Damaged roof shingles: Causes, solutions and preventative maintenance

Damaged roof shingles are never a welcoming sight because they signal the potential for leaking water,...

Damaged roof shingles are never a welcoming sight because they signal the potential for leaking water, which can lead to interior damage to the home's ceiling, walls, floors and everything in between. Before determining the corrective course of action, you must identify the type of roof shingle damage and evaluate the extent of the damage. After repairing or replacing the damaged roof shingles, you must then take defensive maintenance steps to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem.

Determining the cause of damaged roof shingles

Roof shingles can be damaged by a variety of sources, ranging from Mother Nature to Father Time to Uncle Bob's poor handiwork. For instance, moss or fungus accumulations can damage the roof shingles. This is more common when the roof is shaded by a large tree that blocks the sun, which allows a buildup of moisture. Storm damage, such as hail or severe winds, can also damage roof shingles.

In addition, if the damaged shingle area is over a section of the house that was later added in a home-expansion project, the roof may lack an adequate slope for the water to drain off. In this instance, the standing water may cause mildew or leaks. The age of the roof shingles may also be a contributing factor. If the roof is old--20 years or more--the shingles may have outlived their useful lifespan and will start to buckle or curl, allowing wind and moisture to enter through the roof.

Evaluating the type and severity of damaged roof shingles

A loose shingle can simply be reattached with roofing cement. Cracked shingles that are still in place can also be reattached using roofing cement. For buckled or curled shingles, apply roof cement and press them back into place; however, if this does not work, you will need to replace the damaged shingles. Broken or missing shingles must also be replaced.

If the house if more than 20 years old, and you have several damaged roof shingles, consider replacing the roof. For a major roof replacement project, or if you're uncomfortable replacing even a few shingles yourself, call an Atlanta-area roofing company to come out and give you a repair or replacement estimate.

DIY tips for repairing damaged shingles and preventing future damage

Never go on top of a roof that is wet or icy; wait until the surface is completely dry. In addition, warm weather is the ideal time to make repairs since the shingles are less likely to crack.

If you don't have any spare shingles, they are available at any Atlanta-area lumberyard or home repair center.

To prevent mold from forming on your roof shingles, trim or cut trees that cover sections of the roof. In addition, hammer a zinc strip in the roof's center ridge to kill both moss and mildew. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent future damage caused by a slope problem is to redo the roof framing to adjust the slope.

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