits of replacing an old roof are more than worthwhile. Not only will you avoid a host of issues like mold development, pest infestation, interior water damage, and severely diminished value, but you can also sidestep the need for continued DIY or professional repairs. Even if you’re handy, the costs of constantly fixing a roof that’s undeniably falling apart can add up quickly.

Dark patches on your roof can mean one of two things: either the granules are falling off the shingles and leaving the darker portion exposed, or your roof is developing a problem with mold or moss. Darker shingles that have lost their granules can be replaced by pulling the old ones out and putting new ones in. You’ll have to detach the nails that keep shingles affixed in place by using a flat pry bar. Once the nails have come partially out, remove them completely by hand. A pry bar will also break the adhesive that was used to keep the shingle smooth and flat. After you’ve used nails and roofing cement or sealant to install new shingles, make sure to weight the treated shingles down. You can do this with a brick or other heavy weight. This should be kept in place until the adhesive has cured for approximately 24 hours.

If you’ve got curling or buckling shingles, it could be because your roofer did not put down a proper roof underlayment. Absent of roof paper beneath the shingles, moisture problems can affect both the shingles themselves and the decking or roof boards that make up the roofing substrate. The best fix for this issue is to have the work corrected by either the original roofer or another roofer that you’ve screened and hired yourself. If you want a quick and inexpensive fix, however, you may be able to get the curling shingles to lie flat by using bituminous roof sealant in a caulk gun. Place just a small amount of this sealant under the curled edge or edges, and then weight the area down for 24 hours with a brick. It’s vital to understand, however, that applying sealant to shingles that have curled due to poor installation is only a very short-term solution, and one that isn’t always guaranteed to work.

There are definite drawbacks in DIY shingle repairs. Unless you’ve got a number of perfectly matched shingles that have been left behind from past projects, your roof may eventually start looking like a patchwork quilt. DIY patch jobs can make your home far less appealing to prospective buyers, and far less likely to pass pre-purchase home inspections. In the instance of age-related or installation-related problems, quick fixes might not work at all. If you’ve got damaged or missing roofing shingles that need repaired or replaced, we can help. Call us today at 913-850-6556.