Replacing Damaged Roof Shingles
Unfortunately, regardless of how diligent you are about maintaining your roof, you are going to have some damaged shingles from time to time. The question is, do you leave them be, or repair them? The answer is not simple. First, it depends on how many shingles are damaged and how damaged they are. Preventive care, is the best solution. If you want to get the most from your roofing system, it is best to repair shingles as soon as they are noticed.
The second question you need to answer is are you going to repair them yourself or hire someone to do the work for you. Understand that while repairing shingles may seem relatively straight forward, there are some things you should know before you back the ladder up to the roof and begin ripping up shingles. First and foremost is safety – do you have the necessary equipment to prevent serious injury. If not, it would probably be best to hire someone to do the work for you. On the other hand, if you are determined to do the work yourself, take these things into consideration.
While this may seem obvious, roofing repairs should be done when weather is warm and dry. This will ensure the shingles are more pliable and less likely to crack and break. It is not wise to attempt to repair the roof when it is covered in dew or it is wet or icy. Again, it may make more sense to hire a professional as they are trained to make these repairs and have the requisite equipment needed to make the repairs safely.
Speaking of safety, proper safety steps must be taken when working on a roof and replacing damaged roof shingles. Wear gripping boots appropriate for walking on roofs, heavy duty gloves and protective eye-wear. Roof jacks should be installed to provide a platform to stand on and harnesses for added protection and safety. When climbing on a roof use a secure sturdy ladder and have a helper secure the ladder at the base. Assess the extent of the damage and how many new shingles you will need, look at the corners to determine if they have pulled up and curled from the roof.
Check for damage to the flashing and moisture barrier and signs of seepage. If there is moisture, replace everything around the area that is damaged. Shingles must be removed when cool as asphalt sealant and asphalt heat up during hot weather making the shingles moldable and difficult to remove. If necessary, wet the shingles down which helps to firm and tighten them making removal easier. Split or cracked shingles in good condition can be repaired without removing them. When fixing shingles you require a crow bar or pry bar, a utility knife, nail puller or screwdriver, galvanized nails, a caulking gun and silicone caulk, roofing cement and matching singles.
Start by taking off shingles two rows above the damaged shingles. Use a nail puller or screwdriver to raise the nails in the bare spot. Loosen exposed nails then slide a flat pry bar under the shingle and pull it up working around the nail surrounding the damaged section. Lift the surrounding tabs in the first row carefully preventing breakage or cracking. Loosen the adhesive under the tabs of the shingle, pull them out and discard. Continue removing all damaged shingles before replacing them.
When replacing them attach a new shingle onto the bottom row, overlapping the one below it and follow the line of the rest of the shingles in the row. When you get to the last shingle use the utility knife to cut off the nail strip on top. Apply roofing cement to the back of the shingle and slip it under the above shingle and press both shingles firmly. Using galvanized nails, nail the shingle to the roof.
If the existing holes cannot be used, fill them with roofing cement and also cover the nail heads with cement to prevent water seepage and wood damage underneath. If the surrounding shingles are in good nick, reattach them once you have replaced the damaged ones as this saves effort and money. If your roofing is in need of urgent repairs, it is better to remove all the shingles especially if brittle and dry as it is not worth re-securing them to the roof.
How to prevent shingle repairs
Overlapping tree branches should be trimmed to allow sunlight to reach the roof. As part of regular maintenance clear debris regularly using a leaf blower. To avoid breaking the sealant bond or debris accumulating under the shingle edges, the air flow should be directed downwards. Keep gutters clean to promote proper water drainage. Extend any downspout from an upper roof into a lower gutter which will prevent the upper roof draining directly onto a lower roof.
How do you identify damaged shingles?
When shingles are damaged the grit on top of the shingles start to come off and you will see an accumulation of the sandy substance in your gutters. Other signs include twigs or leaves wedged under the shingle or missing tabs.
Causes of damaged shingles
Roof shingles are highly susceptible to wind and hail damage as the impact causes the protective granules to be knocked off leaving the asphalt base exposed to the elements. Problems experienced include cracking, curling, leaking and a shorter lifespan.