Asphalt shingles are an inexpensive roofing source which can protect your roof for years to come. While you can expect your entire roof to last for years, a hailstorm, wind storm, or falling limb can damage individual shingles. Thus, you should inspect your roof at least once a year and make repairs when necessary.
What Damage Looks Like
All roof damage does not look the same, but you can learn to recognize signs of wear and damage so that you can make repairs when necessary. Look for the following:
Wind Damage: Wind will catch the bottom edge of shingles and lift them away from your roof. Signs of wind damage include shingles that are torn along seams or shingles that have been ripped completely off your roof.
Hail Damage: Hail can damage your roof in two ways. Large stones can punch through the asphalt and tar that makes up your shingle, leaving a bulls-eye-shaped crack. Hail can also scrape off the protective granules that coat the top of your shingles. Once this protective layer is gone, the sun can bake out any residual liquids in the asphalt tar that make up the shingle, leaving them brittle and prone to cracking.
Falling Limbs: If a limb falls on your roof, it can rip shingles off the roof, puncture shingles, or scrape the protective granules off your roof.
Making the Repair
If you find damaged shingles on your roof, there is no repairing them—you must replace them. Follow these steps:
1. Lift the bottom edge of the shingles from the row above, and use a cat's paw to remove the nails that hold or held the damaged or missing shingle in place.
2. Remove the damaged shingle.
3. Use roofing cement to plug the holes left by the nails.
4. Turn the replacement shingle over and use a utility knife to cut it to size. Make sure you leave about an eighth of an inch gap between the new shingle and the shingles to either side.
5. Slide the new shingle into place and make sure its bottom edge is even with other shingles in the same row. Once it is in place, nail the top edge down. Make sure the shingles from the row above cover the heads of the nails you use.
6. Cover the nail heads with a dab of roofing cement to make sure water cannot leak around them.
Replacing a damaged shingle is not strenuous or super technical work, but it is important to do the job right. If you don't think you are up to working on your roof, or you doubt your roofing skills, call a roofer such as Palmer Roofing to make sure the job is done right.