If you’ve spent any length of time as a homeowner, you know that there are tons of things you have to look for during the annual inspections of your roof. From loose gutters to damaged flashing, these indicators of damage suggest that it may be time to look into getting a new roof.
With asphalt shingle roofs, there are even more of these signs to look out for:
- Blown off or missing shingles
- Torn or bent shingles
- Bruising and blistering
- Curling shingles
While these are all obvious signals that you need roof repair, did you know that asphalt shingle granule loss can also be a warning that you should schedule a roof replacement?
Here’s everything you need to know about how to identify shingle granule loss and what you should do about it.
What Are Shingle Granules, and Why Do They Matter?
The tops of all asphalt shingles are covered with a coating of mineral granules during the manufacturing process. These sand-like granules, made of crushed stone, provide a protective coating to your shingles. They help your roof shed water, provide fire resistance to your roof, and prevent algae growth.
Aside from function, shingle granules also provide you with a multitude of color options for your shingle roof; the granules are often mixed with other ingredients to create a variety of hues. Without these granules, all roof shingles would be black due to their asphalt coatings.
What Does Shingle Granule Loss Look Like?
If only a few granules have come off your roofing materials, you might not even notice the damage at first. This is especially true if you only conduct visual inspections of your roof from the ground.
Over time, you may notice more and more shingle granules disappearing from your roof and washing down your gutter system. If you see loose granules at the bottom of your downspouts, it’s a sign that significant granule loss is occurring.
At the most advanced stages of roof shingle granule loss, you’ll see bare spots on your shingles (and if you have a light-colored roof, these bare spots will also be dark spots). Depending on the severity and location of the granule loss, you’ll likely be able to see the bare spots from the ground.
How Does Shingle Granule Loss Occur?
There are a few primary causes of premature granule loss:
- Severe weather: Storms, high winds, and heavy rains can create loose granules across your roof.
- Impact: If a baseball lands on your roof or an overhanging tree limb falls, you may experience shingle granule loss at the site of impact.
- Improper installation: Some shingle granule loss immediately after installing a new roof is completely normal. Roofers will do their best to avoid excessive foot traffic on your new shingles, but even basic handling of the new asphalt roofing shingles can cause them to shed granules. However, large amounts of granule loss can indicate a fault with installation.
- Faulty manufacturing: If an error occurred during the manufacturing process, your shingles may lose their granule coating prematurely. (If this happens, though, you should be able to use your manufacturer’s warranty to cover the cost of repairs.)
Finally, normal aging will also cause granular loss. Even if you’ve done stellar work keeping your shingles in good repair, they will eventually lose granules as your shingles deteriorate.
What’s At Stake?
Let’s talk about the shingle damage that can occur if you let your roof go granule-less for too long. If you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal; the shingles are still on my roof, aren’t they?” think again.
Shingle granules play a critical role in the long-term health and well-being of your entire roof structure. As we mentioned above, granules provide waterproofing, fire protection, and algae resistance to your shingles. But beyond that, shingle granules provide vital UV protection for your roof.
Bare asphalt does not hold up well against the sun, and without the protection of those granules, your shingles will curl and warp before their time.
These misshapen shingles create cracks in your roof where water can leak through the underlayment and decking until it reaches your attic. And interior leaks are no joke; they can permanently damage your home’s foundation!
As you can see, excessive granule loss can have dire consequences, and it deserves your immediate attention if you hope to avoid water damage inside your home.
What to Do About It
If you suspect that you have missing granules on your asphalt shingles, the first thing you should do is call a contractor. They’ll provide a professional roof inspection, let you know whether repairs are necessary, and determine whether you’ll be fine with just a few replacement shingles or if you should look into getting a full roof replacement. A great roofing company will even be able to help you source financing options!
When you schedule repairs with a roofing contractor, they’ll send a crew to you on the day of your project with all the tools and materials they need to complete the job. They’ll remove the damaged shingles, install new ones, and transport the waste to an appropriate recycling facility.
Ideally, your roofer will also inspect your roof after the repairs to ensure everything is in working order.
Roof Damage Begone
As your roof ages, it’s important to track the overall health of your shingle granules. While some granules lost isn’t a huge deal, the health of your whole roof, and even the foundation of your home, can be negatively impacted by bald shingles left unrepaired over time.
Whether you’re looking for roof repair due to shingle granule loss or are simply hoping to extend your roof life, the Roof Troopers have your back. We have extensive experience working with asphalt roof shingles, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more responsive roofing professionals in the DC area.
Ready to consult on the future of your asphalt shingle roof? Reach out to us to get started!