How to Fix Damaged Roof Shingles
Keeping your roof in good repair is literally one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner. A snug and well-maintained roof keeps the energy bills down, secures the structure from leaks and damage, and generally protects your investment.
With all that this one structure does, it’s no wonder that roof replacement is one of the most expensive home or business repairs. The good news is, a few damaged roof shingles does not merit a full-on roof replacement. Shingles can be repaired easily, extending the life of your roof.
In this article, we’ll share what to look for when it comes to replacing shingles, as well as several different ways it can be done.
When Do I Need to Repair or Replace My Roof Shingles?
A full roof replacement should be done around every 20 years or so. At this point, the whole thing will have reached a level of wear that can’t be patched. Individual shingles need to be replaced as soon as you notice an issue.
Scan for damage every month or so (or directly after a violent weather event like a storm, hurricane, or derecho). Look for individual shingles that are cracked, curled, or discolored. You want to fix a problem as soon as possible to avoid potential water seepage, which can lead to wood rot and warping. If you ignore or procrastinate over these smaller repairs, you may need to replace your roof far sooner than the 20 year mark.
Repairing Curled Roof Shingles
Shingles that are made from asphalt have a tendency to curl at the corners over time. The fix for this is simple if you catch it right away. All you need to do is glue it down, and this will prevent further curling–at least for a time.
Purchase roof sealant, and load it into a caulking gun for application. Add a small amount under the peeling corner, and then weigh it down with something sturdy (like a brick). Give it about 24 hours to dry, and then remove the brick. Problem solved!
Replacing a Roof Shingle
When a roof shingle becomes damaged, or if part of it is missing, you’ll need to replace it quickly to avoid more insidious damage. Shingles can be purchased at a retail hardware store or lumberyard (or you may even have some left over from your last roofing job). Find the closest match you can to the original shingle.
Gather Your Materials
You’ll need to gather a flat pry bar, a hammer, some roofing nails, and a utility knife. You’ll need to have 4 roofing nails per shingle for the initial installation. Remember that each subsequent shingle layer will have the nails pass through the course of shingles below.
Remove the Damaged Shingle
Use your pry bar to remove the first row of nails. Slide it beneath the shingle that is positioned directly above the damaged shingle, and gently lift if free of the sealer strip. You want to see the first row of nails underneath it.
Now slide the pry bar under the damaged shingle and pull it up. When the nail pulls out about a quarter-inch, slide the pry bar out, press the shingle back down, and use your hammer to pull out the nail. Repeat the same thing for the other three nails.
Next, slide your pry bar back under the shingle directly above. Repeat the process for the second row of nails. When all 8 nails have been removed, you can pull and dispose of the damaged shingle.
Replace with New Shingle
Remember to lay your courses properly. The nails from the lower half of the course above should also hold the top edge of the course below. Follow the pattern and line up the courses appropriately. Place, and then nail. Each shingle should take 4 nails, with 6 nails being the preferred amount for areas of the roof that experience a lot of wind and weather.
The last shingle on each row should be cut to size. When you reach the ridge, bend the shingle over it (ensuring equal length on each side), and then nail down with one nail on either side of the ridge. Be careful to hammer each nail straight, and not at an angle.
Repairing a Cracked Roof Shingle
If there is no piece of a shingle missing, it is simply cracked or torn, you don’t actually need to replace it. Repair the shingle by applying a generous dollop of roofing sealant underneath the crack. Press it down, then apply a small amount of sealant on top of the crack itself. Use a putty knife to spread it over the entire crack.
You can even camouflage the repair by checking your gutter for granules that have washed off of your roof. Gather a good handful and sprinkle it over the repair to cover it. The granules should stick nicely to the sealant and mask the fact that you repaired the shingle at all.
Important Things to Note Regarding Shingle Repair
While shingle repairs can be done yourself, you should only attempt these repairs if the grade of your roof is safe to do so, and you have the appropriate safety equipment in place. Not everyone will have the opportunity to do repairs themselves. If you don’t have a harness, hard hat, safety gloves, and tool belt, and ideally one or two people to help you, you may be better off having a professional step in. This is especially true of those who have very steep and/or high roofs.
The good news is that a simple shingle repair is not terribly expensive. While a roof replacement can be pricey, having roofing professionals keep it in good repair will still save you money in the long term by extending the life of your roof.
Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.