Roofing Damage: What Should You Do When Shingles Blow Off?
Cracking. Curling. Leakage into your attic.
There are plenty of signs that you need a new roof. But don’t be alarmed — not every sign of roofing damage will require a full replacement.
Perhaps a summer storm rolled into town and blew a few shingles off of your roof. Can you replace shingles or fix loose ones? Of course you can, so long as you know the right steps to take.
Why Might a Shingle Fall Off?
Before we dive into the repair process, let’s first discuss why your roof might lose a shingle in the first place. We mentioned wind, but that’s not the real reason that shingles might get loose and fly off with the breeze.
It may be that your shingles weren’t installed properly in the first place. If the nail isn’t put in the right place, it gives your shingle some wiggle room. In other words, it won’t hold the shingle down in the wind, thus allowing it to loosen and eventually break off.
Your shingles may not have been given enough time to cure when adhered to your roof. Or, the underlying roof may have been damaged before the application. This wouldn’t allow the shingles to lay flat and stay and place, either.
Finally, it may simply be time to replace your roof. The typical asphalt shingle roof lasts for two decades; other materials may last longer. But if you’ve moved into an older home or lived in your place for a long time, it could be that your shingles have loosened up because they are old.
How Can I Re-Attach a Shingle That Blows Off?
You’ll want to start by having an honest conversation with yourself. Do you have the skills to perform a DIY project, especially one that takes place on your roof? If the answer is no, you may want to consider bringing in a professional to install the new shingles.
Now, if you do feel comfortable enough to try this yourself, you will need the following supplies:
- A nail puller or pry bar
- Utility knife
- Roofing nails
- Shingles — particularly, shingles that match the ones on your roof
- A ladder
With those tools, carefully climb onto your roof with your supplies. Then, get started.
1. Remove Any Nails
You’ll need your pry bar or nail puller first because this job starts with the removal of the missing shingle’s nails. A typical shingle will have four nails through it: two to hold it in place, and two from the shingle above, which were nailed through the bottom shingle for added security. You will need to remove all four nails, as sliding a new shingle over old nails can puncture it — and you don’t want to replace a damaged shingle with a damaged shingle.
2. Remove the Shingle With Roofing Damage
On that note, you’ll have the nails out, so you can remove any remaining parts of the missing shingle. Chances are, you’ll have more than one shingle that needs replacing, but you may want to work one at a time so you don’t lose track of which nails you have removed and from where.
3. Nail in the New Shingle(s)
Now that the nails are out and the shingle has been removed, it’s time to slide a new shingle into position. You will want to slide its top beneath the bottom of the shingle above it. That way, you can nail both back in — remember, you removed four nails, two for each edge of the shingle.
Obviously, these instructions work best for homes with shingles nailed into place. If your roofing material varies, you will need to find instructions tailored to that.
Should I Fix Roofing Damage Myself?
Here’s the million-dollar question: should you fix roofing damage if you’re not a professional? The answer, as we touched on before, will depend on your confidence to perform such a specialized DIY project.
Keep in mind that roofing projects are a bit more dangerous than your typical DIY. After all, you will be up on the roof of your house, and there is a risk of slipping and falling from a pretty high height.
Also, remember that your roof plays a pivotal role in protecting the integrity of your home’s structure, and it keeps you safe from the elements, too. A wrongly applied shingle may allow rain to seep into your home, which can damage walls and even the foundation of your abode. Plus, leaks and standing water can cause mold and mildew, which can trigger allergies and discomfort.
When that happens, you run the risk of creating a more expensive project for yourself in the long run. Calling in professionals now can save you time and money in the long run, as you will know for sure that your shingles have been re-applied properly and that your home can withstand the elements.
However, you may realize that your roof doesn’t need a shingle replacement at all — it may simply need to be replaced if the damage is extensive. Plus, you don’t want to add too many new roofing shingles to an older roof, as the original ones will have faded, and the new ones will be a different color.
So, What Should I Do When Shingles Fall Off?
Roofing damage is a difficult project to DIY. Unless you feel completely confident to follow the above steps, then you will want to call in the professionals.
More importantly, you’ll want to get started on either project ASAP. The longer you have gaps or holes in your roof, the more susceptible your home will be to damage. So, put on your work boots and head to the roof, or call us today and get the ball rolling.