What should I do when I have shingle damage?

close-up of damaged shingles

Dealing With Shingle Damage

In Virginia, you can have beautiful, sunny weather one day and the next, the Atlantic is slamming us with high winds and hard rains. All of that is hard on a roof and shingle damage is sure to happen to every home at some point. 

Now, you may be wondering, “How do I know if I have damaged shingles?” That is what we’re going to discuss here. It is important that you perform routine inspections yourself at least once a month as well as to have professional roof inspections annually.

DIY Roof Inspections

The steps to take to perform a roof inspection are: 

  • Starting inside in the attic, check for any dark spots, holes, leaks, and sagging sheathing. Check for mildew, mold, and stains as well.
  • From the exterior, climb a ladder to get a close-up look. If heights and ladders aren’t for you, use binoculars and you can still get a relatively thorough inspection while standing on the ground. Examine the roof for damage like cracked, missing, torn, or warped shingles. Check for any nails that are missing, popped up, or rusted. Make sure the vents are in place and that the flashing around them is secure. 
  • Clean the gutter runs and downspouts of any debris such as leaves, limbs, and twigs. Make sure the gutter runs aren’t sagging and there aren’t any leaks. If there are any issues, make the repairs now. 
  • Check the eaves and fascia from the underside to make sure they are all connected as intended to the outer walls. Look for any rot or animal infestation. Replace any boards that are rotted and patch up any holes that animals may have created. 
  • From the street, you can get a long-distance look for shingle damage like dark spots, sagging or missing shingles. Check that the exterior paint is in good condition and look for possible ice dams along the roof’s edge that will keep water from draining during the winter. 

What can damage roof shingles?

The roof on your home is your first line of defense from almost anything and everything. Unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature is too powerful for even the best roof. There are ten things that commonly cause damage, so knowing what they are can help you identify damage when it occurs – and possibly prevent future damage.

Hailstones and Rain

As we’ve stated before, water is a house’s enemy, and given the opportunity, it can cause shingle damage and more on a roof. Under normal conditions, the rain will roll off a roof and into your gutters, to the downspout, and out to the ground. However, there are problems that can prevent that from happening, like a gutter system or valleys clogged with debris and leaves. 

When this happens, the water can’t drain, and the roofing materials will slowly erode from standing water causing shingle damage and more. Large hailstones can cause severe damage to any roofing material and can be particularly damaging to asphalt shingles. 

Shingle Damage from Wind

The wind can cause shingle damage before, during, and after severe storms by blowing them off or loosening them so they are out of place. Once shingles are damaged or loosened, they are no longer able to protect your roof. How much wind can shingles withstand? Most brands of shingles have a limited warranty that offers protection for wind speeds up to 130 mph before shingle damage occurs.

Shingle Damage From Ice and Snow 

Homes located in cold climates should be concerned with ice and snow causing shingle damage. Snow should melt and run off a roof. However, if there are any areas of the roof that weren’t protected underlying leaks can happen. Then, as the snow does melt, the shingle damage is exposed and more damage starts to occur. 

Winter weather can cause ice dams on roofs too. This is where ice builds up along the roof’s edge and melts into the gutters. Ice dams are caused by the heat and moisture when an attic isn’t venting. After that, the melting ice refreezes on the roof’s edges. 

Heavy snowfall can be concerning for a roof too because a roof is built to handle only so much weight. One square foot of snow can weigh up to 21 pounds. When you consider how much snow piles on a roof in northern regions, you can understand the concern for shingle damage – and more. 

Shingle Damaged Caused by Algae

The sunny summers of Virginia are also humid and warm, which is the perfect recipe for rooftop algae. Roofing is especially prone to blue-green algae, and it doesn’t just stay on one roof – it spreads from rooftop to rooftop, causing shingle damage along the way. 

Ultraviolet Light

UV light can cause shingle damage after an extended period of exposure, causing cracks and degrading the quality. Because of the sun’s UV rays, the natural lifespan of shingles is shortened, often leading to a need for a roof replacement sooner than anticipated.  

Shingle Damage Caused by Trees

While the trees around your home are beautiful and provide shade, they can also cause shingle damage with their falling branches, leaves, and twigs. If they bear any type of fruit, nuts, or needles, they can clog the gutters, and while they sit on the roof they retain moisture. This can cause shingle damage. 

Other Causes of Shingle Damage

Animals and critters like birds, squirrels, and raccoons will nest on roofs, especially under eaves, and find ways to get inside an attic to enjoy its warmth. An improperly installed roof can lead to shingle damage and more, putting your home in jeopardy. 

Can you repair damaged shingles?

Yes – knowing how to repair shingle damage like a crack can save you a lot of hassle with a roofing contractor and just one or two cracked shingle damages isn’t usually worth filing an insurance claim over. 

Simply apply roof sealant in a thick bead under the crack of the shingle, and then press it down for a few minutes. Using a putty knife, spread a second thick bead of roofing sealant onto the top of the crack. 

How much does it cost to remove and replace shingles?

Pricing can vary from state to state or even city to city, but the average of most contractors ranges between $3.50 per square foot and $6.00 per square foot. This includes installing replacement shingles to take care of the damage. An entire roof replacement can cost up to $13,500 today. 

Can I remove shingles myself?

If you have a ladder, crowbar, safety belt, non-skid rubber sole shoes and you’re not afraid of heights then yes, you can remove shingles. But note that you’ll also need a game plan on how to get them hauled to the dump, where you’ll have a fee to pay. Also note that some cities may require you to have a permit.

What happens if you don’t replace your shingles?

The roof is just one part of your home that you need to be vigilant about to make sure it is healthy and in good condition. From shingle damage to a rotted fascia or soffit, if you don’t keep repairs up-to-date, you can expect any or all of the following to occur:

1. Water Damage

2. Health Risk

3. Structural Damage, Possible Collapse

4. Property Value Loss 

5. Fire Hazard 

close-up of shingles being hammered into place

One Final Question – Does insurance cover shingle damage?

Homeowners want to get the most they can from their homeowner’s insurance. After all, you pay for it, so shouldn’t you have something to show for it? When it comes to roof or shingle damage, how the damage occurred will determine if your insurance will cover the repairs or replacement. This is something that you need to check your policy and review with your agent. If you need a little help, whether it’s with repair for damaged shingles or help to understand your insurance policy, you can reach out to us at 757-633-9949.