Addressing Common Issues with Asphalt Shingles: Troubleshooting and Solutions

Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material due to their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. However, like any roofing material, they are susceptible to various issues over time. We will explore some common problems that can arise with asphalt shingles and provide practical solutions for addressing them.

Common Problems with Asphalt Shingles

1. Curling Shingles: Causes and Fixes

One of the most frequent issues with asphalt shingles is curling, where the edges turn upward or downward. This can happen due to improper installation, inadequate ventilation, or aging of the shingles. When shingles curl, they become susceptible to wind damage and water infiltration. To fix curling shingles, start by replacing damaged shingles. Ensure proper ventilation in the attic to reduce heat buildup, which can contribute to curling. Additionally, consider installing adhesive to reseal the curled shingles and prevent further lifting.

2. Blistering Shingles: Identification and Remedies

Blistering occurs when tiny bubbles or blisters form on the surface of asphalt shingles, typically due to trapped moisture or poor manufacturing quality. Over time, these blisters can lead to cracks and leaks if not addressed promptly. To remedy blistering shingles, carefully lift the affected shingles and remove any trapped moisture underneath. Allow the area to dry thoroughly before applying roofing cement to seal the shingle back in place. Ensure proper attic ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, which can exacerbate blistering.

3. Missing Granules: Impact and Repair Techniques

Another common issue is the loss of granules from asphalt shingles, which can expose the underlying asphalt and make the shingles vulnerable to UV damage and weathering. Granule loss often occurs due to age, weather conditions, or physical damage from foot traffic or falling debris. To fix shingles with missing granules, start by cleaning the area around the damaged shingles to remove loose granules and debris. Apply a layer of roofing cement to seal the exposed asphalt and then sprinkle matching granules over the cement to blend in with the surrounding shingles.

4. Damaged Flashing: Signs and Solutions

Flashing around vents, chimneys, and skylights prevents water penetration under asphalt shingles. Damage to flashing can occur due to corrosion, improper installation, or physical damage. Signs of damaged flashing include rust spots, cracks, or missing sections. To repair damaged flashing, start by cleaning the area around the damaged flashing to remove debris and old sealant. Replace damaged flashing with new pieces cut to size and secure them in place using roofing nails or screws. Apply roofing cement around the edges to create a watertight seal.

5. Ice Dam Formation: Prevention and Resolutions

During winter, ice dams can form on the edges of roofs with asphalt shingles, preventing the drainage of melted snow and ice. This can lead to water backing up under the shingles, causing leaks and damage to the roof structure. Ensure proper attic insulation and ventilation to maintain a consistent roof temperature to prevent ice dams. Use roof rakes or heating cables to remove snow accumulation from the roof edge safely. If ice dams do form, carefully chip away the ice to allow water to drain, not damaging the shingles in the process.

6. Cracked or Split Shingles: Causes and Fixes

Cracked or split shingles are often caused by exposure to extreme weather conditions such as hail, strong winds, or prolonged sun exposure. These conditions can cause the asphalt to become brittle over time, leading to cracks or splits in the shingles. When left unchecked, cracked shingles can allow water to seep underneath, causing leaks and further damage to the roof structure. To repair cracked or split shingles, carefully lift the damaged shingle and apply roofing cement underneath to seal the crack. Press the shingle down firmly and secure it with roofing nails. If multiple shingles are cracked, replacing the entire affected section may be necessary for a more lasting repair.

7. Algae or Moss Growth: Prevention and Treatment

Asphalt shingles are prone to algae or moss growth in humid or shaded areas, which can detract from the roof’s appearance and potentially cause damage if left untreated. Algae appear as dark streaks or stains on the shingles, while moss can grow between shingles and lift them, allowing water penetration. To prevent algae or moss growth, ensure adequate sunlight and ventilation on the roof. Trim overhanging branches to reduce shade and keep gutters clean to prevent debris buildup. If algae or moss have already developed, use water and bleach to scrub the affected areas, not damaging the shingles gently. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any residue and inhibit future growth.

While asphalt shingles provide an economical and durable roofing solution, they are susceptible to various issues that can compromise their performance over time. By promptly addressing common problems such as curling, blistering, granule loss, damaged flashing, ice dams, cracked or split shingles, and algae or moss growth, homeowners can effectively extend the lifespan of their asphalt shingle roofs. Regular maintenance, inspections, and timely repairs by a roofing contractor are essential in preserving the integrity and functionality of the roof, ensuring it continues to protect the home against the elements. Proper care gives asphalt shingles reliable performance and peace of mind for many years.

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